Monday night – no class to teach! Heaven. Instead I watched His Dark Materials on HBO. They’ve changed a lot from the book – which by chance I just read – but still, they’re doing a great job. I mean, there are armoured bears in the book, and now they’re on the screen, magnificent and more or less believable, as are the daemons, the animals that accompany everyone in this universe. It takes me back to reading Harry Potter, the sublime pleasure of rediscovering my youth by sitting plunged into a fantasy novel.
I also watched the moving if a tiny bit hokey last episode of the new Anne series – really wonderful work, even if its portrayal of how welcoming PEI residents in the late 19th century were to citizens of colour is surely also a fantasy. But a lovely one. My friend R.H. Thomson – we were the two Canadians in our year at theatre school in London – is perfect as Matthew, shy, incoherent, but yearning. Beautiful.
If you’re careful to avoid the endless, ceaseless crap, there’s some pure gold on television.
A change of plans on Tuesday – Anna called to say she wasn’t feeling well, was there a possibility I could get the boys at school and take them to their after-school activities? There certainly was, especially as it was a spectacularly mild day. They came blasting out of school, Ben at 3.15 and Eli at 3.30, and spent the next 45 minutes careening around the playground; the two of them and a friend invented a game of pressing their arms across their chests and trying to knock each other over with the force of their bodies that kept them busy slamming and falling for a good 20 minutes.
Then the streetcar and the bus to a community centre, with a quick stop beforehand to charge around another playground – then Ben to a swimming lesson and Eli to drumming, free classes given by the city provided you rise at dawn to fight the crowds to get on the list. Anna waits on the day with several cellphones and is now a master at getting the courses and times she wants. I then took them at their request to a fish and chip shop nearby, which to my sadness was not licensed. I needed a drink. Waiting for the streetcar, their game was hurling themselves from the bus shelter to the stone wall of the park and back. On the streetcar home, Ben stood by one of the back doors pushing the button to open it at every stop. He takes his job very seriously. My job was to make sure he didn’t fall out.
By the time we got home, I was beyond exhausted, and that was mostly from watching them. Whereas they were still going. Testosterone – what a phenomenal chemical it is! If you could channel it only for good, the world would be saved in ten minutes.