Two welcome days of brilliant sunshine Friday and Saturday, perfect for us. Sam and the boys arrived late Friday afternoon, and we went straight to the schoolyard nearby to play baseball. It used to be basketball but now it’s baseball; they’ve been several times to watch the Blue Jays play, and Eli’s on his school’s team. They’d brought their mitts and I have a bat and tennis ball, so we were all set for vigorous play. And then over to the playground for our game of Monster, which involves me chasing them around the climbing structure making growling noises.
Eventually: exhausted Glamma. I assure you, my own dignified grandmothers did not pitch baseballs or play Monster.
I’d made meat sauce WITH NO VEGETABLES even cut up very small, because they can detect a vegetable a mile away. Much spaghetti was devoured and then ice cream. And then a great treat: we put on the film Paddington 2. I’d heard great things about it and so had Sam, but it exceeded all expectations. Could not recommend it more highly, with or without children to watch with you; it’s charming, warm-hearted, beautifully made, and hilarious, with of course a cast of many of the best actors in Britain. Seeing Brendan Gleeson, after his melancholy turn in Banshees, playing a loony, psychotic but adorable prison chef, is a marvel. And Hugh Grant playing the villain, having the time of his life.
Saturday morning we watched a bit of the coronation; Ben asked, why are they giving him all those things to touch? God knows. Still, it’s an amazing spectacle, so much pomp and glitter; the boys kept talking about how many billions the things were worth. Ben said, I wouldn’t want to be king; everyone would want to steal my jewels.
Good thinking, kid.
We made a chocolate cake for Anna’s birthday, with icing, the boys very helpful keeping beaters and mixing bowls licked clean.
More baseball. And then home across town, an endless tortuous journey on the TTC.
Coming back, I despaired even more for my city. So many TTC routes diverted or shut down due to limitless construction. The King St. bus I was on stopped dead at Spadina; a streetcar was stuck ahead and nothing could move. I got out, intending to walk up to Dundas to get the streetcar, but there was a huge Falun Gong demonstration clogging all the streets around, fuming cars lined up for blocks. I walked 2 1/2 miles home, passing various notices alerting us that perfectly good buildings are about to be torn down to put up bigger ones. Traffic out of control, poverty, homelessness, garbage, noise abundant. Nobody in charge.
However, that evening, a delight: Ron Hume’s 90th birthday just up the street, in his garden, with Babs, his great love, by his side. Ron published his first book, How I lost 25 million dollars and found true happiness, at 89. He wrote the story of Babs’s life next, and now will work on a book about being old. He said somebody once told him the secret of longevity: Choose the right parents. Ron certainly did.
We should all be so lucky.
About the coronation: I know it’s ridiculous, a king and queen in sparkly crowns, in a gilded carriage, in the 21st century. I know they’re expensive and some of them are useless. But some of them work very hard, especially Anne, have real class and worth and mean a great deal to the people they meet. And it’s moving to see centuries of tradition adhered to so faithfully, in a magnificent abbey where kings and queens have been crowned since 1066. The monarchy is not something I condemn, though I don’t defend it either. It’s there, and we’re not going to get rid of it anytime soon, so let’s put them to work, and let’s enjoy the spectacle. Those Brits certainly know how to put on a fine show.