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The Wedding, Smiles and Frowns
27th April 2011
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It's nearly here - the Wedding, that is and I think on the whole, it has produced more smiles than frowns and, since the Queen is paying for it, the Republicans shouldn't grumble too much about the cost. Of course it's like Christmas as far as the Press is concerned, way over the top and poised to pounce with criticism for anything they can find to be "witty" about! I gather from my son, that there is something about the Wedding on TV in the US every day, so they are getting it over there, as much as we are. For myself, I just wish them happiness and not too much rain on the day. They seem to be a sweet couple and William, poor man, has had a lot of tragedy in his young life. He deserves to be happy.

I have just come back from glorious Suffolk, spectacular weather and a welcome break with my dear friends. What more can you ask for? Not much else, the best things definitely are free in life. I did not know Suffolk at all before these friends bought a second home there and although it's very flat - I usually like a few mountains or at least hills - it is very beautiful. I wonder if it was once under the sea, like Florida, also very flat!

I notice that, when you're in a recession, you suddenly find yourself on a mailing list, when before you might have been scorned I had a mail out from Harrods the other day and now that it has changed ownership, I might be tempted to go back in there. The Food Hall is amazing. I worked there once at Christmas, selling speciality bottle tops, fashioned with the heads of famous people - Winston Churchill, (the liquid came out of his cigar), Groucho Marx and a few other luminaries. I doubt they're around any more. My father was a refugee from Nazi Germany and had to find work in a hurry, to support his refugee family. He loved working for himself and really loved driving, so for many years, before he started his own business, he was a fancy goods travelling salesman, you know the sort of thing souvenirs and trinkets etc. for seaside businesses. My first land lady was a friend of his - a very eccentric Irish lady, who made little Victorian dressed rabbits for him - painted faces, pipe cleaner bodies and gorgeous dresses and bonnets - great seller.

Dad's fancy goods were at least original, not too much "Greetings from..........". Gigi (the landlady) had a stall in the Portobello Road street market on a Saturday. I was terribly impressed with the Bohemian nature of it all. Anyway I worked in Harrods and greatly enjoyed it, hard on the feet though, standing all day. Easier on the feet was working as a theatre tea lady in Pantomime season. We would shove great loaded trays of tea and cakes, hot water, sugar and milk along the aisles of seats for those in the audience, who had ordered them, trembling in fear of tipping the lot all over the waiting customers! Dont remember any disasters. I think I went off "Peter Pan'' a bit after seeing endless performances of it. It would have been more fun to be in it.

This all went on when I was at RADA, with some interesting people: John Thaw, Tom Courtney, Sarah Miles, Edward Fox and a one or two others who did rather well in the business. It's interesting but those relationships we made in those early years, seem to have lasted. I suppose it's the nature of the business, when you work with people you've known either at drama school or the National Youth Theatre, it all feels so familiar - I was one of the first girls in the NYT before Helen Mirren! Never met or worked with her, although I gather she is a very nice person. I had worked with Martin Jarvis in the National Youth Theatre and when he kindly agreed to be in our film of "Beware of What You Wish For" ,it is as though those intervening years had never been.

I remember that Sarah Miles was quite eccentric and for a while we were quite good friends. She set the dressing rooms in the Vanburgh Theatre on fire, while we were rehearsing and looked a bit sheepish, when the fire engines arrived - "Oh dear" said she "thinks it's my fault, I think I forgot about my cigarette, I put it down", (forgetting the piles of greasepaint and costumes that were lying about). And of course I shared a room with Patricia Doyle (Director of "Beware of What You Wish For) in the Irish landlady's flat. We had quite an education from our landlady, whose past was littered with interesting lovers. I think my father was under the fond delusion that she was looking after us and our rather naive existence. One last memory and that's it. I was going out at the time with the actor Simon Ward, who had been in the National Youth Theatre. He was still in school, baby snatcher that I was, although he was only a month younger than me and I fed him Steak Tartare one night . I think it shows the extent of his feeling for me at the time, that he ate it. How could I? I thought I was being very 'in' and sophisticated, especially as we largely lived on Spaghetti Bolognaise at Olivelli's, the little cafe around the corner from RADA. Interestingly enough my son lived largely on Spaghetti when he was at University - Florida Tech- some years later.

"tis all for now, dear friends" Jane

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