Jim Haynes newsletters
|Newsletter No. 734|
|The Trip to Madrid
13 July to 20 July, 2015
Monday, 13th: Up before Estelle Pilrade, one
of my two wonderful nurses, arrives. I have completed my medical chores
when Estelle enters my room. Blood sugar level OK. Insulin jab produced.
And warnings about being careful what I eat delivered. She departs. I
shave, shower and shampoo. Finish packing. Have my usual bowl of cereal
and a cup of coffee. Nivvy, 'my Miss India', comes upstairs to say her
goodbyes. She flies to New Delhi tomorrow and will be greatly missed.
The gout or arthritis or whatever I have in my knees and feet is so painful
this morning that I seriously consider not going on my planned trip. Take
a pain-killer and continue. Ece Ger arrives at 8.30. She wants to see
me off at the Gare de Lyon. Warm embraces for Nivvy and we head out for
our taxi. My planned breakfast in the Train Bleu Restaurant does not happen
because Ece will not let me walk up the stairs. Soon it is time for us
to find the TGV train to Barcelona and, of course, it is miles and miles
away. We make it with a few minutes to spare. And we are off in the glorious
sunny July morning, headed South to another adventure. To hell with the
|Tuesday, 14th: I have had a fairly good night's sleep in spite of the pain in my knees. Breakfast with Isabelle and Sigfrid. I have toast with Kiwi jam and coffee. We discuss last night and the possible plans for today. Isabelle has to rehearse all day because she opens tonight. Sigfrid and I will attend tomorrow night. He teaches his last class this evening and it will be followed by a dinner party to which I am invited. I spend a quiet day mostly in the apartment. Sigfrid produces a simple lunch. Late afternoon I go out for a short walk. It is still very hot and the pain in both legs makes it difficult to walk. I stroll up the hill, find an ice cream shop and have a small tub of vanilla and mango. Try to purchase some postcards from a fellow but he says he is closing and refuses the sale. Damn. I cannot believe that he refuses my money. Slowly make my way back to the apartment, but do not go upstairs. A friend of Sigfrid's, a fellow named Antonio Hens, will collect me and we will go to the dinner together. Antonio is a film director and a producer. He is involved with Sigfrid on a film about a Spanish poet from the movement 'Cantico', interviewing Pablo García Baena. They have raised most of the financing and will start production in September. Up we go to Stefan Metz's apartment. I am welcomed and introduced to everyone. Stefan is Swiss, but spends a great deal of time in Sweden and Spain. He was also a member of Complicité and has even performed in my old theatre, the Traverse in Edinburgh. I tell him how I met Simon McBurny by introducing myself at a fringe theatre production at an Edinburgh Festival many years ago. Delicious food begins to arrive. There are two attractive young women from Canada, one is named Patrice, but I do not remember the second's name. There is also a beautiful woman named Montse Bonet who seems to be Stefan's girlfriend. Montse is an Air Iberia flight attendant. In fact she is soon in her uniform because she is flying this evening to, I think, Bolivia. Meet also Antonio Gil and a fellow named José Tronloso. They are both actors. Patrice had an accident and injured her ankle, so we commiserate with each other. Fairly late Sigfrid suggests we go downstairs, find a taxi, and head for home. Antonio Hens will join us. He is traveling very early in the morning to Sevilla to meet with the Minister of Culture to discuss possible financing for the film that he and Sigfrid will make. We drop Antonio near his home and continue on to Sigfrid's place. Head for bed. Isabelle arrives late and reports the opening went well.|
Wednesday, 15th: I am up fairly early, but the two continue to snooze. When Isabelle gets up, she gives us a complete report on the opening last night. It seems it was a big success. The production is a part of the Madrid Fringe Theatre Festival. Since I am considered one of the godfathers of the Edinburgh Fringe, then it must mean that I am partly responsible for the Madrid Fringe. Isabelle has arranged two tickets for tonight's sold out performances for Sigfrid and me. Another quiet day at home. It is too hot to go out and besides my legs are still in pain. Sigfrid produces a tortilla and gazpacho for our lunch. Isabelle departs in the early afternoon for the theatre. Late afternoon, Antonio Hens calls.
Wives of monsters : Eva Rufo, Amparo Vega-Leon, Ana Wagener, Natalie Pinot, Isabelle Stoffel
He had a successful trip to Sevilla, met the Minister
and has good news that the film will receive official support. Sigfrid
is jubilant. We leave early in a taxi for the theatre in order to dine
before the show. The place, Matadero - Teatro Español, is a former
slaughterhouse that has been converted into several theatres, rehearsal
spaces, two restaurants and generally a fun place. We dine in a place
called the Cantina. Delicious and very inexpensive. As I have found all
Madrid to be. Afterwards we still have an hour before the performance,
so we go to the second restaurant for hot chocolate. Finally we make our
way to the production.Five actresses perform monologues about their lives
as the "wives of monsters"- Franco, Stalin, Mussolini. Ceaucescu,
Thursday, 16th: After my usual breakfast of coffee
and toast, we discuss last night's performances. I also ask Isabelle to
call the train station to arrange a wheel chair for Madrid Atocha and
Barcelona and maybe even Paris. She does it. Isabelle and Sigfrid have
been invited outside Madrid for a barbecue this afternoon and they want
to know if I wish to go. Why not? It will be at the home of Jorge Sanz.
He is an actor who has been performing in films since he was very young.
He has recently been in a television series entitled What has happened
to Jorge Sanz?, directed by David Trueba, Jonás Trueba's uncle. We
taxi to the train station, Atocha, and then catch the train to Torrelodones.
It is a lovely afternoon, but very hot. Our journey lasts about an hour.
But when we arrive, we still have a taxi ride of some twenty minutes.
We are warmly welcomed by our host, Jorge Sanz, who is busy producing
delicious meats on an open fire. Am introduced to everyone including David
Trueba. We talk about his film about John Lennon and I report that John
was a dear friend. Also meet Jessica Berman, who is from Florida, but
has lived many years in Madrid. And am served a delicious gazpacho. I
have it about three or four times.
Friday, 17th: My last breakfast this trip in Madrid. Again coffee, toast with Kiwi jam. Both legs still painful. I am packed and dressed. A taxi is called and Isabelle will come with me to Atocha. Sigfrid comes downstairs and assists me into the taxi. When we arrive at the station, Isabelle goes to find assistance. Soon she is back and I am wheeled away. I thank Isabelle for her wonderful care and hospitality. At 9.30 we are rolling towards Barcelona. And in Barcelona a woman is waiting again with wheel chair assistance. She is assisted by an associate and together they put me in my place in the train to Paris. It is a long trip from Madrid to Paris by train, but exceedingly pleasant. Maybe not as nice as the old days with the Talgo when one left Paris at 8 pm, had a superb meal, then went to one's compartment to sleep, only to wake the next morning in Barcelona or Madrid. Sit near a fellow named Jonathan Crane who is a professor at the University of Florida. He and his wife, Amber, leave the train somewhere in the middle of France. We arrive an hour late in the Gare de Lyon. I manage to get a taxi to my home. There is a delightful party in full swing when I arrive. The hosts are Dina Iordanova, who has been staying in the atelier while I was in Spain. Masha Mombelli, also a hostess, stayed in the atelier while I was in Madrid. And Ece Ger, Flora Lichaa, Marta Hidalgo, Edith Szmuklerz, Cagan Duran, Mathieu Lericq and Nicholas Martre. We play my 'circle game' and it works its usual magic. Great food and a great welcome home.
The next few days are full of exciting events. I will be interviewed by BBC Radio International by Emily Webb on Monday. Steve Gove is coming from Prague to stay a week here. Stella Manukyan soon arrives to stay a year! Three more Sunday dinners before I depart for my annual visit to the Edinburgh Festival. And lots of Airbnb guests on the horizon.
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