The most recent tale from my Mondays is the Shakespearean tale of Winter. In this case, Oxford undergraduates putting on the play in the late seventies. Our storyteller was in love with a woman who was playing Hermione. He couldn't bare to be separated from his young lover so joined the cast to 'keep an eye'. Or rather 'be with her', as he later edited. The role that does not require actorly talent in much measure is that of the bear. He took it. Hot and blind in his costume. The bear famously knows when to exit, but it isn't clear when it enters. He'd loitered for some time, then his cue came and off he went, sweaty and unseeing. He stumbled and tripped into the wings. And lo, his first review resulted. 'Andrew Motion as the bear was languid.'
It is not Winter now. Thank goodness. Blossom-heavy branches are scraping the upper deck as I go about my week. And everything seems less languid, more liquid. I found myself looking at a photograph of Fanny Brawne's engagement ring, given to her by Keats. I found myself thinking that I should like to have a ring cut exactly like that, a precise replica made, for when I get engaged. Then I remembered that I am never going to get engaged. That I find marriage absurd. That the notion is ridiculous, and that I'm merely a sucker for pretty jewellery. And a wholehearted sucker for Keats. It's OK, I can drink cold beer later and later now it's lighter.
And I have to write and write, for deadlines and for finger-strain. So 'I shall begin by setting myself magic objects to write on: sea-bearded bodies...'