PRISCILLA's Gavin Lodge and his adorable partner, Broadway musical director extraordinaire Todd Ellison, invited Sheldy and me to share a couple of nights and a day at their property near Essex on the Connecticut River. Food and rest and music and discussion and trips out were the order of the day.
Sheldon was the easel.
Gavin made carrot and apple muffins especially for us but my horrible diet made me watch while the others ploughed in.
The views on the river are breathtaking but all who own a frontage are totally insane. This is caused by a desire to do what they want while stopping their neighbours from doing anything at all.
These poles for example have begun wars so horrible that I feel I have to spare details
This is Maddie. We both passed the 'piss off strangers or I will bark in your face' test
The gentlemen hoe into food I was forbidden to even smell
We use the well to advance our fates.
The lads took us to East Haddam close to where Miss Katherine Hepburn lived. It was the grand lady herself who headed a plan to prevent the demolition of the Goodspeed Opera House which in the sixties was operating as a garage. Now look at it.
A totally sold out production of "Showboat" is playing at the moment and the theatre could have been built for it.
Sheldon made me film gifts
We walked in during a break in understudy rehearsals and were warmly greeted by a couple of actors who have seen "P" !! There's an Brisbane girl in the cast named Elise Kinnon who has never actually worked in Australia. Ah, it's a global village...
The artistic director and founding father of Goodspeed, Michael Price, and his assistant Hattie greeted us with great charm and pride in the wonderful work he and his board have done to avert criminal disaster
Here is her majesty again. Norman Bates' mother should have done this to her house.
This company initiated the world premieres of 'Man of La Mancha'; 'Shenandoah' and 'Annie"
This is the hotel next door which originally housed the visiting artists. Now there is a whole village of residences, rehearsal rooms and workshops. Most productions are built and dressed totally from scratch.
Here are the lovely buildings from across the river
Next stop was the little heritage town of Essex. The main street is full of gift shops, studios, food outlets and inns. There is the faint aroma of toy town about it all but the tourist dollar is vital to fuel the winter dormancy.
Sheldon was foaming at the mouth by the time we got to this Santa's Cave. He sniffed out 87 more emporia but we seat -belted him in and activated the child safety locks.
This is the famous and very ancient Griswold Inn which is chock full of ship memorabilia and paintings.
Todd played mood music here for many months during his college days.
Just think these walls have echoed to the sounds of Herman and Rodgers and Gershwin all flying out of the Ellison fingers and mixed with the hearty laughter and bonhomie of burly fisherfolk and salty mariners. Still reeking of sweat, clam juice and crabs legs they ached to be whirled into the magical domains of Gaylord Ravenal, Desiree Armfeldt and Nanette "Nono" Smith. And whirl 'em Mr Ellison did.
The panorama behind this bar can move up and down giving the impression of sea motion. It often has to be turned off as it causes the patrons to go green and throw up.
Essex was a ship building town and many factories are now homes to museums and art galleries
The marina is clogged with the craft of the rich, famous and rich
Some of the rich, famous and rich are tasteless too.
We would see the lovely sailing vessel later in the day.
Does anyone still wear a dovecote?
That afternoon we all went off into individual states of otherworldliness as usually descend upon day -offers.
Here's our lady friend passing the property
All getting pinker and quieter
Back she goes. "Ah, sailor, whither wanderest thou? " "Oh, fuck off!"
Gavin in his world.
Mrs Putnam puts the cat out.
From a neighbouring dock
Sheldon is going to make us rich.
I'm going to spend it.
"Rage Rage...." Well we would have but it was too nice.
So much love to you, G and T!!! And thanks for the beautiful time of regeneration and tranquility.....
..... and for the selections from "Amour"