Today was the big day, the expedition to Oxford to see me in action as Capulet in the Wild Goose production of Romeo and Juliet. It had been intended for some time, but it did look very much like the group would largely have to organise themselves, in the absence of anyone else able to do that. In particular, it meant them laying out what was for them a considerable sum to pay for their transport. Fortunately, the tickets for the show were free, and I had also arranged for them to eat vat Damascus Rose, the vegetarian café run set up by Syrian refugee women (and incidentally the same people who had catered for my birthday party.) But this financial outlay did have the effect of meaning Tulsi was not able to join the group, as he is very short of money )and existing on something like £9 a week.)
So it was quite an exercise in practical democracy and administration for them to research the bus fare etc (at one point, they even considered Uber, which they did think was comparable, but I suspect their research had left something or other out.) But it was done, with me monitoring their progress via the WhatsApp group we had established for the trip. I also met them for lunch, to make sure all was well, and so far the trip had been most successful. First of all they had all met up, they had got to Oxford, and now seemed to be enjoying themselves. There was a certain confusion about the food, as Neha, vthe lady I had been in contact with, was not there, but all was arranged successfully, and the food was, once again, excellent.
I then left them to renew their exploration, and arranged to meet them for the performance; once again, all was well, and they were early to claim their seats. Of course, today would be a day when the weather intervened, so we had to relocate to the nearby church just after the start of the second half. But actually, I quite enjoy performing in the church, and it did mean my guests were able to experience both styles of performance. And they thoroughly enjoyed the performance, so in that sense too the outing was a success. Fortunately, I did not mess up in front of them.
It did mean a long and late evening, with a return journey on the bus. Not without some problems, I believe, but best of all they all got on as a group – Hamed, Aisha, Frishta, Carla and Fereshte – and had apparently had a wonderful time. Result!