I read a lot of Shakespeare when I was a kid. Now, we’ll forget how darling and precocious that sounds because actually, I think it was a pretty good move on my mother’s part. I was never confused by thee or thou or methinks because I was young enough to just – accept it as a way of speaking, rather than having to translate anything.

There had been a performance of the ballet of Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev that she’d always wanted to see again. There was nothing in the world to make it happen. It was unavailable and that was just life.

I’m going through a similar thing right now, waiting for the National Theatre to bring out the DVD of London Assurance from 2010 because, come on, man. Fiona Shaw and Richard Briers? Why am I living without this?


Anyway, my mother really wanted to see Romeo and Juliet, starring Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn.


I was quite small at the time, but I had her tell me the whole story, and that’s how I came up with her mother’s day present. I wrote out the story, as she’d told it to me (this is feeling familiar, isn’t it? For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, I brought out a collected memoir, Other People’s Granddads, today. Go, follow the link, shop: https://petrinabinney.com/2019/11/04/other-peoples-granddads-stories-from-the-legion/ ), and figured she’d be able to imagine the performance she wanted to see because – obviously, it was written down. What else does anyone really need?

Fountain pen and peacock blue ink – I was a wild child.