Penny Smith

Diary – 5 July 2008

Penny Smith gives a rundown of her week 

Penny Smith gives a rundown of her week 

No matter what happens, Friday is always a big day for those of us who do five days of getting up at sparrow’s cough. The prospect of two days of lie-ins is so exciting it makes me feel giddy. My self-imposed rule of no drinking and no caffeine is broken at weekends. Friday is Clare Nasir’s birthday. She is our vastly overqualified weather presenter. I share a dressing-room with her (or Andrea McLean) and whoever is reading the news on the GMTV Newshour. Our room is barely big enough to hold a stag beetle wrestling match. Clare is very useful for site-specific forecasts. ‘The Opera House, this evening?’ I ask. ‘You’ll be fine without a coat,’ she says. She’s right. I bump into actress Sue Johnston in a restaurant where I nip in for a bowl of stir-fried veg and a glass of champagne beforehand. Don Carlo is a long old slog, and I can’t do it on an empty stomach. The Opera House is packed — Rolando Villazón is singing the title role. Oh no he isn’t. Apparently, he’s got a cough or something. Darn. His replacement has a good voice, but he has the stage presence of a sock.

On Saturday, I drink three cups of coffee, and get so shaky I could sand the sitting-room floor if I had scratchier soles. Do paperwork until it’s time to head to the Opera House again. Yes, I agree, it’s excessive. Ever since I discovered the joys of sinking into a warm morass of warbling, I’ve been addicted. Tonight, it is brilliant. Ariadne auf Naxos, by Richard Strauss. Chocolatey, scrumptious, meltingly beautiful music.

On Sunday, awake at 11 a.m. Stretch and reflect on the bliss of an 11-hour sleep.

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