Nicholas Quirke was coming down from performing by going up and jetting off. It was exactly a year since he began the Odyssey and had met with Cole at MOMA in New York and as he was now experiencing a nostalgic anxiety it was exciting to be on a plane again and heading into the wide blue yonder. The heat of Morocco awaited him and the thought putting the damp chill of the UK behind added to the excitement particularly at 4.30 am as he drove to pick up his charge Jamie and drive to Gatwick. On the advice of Rory he got a deal on Valet parking and was delighted to enjoy the luxury it afforded him. The 3 hour flight to Marrekech passed pleasantly and despite warnings of hold ups at passport control, apart from a quizzical, “Is this you”  from the border guard when he saw his 10 year old passport their progress through the system was smooth and swift. Having dressed for a winter morning he was a little overwhelmed by the heat and sun as he stepped out into the Moroccan air. It was a 3 hour drive to Essaouira, the home of Eileen and Richard and Nicholas was able to get a wonderful view of the Moroccan landscape, and throughout the drive he started an indiscriminate use of his mobile phones camera capturing images from the Atlas Mountains to market towns, olive and orange trees, to horse and carts, camels and world famous goats in Argan trees. Essaouira was a beautiful seaside town and after being shown the beautiful Riad that Eileen and Richard had bought, they went out to see the sunset over the beautiful shoreline and seascape. A wander round the port, shopping for a Jahbella, a vegan take out and an evening in reminiscing, laughing and folding himself in half to write his blog, provided a great start to this Moroccan adventure.

Nicholas Quirke was reminded of the promise he had made to himself to  not Direct and act on the same production again and was wondering why he had allowed himself to break this cardinal rule he had imposed some 20 years ago. Passionate about both it was alarming to rediscover how much when he was directing he disliked himself as an actor; needy, demanding, worrying about how he looked what he sounded like what the other actors were doing in relation to himself and when he was acting how much he disliked himself as a director. frustrated by sound, movement, pace, demanding actors. Each role pulled him in different directions and the focus he needed for both was dispersed between the two. He was in full director role for the tech rehearsal and full actor role for the dress rehearsal. His excitement and whimsy at dressing up, making himself an unutterably feasible echo of a Ching Dynasty Emperor was at odds with person who needed to be making decisions about lighting states and the music that needed to be used and placating his colleagues who were all getting irritated and tired by the split personality. Nicholas was aware that the joke circulating that he would be stabbed in the back one by one by his fellow cast members was a thinly veiled truth. The act though of being creative and his whole world being consumed by staging a production was still exciting and the praise that followed each performance was still food for the soul, 

Nicholas Quirke was not being still. Constantly busy and restless he was not only rushing around for rehearsals, and celebrating and Cinema and theatre going but the lack of stillness was now manifesting itself in the form of  a St Vitus Dance evidenced through his twitching limbs. He spent his early mornings on social Media marketing  Showshoppers ‘The Nightingale’ and the art work, talking with friends across the globe, as well as promoting Shelf of Shame and his Quirke: A  Day in the Year of a Nobody Podcast; for which he also recorded the next few episodes. He was applying for some acting work, signing up to other agencies and was hankering after one particularly splendid opportunity. Learning lines, rehearsing, sorting out a variety of issues related to the production were also consuming time and then driving to Chichester to see ‘The Nightingale’s’ He was not even still in the theatre fidgeting in his seat and even moving to another in the interval. He found to be a well written, well performed yet ultimately sad play. Nicholas discovered in the interval that it was the premiere of the Mortal Engines movie, for which he had lent his image for the image of the deity Nicholas Quirke. Coins minted with his name and face on were the currency in the film. He wondered where his invite to the premiere had gone. At home he finally finished his re-reading of The Magus and hoped to experience a relaxed sleep, though when he woke in the morning to another full day the pillows and sheets told him he had been far from still in his slumber.

Nicholas Quirke was busy and pensive. Performances of The Nightingale were approaching fast and he felt there was still too much to do. He noticed he was taking to his bed later and waking later, which seemed to shorten his day. Mornings were always an industrious time for him so the foreshortening of his before noon time was limiting and his past couple of days had seemed fraught with activity he felt he had  some missed opportunities. The celebration of his Birthday always dragged on a little and it was no surprise that he found himself continuing to meet with friends to rise a metaphorical glass. He met Terry for tea and they went to Six in Hove from where he was able to complete a few errands including picking up some extensions to his beard for his role as a Chinese Emperor. By the time he got home it was already the afternoon which meant he did not have much time to do anything before setting off to London. He left at 3.30 and did not arrive at his brothers till 6  it was a slow drive and he experienced some feelings of Road Impatience. Good to catch up with Mike and family then he headed to The White Bear to meet Helen and see Dee in An Honorable Man. What a fascinating play he found it to be. A very apposite political allegory for the times and very well performed. Nicholas was delighted to see Dee back on the stage and quite proud of her performance. After a drink and meeting the writer and a couple of the actors he headed home which still managed to take quite some time despite the late hour, Another late night which meant he didn’t wake till am and had to cancel his traditional Saturday morning tea with Cathy. Rehearsals at  10 am were productive though he got home, only to discover he had left his phone in the rehearsal space and had to go all the way back into town. It was a Murder Mystery evening and he was teamed with Debbie Bridge again as the Thornly-Cruttocks, both victim and detective, he loved a death scene. It was a stag do and was once again lively and entertaining though the sight of some of the guys in drag was alarming. To compensate for missing morning tea, Nicholas met with Cathy at 8.30 on Sunday and after a wander around the Lanes they met Maribeth in Carluccio’s.  he endured a money draining shopping expedition and still managed to get home with plenty of time to catch up on some the duties he had put off while celebrating his birthday. He completed a job application, updated a CV, sorted out paperwork, ironed and prepared for his podcast recording and for his next IELTS test. Dr Who was the perfect TV to send him to his bed and sleep.

Nicholas Quirke was celebrating his birthday in ways that only he could and  therefore, it didn’t surprise him to find himself at 7pm on a dark and cold night standing in the middle of nowhere waiting for a roadside repair rather than sitting in a warm restaurant in the company of his sons Harvey and Cole and Grace. His celebrations had really started the night before, with an afternoon tea with Rory and supper with Peta. Though it had been a day not without his challenges as he had locked himself out of his home twice, once in the morning, and did exactly the same as he left for Newhaven in the evening. This then involved hiring a Brighton Bike, cycling to Cole’s who had some keys and back again before getting on his way. However none of this stress was carried into his ‘Special’ day. He had a great start, with Birthday greetings pouring in from across the globe and by the time he had got up his mood was one of ebullience and joy. He visited his mother and was given some lovely presents, a desired book and a needed Joseph Joseph item, as well as a surprising print of painting he had housed for his brother for over 20 years and being reunited with the image, despite its diminutive size, was a great relief. H was lunching in Godlming, in what was becoming a birthday tradition, with his sister and Katherine Stocks and on this occasion his Brother in Law. Much laughter, great home made food and a delicious Vegan Lemon cheesecake, of which he greedily consumed. Despite setting off with plenty of time to get home and changed, Nicholas was not surprised to have plans go awry when his tyre burst, somewhere between Bucks Green and Horsham, and he had to call the AA to relieve him in his distress. He was astonishingly calm about the incident which took 2 hours to resolve and even being £158 ponds lighter in the pocket than when his day had started, he allowed nothing to disturb his state of satisfaction. Yes, he was going to be late for supper with his family; yes, it might have to be cancelled, yes, it was cold and dark and a long wait but he chose to take a philosophical stance and accepted that it had happened, he couldn’t change anything and he would, no matter the inconvenience and cost, have more enjoyment from the day, whatever the outcome. He in fact, made it to Brighton and Indian Summer restaurant for just after 8pm and was able to enjoy a wonderful meal and conversation with Harvey and Cole and Grace, which they kindly treated him to. Nicholas ended the day thankful for all the love he had been shown and felt lucky to have all the pleasures and gifts that his day had held.