On Saturday 28th July a group of 20 of the Friends met in the grounds of Tolethorpe Manor to enjoy a picnic and a drink together, before the matinee performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor (The Royal Shakespeare Company are also presenting the Comedy this season). The Stamford based theatre placed the time-line successfully in a pub in the wartime 1940s, complete with a uniformed American GI, and a jazz trio and singer in the pub, (originally The Inn). The big message of the play is “do not mess with other peoples’ wives, or they will sort you out”. The plot revolves around Falstaff who has wicked designs, and cast as a Home Guard sergeant!… (possibly guess who?). Much fun is had at his expense, including the audience. A well told moral of a tale, and a brilliant comedy updated. Potentially, for that afternoon rain was forecast, but the auditorium is covered. All was delightfully dry and fine until the moment to leave the theatre, when suddenly the rain tipped down. It was a bit of a shock to grab umbrellas, put on macs and hoods, hold wheel-chairs, and find walking sticks at a moment’s notice. But as we were so fortunate to have a full afternoon of such good weather and quality entertainment, until that moment’s reminder, a soaking did not seem to matter. This visit has now become a regular one of late for The Friends, and we await the 2019 Season Programme, with the trio of plays, with anticipation. JH.