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  • The scene: Fountain's Abbey, an ancient and noble Norman edifice, grey, swift-ridden, mossy, crouching picturesquely in a valley in the Yorkshire Dales.

    The set-up: We - the Great British Public - are gathered for Shakespeare: Twelfth Night, a traditional outdoor summer spectacle.

    The action: We have beer and champagne, picnic rugs and little folding chairs, neat bowls of salad, tasty dips, strawberries and umbrellas. We are excited and the children run around on the grass, screeching even more loudly than the swifts.

    The denouement: It rains. It rains hard. We carry on. We are British. We continue to stoically munch. The actors perform heroically.

    Their rendition of "For the rain it raineth every day" brings the house down.
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