At the Coliseum in Covent Garden last week I saw for the first time The Nutcracker Suite. It was not just the first time I had seen The Nutcracker, but, as it happens, the first time I had seen the Coliseum itself. Indeed, I had not been to the ballet since I was a child, and even then I had little say in the matter. I don't mean by this that anyone coerced me, or indeed that I didn't enjoy the ballet I saw. My recollection, to the contrary, is that I enjoyed it very much, although I don't actually remember which ballet it was, so my approbation, while sincere, should simply be taken at face value, and not interpreted as a shorthand for something else. On the other hand, even with that unmitigated enjoyment. it's hard to see how things could have transpired differently. For example, it's not as if I would have demanded afterward to go to the ballet every week. First of all, I had few expectations as a child, and I tended to be happy with the things I already had. Secondly, even had my parents been more indulgent and I more precocious, ballets, except perhaps in major metropolitan areas, are hardly the sort of thing that get enacted weekly. So it would have been all very well for them to have promised they would take me, but there were simply no ballets to be found.