The Retirees go Abroad – A long Weekend in London – Thursday

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It’s Thursday. If we do nothing else but have dinner at Sarastro and see the Carol King story “Beautiful” we will have achieved our goal for today. But for this morning we are each going our own way – we are going to the Tower Bridge and David and Veronica are meeting old friends.

The traffic is more horrendous than usual because of the Tube strike. Our bus came to a standstill around St Paul’s so we got off to walk the rest of the way. The first thing we stumble upon is the ruin of Christchurch Greyfriars Garden. We visited this spot as part of a London Walk on all things Shakespeare. I could never remember the name of the old tower that had been converted into a million dollar flat and here it was. We were trying to make our way to the Thames but this was harder than it seemed. I saw a sign to the central criminal courts and the “Old Bailey”. I could not resist perchance to see Rumpole or visit Pomeroy’s.

We were now certain that we needed a better map of London than the back of the tube map so we headed toward the information centre across the road from St Paul’s near the Millennium Bridge. As we passed St Paul’s we called into the coffee shop in the vaults – great space, quiet and clean toilets, for a comfort stop. Always worth a visit for that quick drink and something to eat. As we made our way to the Millennium Bridge, the phone rang and Kerry became involved in a bedtime conversation with two of the grandchildren so I took photos of the Bridge and surrounds, – St Paul’s, the monument to the Firefighters of WW2 London, the Bridge, and the Globe Theatre.

Having finished saying good night to the boys, I informed Kerry that we were at least 20 minutes away from Tower Bridge and to be back at Hackney by 1.00pm we would have to skip the Tower Bridge this time. In the distance we could see the Towers of the bridge and it appears Kerry had confused London Bridge which was nearby for the Tower Bridge. Resigned to this setback we walked along the southern bank of the river past the Globe, the cranes of the financial district on the north bank and some of the more notable modern erections, to the ruins of Winchester Palace and the Golden Hinde, passed Southwark Cathedral and across London Bridge. The bus stop on the south bank was choked with people awaiting the next bus – walking to Hackney appeared the only solution. So across the Bridge up King William St through Princess St and into Moorgate St we trudged until we could see the traffic was easing and the buses more frequent.

Back at our apartment we lunched and rested to be ready for the next big adventure. We left the apartment at 4.30pm to get to the restaurant for 5.30pm and our timing proved to be impeccable. Dinner was interesting. The restaurant is set out like a Turkish bazaar and we even got to inscribe our names on the walls.  The pre-theatre menu was our choice so that it was not too expensive and we got out of the restaurant in time for the show which also left time for Kerry to photograph some of the theatres for her Facebook page.

The show was playing at the Aldwych Theatre and we were in the grand stalls way above the stage so that the music could rise to meet us – anyway that’s my story. Excellent production. Carol was played by a young actress Jessie Mueller who just jumped out of her skin with excitement playing the part. The music was not only that of King but her early work in collaboration with her husband Gerry Goffin (the villain in the piece) and throughout they competed with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. We were delighted and excited as the show moved through the hits up to the tragedy of Gerry’s infidelity and their divorce followed by her recovery and creation of herself as a talent finishing with her appearance at Carnegie Hall. Marvellous night – even the hour wait for a crowded bus home could not dampen our spirits.

Aldwych Theatre

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