The Retirees go Abroad – France, Norway, UK and Ireland – “Twelve Angry Men” at the Garrick London

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Saturday morning and Kerry is off again. Unable to contact David about Spamalot so I grab the tube to Leicester Sq. and set off to finally locate Jamie’s Italian for dinner on Sunday. Before getting out of the station I spy a half price theatre ticket shop and I check on tickets for “Twelve Angry Men” at the Garrick. There are only two together in S row so I snap them up – 132 pounds – hardly half price. I felt that I may have acted rashly and it is a bit of a damper on the day. Then I start my search for Jamie’s the restaurant. I find it very quickly and then just start to wander.

The Seven Dials is identified on the map and I go to see what this might be. Turns out that it is a large clock with 7 dials at the intersection of 7 seven streets and immediately in front of the theatre showing “Matilda”. We have been to see the show on previous trips but I did not even notice the roundabout. Spotted a sign to Covent Garden Markets and went to investigate. It turns out to be the old markets building but now used for a mixture of flea market, markets and restaurants and another Jamie’s Italian. Now there’s a conundrum – which restaurant are we booked to visit? I also snuck a peak at the half price tickets at the markets and was relieved to find they were dearer than what I had paid by 2 pounds.

Sick of looking around shops and buildings I head for the river and end up at the Victoria Embankment gardens. Very peaceful strip along the Thames looking at the London Eye and the Aquarium. Flowers are starting to bloom and its full of statuary of the old and famous. Fed the pigeons with some of my sandwich I had made at the hotel and discover London has two types of pigeons – one similar to those at home and a larger breed – still rats with wings.

After taking lunch and meandering through the extension of the gardens to the west (Whitehall Gardens) – there is an excavation there of a set of stairs and landing said to have been constructed for Henry VIII and or Mary I to give a view of the river and access to the river from the Palace that once stood on the site – interestingly the river bank is some 30 – 40 meters away from this structure today. As I approach Embankment Tube station I notice a crumbling stone structure near Gordon’s Restaurant. A large plaque tells me that in the 17th century this was a river gate to enable persons in the building which it adjoined (since demolished) to access the river and that in the 19th century The city of Westminster decided to preserve the river gate as part of the Thames heritage. It does not look like they have done a great job but most of it is still there.

The Whitehall Gardens are just below the Corinthia Hotel where we had dinner on Friday night and they follow almost up to the Houses of Parliament. I decide to walk across the bridge (Waterloo I think) – big mistake as it is jammed with tourists but I proceed anyway and on the other side there are queues for the Aquarium, London dungeon and the London Eye. I end my walk by crossing the Hungerford foot bridge to Embankment and a journey home. Picked up my book and dozed and read through the afternoon but finding that I had a sore throat by the time Kerry gets home. She is tired and says she has a sore throat also. So she joins me for a nanna nap and then we head to Westminster and West End for dinner and the show. Martin Shaw had the lead role of the juror who would not convict and Martin Vaughan (Man from UNCLE) was the old codger. Henry Fonda played the lead when this was made into a movie many years ago and I don’t think Martin Shaw made the same impact as Fonda with his southern drawl. Nevertheless, a first class show.

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