OK – it’s Sunday evening and I’m back at the apartment catching up on the internets. Dancing on Ice is on the teev.
Let’s start with yesterday.
The first time I visited Little Venice I took two tube lines to get there but yesterday I discovered a shortcut through the St Mary’s Hospital complex and made it there in a ten minute walk! I’ve probably told you before how I love the canals that are cut through this country (they had to have something while they waited for trains to be invented!) and Little Venice is the spot where Regents Canal meets the Grand Union Canal. It’s also a very ritzy area – I mean, Joan Collins for god’s sake! Not to mention Annie Lennox.
On the way to Alfie’s Antique Market I managed to take a wrong turn and ended up at the Abbey Road Studios of The Beatles fame. Didn’t take a photo but I did shoot some footage on my little Sony Bloggie camera – I’ll upload later. When I did get to Alfie’s it was just incredible – three floors over four buildings of antiques and collectibles – much of it mid-twentieth century. In the end though I didn’t buy anything- I really struggled over some art nouveau hallmarked silver photo frames though…
Yesterday was rainy and grey so I was getting a bit tired of walking by midday. I planned to take a tube train but the Bakerloo Line was closed for “improvement works”. I rethought my approach for the day – it was too rainy to do my Marylebone walk so I opted instead to spend the afternoon at the British Museum. I said hello to all the Egyptian mummies and the Parthenon Marbles and one or two million other ancient bits and pieces – unfortunately the special exhibition of the Book of the Dead was sold out for the day.
Last night was The End of the Rainbow – just sensational. Tracie Bennett’s Judy Garland was amazing – it was like having Garland in the room. Despite dying at the end she managed to receive a standing ovation – and do an encore! Plus I had a front row seat.
Today I took a tour of Spencer House, the London home belonging to the Spencer family (ie. Princess Diana and also that woman Keira Knightly played in The Duchess) and restored by the Rothschild Investment Group. It was Sunday morning at 10:30 and I was in a group of just four people as we were guided through the house.
The interiors were wonderful (no photos allowed) and there were such beautiful views of Green Park.
I had never eyeballed St James’s Palace before, so I did that prior to visiting Spencer House. I didn’t see Wills or Harry though (they probably weren’t back from their Saturday night yet) – I didn’t even get a chance to take part in the traditional Camilla stick-poking ceremony!
I then went to the Royal Albert Hall for lunch and had a ticket to the matinee performance of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly. It was as good as it could be – they even flooded the stage (it was performed in-the-round) to turn it into a Japanese water garden. The garden then gets drained between Acts to signify Cio-Cio San’s devastation at her abandonment by that cad Pinkerton. The seats were very comfortable and I was in the second row so had a great view. In the end though it’s still opera – a bunch of people yelling at each other for three hours. It was funny because every time Butterfly sang to her three year old child she shielded the young actor’s ears with her hands in a gesture that meant to show affection but really looked like she’d been told to protect the poor lad’s hearing. He stole the show though with his one line – “Mummy!” – just as she’s about slice her intestines out with her father’s sword. This was the best opera I’ve seen though. It started a bit late as there had been an “incident” on the tube meaning some of the performers were running late – we had two Suzukis as the first one couldn’t get there on time. [Insert your own joke here about motorcycles not needing the tube – it’s getting too late for me to be witty].
Had a nice dinner and a quiet evening. Heading back to Liverpool tomorrow. I have culture fatigue and need a rest – back to Dancing on Ice on ITV.