London | February 2020 | Part 2

Sunday 16th March

Sandra joined me for breakfast in Patsy, then shortly after we headed off for our days’ outing - to Colchester to see my cousin Andy, and Janet who has not been well of late. My original plan was to take the train and I was looking forward to a rest from driving for a few days. However when it became clear that a significant portion of the journey would not be on rails at all but on the dreaded Rail Replacement Bus, I decided to drive. Not only that but while the winds had dropped somewhat, it was persisting down and bitterly cold. Hanging about for connections would not have been much fun.

I remembered the route from the site across the Thames towards the A12 as we’d done it in reverse once before when towing down from Cambridge to the site, although at that time Trev was driving. It was straight forward enough and incident free although all my concentration was required to avoid the liberal scattering of pot holes, sunken drains and floods big enough to launch a dinghy in.

We had a good catch up in Colchester and the plate of sarnies was most welcome indeed. I decided to be good and stuck to tea although Sandra was more than happy to drive back had I availed myself of the contents of Andy’s beer fridge.

We headed back the same away, traffic was considerably heavier, particularly approaching the Blackwall Tunnel, a warning on my Satnav App - Android Auto - I’d chosen to ignore. Traffic speeded up again once in the tunnel however which ensured I hit the lurking pot hole at close to the legal limit. The jolt was enough to loosen teeth and sounded grim but Rosie appeared to emerge unscathed. Once through I decided for fun to see which way the Satnav App would take us back to site and it rewarded me with a great example of why you shouldn’t rely on basic satnav’s when towing. Up some very narrow and steep side roads that even London’s Bus Drivers would shy away from, we were however rewarded with a couple of good views across to the city. Well, Sandra was, I was concentrating on the tarmac ahead and looking for more lurking craters!

Another nice cosy night in Patsy ensued and with a full belly and a couple of beers under my belt it’s just possible I may have nodded off in front the telly at some point before turning in.

Monday 17th February

I woke to a much brighter morning and, whilst it was still breezy it was nice to see some blue sky again and after breakfast we headed next door to Crystal Palace park joining the plethora of dog walkers and their four legged friends, enjoying this calming oasis in urban South London. It was muddy work in places, away from the main path but a very pleasant couple of hours nonetheless, paused by a lovely coffee in the cafĂ©, a transaction that was more complicated than need be thanks to the young assistant who, to start with couldn’t remember two different coffees, then proceeded to charge us for a total of eight! Whilst making no assumptions, I used to - back in the dim and distant - dabble in something more noted for munchies and giggles but that also played havoc with short term memory.

Right, where were we? Ah yes, whilst the Crystal Palace athletics stadium and complex were undoubtedly looking tired and in need of some TLC, a number of the exhibits in the famous park Dinosaur trail were looking very fresh indeed thanks to recent work by a group of volunteers. They - the sculptures, not the volunteers that is - have been there since 1854, first restored in 2002 and upgraded to Grade 1 listed status in 2007.


Back at Patsy it was my turn to demonstrate my culinary skills - or at least juggle the order in which stuff went into the microwave - and we sat down to the products of some of my batch cooking. We both cleared our plates and are both still here to tell the tale so it can’t have been too bad. For the record; sausage casserole, root mash and peas.


20191022_171157Monday duly arrived and the focus of today was the show that evening of Upstart Crow at the Gielgud Theatre, starring David Mitchell of ‘Would I lie to you’ fame and various other shows and sitcoms. The play was written by Ben Elton and we were both looking forward to it very much. We made our way into London on the No. 3 bus and duly arrived in Whitehall. We then meandered up towards Trafalgar Square passing both Cenotaphs – the latter one remembering the work of women during the wars was very poignant to see in real life, a first for me.

Richard also wanted to show me the linear measurement plaques at the rear of the square.


It was now approaching time to get to the theatre and a drink in a very old-fashioned pub - The Lyric - beforehand.

Duly consumed we made it to the theatre to see a growing press pack and barriers in front of the theatre. We were amazed to see that it was actually opening night and there would be ‘stars’ appearing to watch the show. When I had booked the tickets some time ago, I had not realised this so was a pleasant surprise and cue some celebrity spotting. In fact, we saw them after the show, not before. Alan Davies and Ian Hislop were two we recognised and there were a couple of female actors who I knew from TV but neither of us could put names too.20200217_180657

Back to before the show, we had a drink in a lovely bar area upstairs and we had been fortunate to get end of row stall seats so had a commanding and uninterrupted view of the stage. We had packed our baguettes before setting out so, quickly consumed them whilst waiting for the show to start. This I learnt is quite common practice these days and nobody, in this theatre, batted an eyelid. Why this is 20200217_175304so pertinent will be found out later in this entry.

We were then treated to a magnificent comedy/farce/drama show which had us giggling like school kids from start to finish. A truly exceptional performance and set to match. David Mitchell gave a sterling performance as Shakespeare and the supporting cast were faultless too. The reviews the next morning were as complimentary as we would have expected. A quick after show drink in The Blue Posts and we made it back to site via the No. 3 bus.

I thoroughly enjoyed the show too, properly laugh out loud funny and full of the sharp satiric wit of Ben Elton. References to modern day life were plentiful and tightly woven into the story. Cracking stuff and whilst it was great to see David Mitchell on stage, a strong supporting cast made for a outstanding evening’s entertainment.

That’s it for Part 2 folks, Part 3 heading your way soon.

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