Saturday, March 12, 2011

London - Day one waking up in Blighty

We wake up in a city that doesn't sleep much, especially the people in the room above! Up and at 'em however, and my first job is to find Evans and buy a lot of clothes. We end up in BHS on Oxford St,about a 2k walk from our hotel, through quintessential Londoness. Pubs on so many corners, and not just any pubs but Oak panelled pubs with stained glass windows! I took a photo of this one but soon realised that if I took photos of them all the camera would melt.
So many pubs, so much oak and stained glass!
Had to take this pic for you, Joy - it's like they saw your birthday cake!
The Evans in BHS is not that big and really, the clothes were a let down. Very like Kate Madison at the Warehouse. But a gorgeous Ghanaese lady called Alice helped me and I bought about six things. HOWEVER, next door is a shop called Ann Harvey, of which I had never heard, and it is everything I was expecting Evans to be. I spend 350 quid in there and come away with clothes the like of which I never thought I would wear let alone be able to buy! Including a catsuit!!!  Afraid? Be afraid! LOL!
 James Smiths of London, Umbrellas and hunting sticks etc since 350BC or some such. Had to snap it as of course Wellington lost its own James Smiths many years ago
Afternoon and we decide to take a bus tour. A great way to make sure we see everything and get a ready recc of the places we want to visit properly. The one we went on stops everywhere anyway and you can get on and off, however by the end of it, it is 7pm and dark. The tickets are valid for 24 hours so we are resuming in the morning and also doing a Thames boat tour. 
Shaftesbury Avenue with its famous theatres was a feature and I snapped a few. Gave up taking photos, again because most of the places we saw are snapped to death already, and Google image search will show hundreds. Am just enjoying the whole thing.
Impressions? WOW. The streets are so busy, the buildings are so fabulous. Architecture crowded together from 11th C to 21st C, most of the stuff we see however is 17th-19th. A city built upon itself time and again.
The bus trip gave us a chance to decide what shows we'd like to see, having gone past so many theatres. We settle upon Blithe Spirit starring Alison Steadman as Madame Arcati and Hermione Norris as Ruth. It is in the Apollo theatre, a wee jewellery box of a place seating 780 people but with three tiers! So elaborately worked in plaster painted gold, rose madder and sage green it's almost worth the ticket price just to get to see it! Also we are excited by this as we think a 4-600 seat theatre is just what Wellington needs and it's clearly possible to do a show in a smaller theatre and make it pay. I assumed all west end theatres would be enormous!
The show was delightful, but the production values really shocked us. Costumes not right, lighting bad, set pale green, the worst colour for on stage you can choose, and so on. All the things I find difficult to negotiate as a director they too struggle with. But still it is thrilling and bless Noel Coward, it is as funny today as it would have been then, in spite of the heavy misogyny.
Home by London Cab as it's a long 4k walk, and I wanted to try one just once. I reckon there's a market for London cabs in Wellington. Anyone game?
My parting shot is a bit of nonsense - Darling Eileen who is forever known as The Duchess of Texas to me, will be thrilled to know that in London, her home state at least is well represented:
 Much more fun than the American one!


  1. Oh fun! I am scared of the idea of you in a catsuit though!

    I'm so happy you have internet and I can keep up with your trip!

  2. I'm guessing it's not a pink Catsuit!! Hmmmm Can't wait to see the new clothes and the shiny bits... Love the blog. I"m so glad you can keep us up to date. Miss you.

  3. Aww shucks, thanks for taking a photo just for me! :) And of such classy, stylish clothing! My inner ice-skater yearns. I will happily take hot pink instead of (or as well as...) shiny should the mood take you.

    It is such a pleasure following your adventures, and I am so SO happy for you. Mwah!