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Thursday, August 07, 2014

A Day Out In London

Yesterday we went to London for a day out. Carol managed to buy rail tickets on-line at a reduced price as well as tickets for a play, a stage adaptation of the film "Shakespeare In Love" which recently premiered at the Noel Coward Theatre. Although the car is now back up-and-running we caught a bus to the railway station. We considered it far easier to get a bus as it costs quite a bit to park the car. We had to get the tickets from a computerised dispenser at the station which was a good deal easier than I'd imagined. It required entering a PIN number and the tickets were printed by the machine and came out of a slot much like an A.T.M. machine (cash point). We had some while to wait until or train

arrived and had coffee in a cafe o-in the station concourse. We soon went down onto the platform and as we waited an express train went through the station without stopping. Extremely fast and quite terrifying if you hadn't known it was about to go through.

Our train soon arrived and we were on-board. There were not sufficient seats for us to sit in so we had to stand for the entire journey, which, fortunately, didn't take much more than 40 minutes.

We wanted to go to the Tower of London as at present there is an art installation on to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. We managed to get on the Underground and made our way down towards the Tower. We were somewhat struck by the number of people who had come to view this amazing piece of work. It is called 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' and is made up of some 888, 246 ceramic poppies, one for each member of the British forces who fell during the 1914-18 war. It has been created by artist Paul Cummins.

As you can see from this photograph which I took it is quite breathtaking and a fitting tribute to those who gave their lives in that war. I am really glad that we decided to go to see this.

We stayed for quite a while, and took more photographs of the Tower of London, which we didn't go in, but may come back at some time and have a proper visit. We made our way back to the Underground station and went into central London, getting off the train at Leicester Square and wanted to find the theatre as we had to collect our tickets in time before the play started at 2.30. 

We had decided we would need something to eat and looked for a suitable place and eventually went to a restaurant several doors along from the theatre and had steak and chips which was really good. It was a really hot day and we'd walked quite a long way and it was good to be able to sit down and rest for a while. 

We went back to the theatre and went into the auditorium. I was surprised how high up we were in the Grand Circle. I have a really problem with vertigo but as the show progressed and I got drawn into the action of the play it didn't seem so much of a problem as it might have been.

The Noel Coward Theatre where the play "Shakespeare In Love" is currently playing.

Having come out of the theatre at the end of the show we decided we needed something to drink and possibly eat. We went to Charing Cross Road as we wanted to visit Foyle's bookshop. Carol has never been before and was struck by it's size and the amazing selection of books on sale. I had been there as a child and then we discovered that it had moved from it's former home further along the road. We bought a couple of books and spent quite a while browsing. We could have spent quite a bit of money in there so it was as well we left when we did! We walked towards the Dominion Theatre and found that there was a huge amount of roadworks or at leas there was an obstruction in the road where it dissected Oxford Street. I have a feeling it has something to do with the work on the Crossrail construction but I'm not sure. The Dominion Theatre is in the process of being refurbished and has closed and had a large hoarding advertising the latest Apple iPhone on it. We made for a Cafe Rouge and had tea and crepes as we were slightly hungry and thirsty.

By now time was moving on apace. For some reason Carol got the idea that we could only return home on or after 8.45 and that we would have to spend more time in London. By now we were very hot and tired and if we'd had to fill in another two hours or more we'd be really dropping. We thought it best to at least make our way back to Euston Station and find out if the 8.45 constraint on travelling was correct. We then found out that we could travel home whenever we liked so we boarded the next train which fortunately meant we wouldn't have to fill in the couple of hours before we could leave. It was one of those train journeys where the train stops at virtually every small station on the line but it did at least mean we could relax and got home hot and tired but agreed that it had been a great day out.
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