Thursday, January 2, 2020

January 2. Day 2. Come fly with me

 There are oh so many quotes about it being about the journey not the destination. Perhaps that is true of life but exactly the opposite is true when it comes to long haul travel.
The journey is an uncomfortable means to an end. The task is to survive the ride and the reward awaits at the other end. Today was London to Orlando with a stop in Miami.
The journey door to door was about 5000 hours - okay I may be exaggerating a bit but that was what it felt like.
But I made good use of the time. I watched two movies - Beetlejuice and Moulin Rogue.
What do these two movies have in common I hear nobody ask? Since you didn't ask, I'll tell you. The musical version of both are playing on Broadway right now. And once I survive theme parks and another travel day I'll be in NYC ready to hit the ground running (or at least hobbling from being trapped in a two small seat.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

January 1. Day 1. In the driver's seat

Yay me.  I drove a car today.
Yeah that probably seems like an edition of Captain Obvious but for me it's front page news.
Sure I've had my driver's licence for approximately 35 years but I believe this is my first time behind the wheel on foreign soil.
We'd hired a car to drive into the Home Counties to do lunch with Charles' dad. Charles drove but after the meal he threw me the keys.
We both know that had we been in any country that drives on the right, I would have thrown the keys right back.
I'm am seriously directionally and spacially challenged. Truth is I often have a problem with left and right.
But in one of the few countries that chooses the left I took up the challenge with no worries.
It was a rather nice day and not just because of my bucket list achievement - it was nice to get out of the city and see a bit of the Surrey countryside around the area where Charles spent many years.
And the pie I had for lunch was pretty good too.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

December 31. Day 365. A wee bit Kutchered

Last day of the year. Second last day in London.
Time to act a bit kulchered. So we went to Platform 9 and 3/4 at Kings Cross Station. Like hundreds of others, we queued to pose in front of a replica of a fictional entry to the train station for the Hogwarts Express.
Yep, we are big Harry Potter fans.
Okay, that's not the culture bit.
We went to The Barbican Centre to see The Bard.
The Royal Shakespeare Company was presenting a gender-flipped version of The Taming of the Shrew.
It was beautifully done and I enjoyed it immensely but I didn't think the artistic choice to change the gender of all the parts actually added any new meaning to the text, which is surely the point. Then to round off the year we saw Everyone's Talking About Jamie, a musical with a very modern feel. And finally cocktails in the lobby bar.
Happy New Year.

Monday, December 30, 2019

December 30. Day 364. Bus it

There is, or perhaps was, a hop on, hop off bus tour of Brisbane.
I can't imagine it was very successful.
There's really not all that much to see and in any case, one of the best ways to tour the city is to take the CityCat along the great brown snake of the Brisbane River.
It's a standard commuter trip and as such much better value than any "special tourist price".
But in other cities, the bus tour is a great way to orientate yourself and see the sights in relative ease.
We did that today.
It was scarf, fake fur hat and gloves weather but very pleasant.
I always learn something from the commentary even though London is a city I have visited many times.
Also it gave our pavement weary feet a bit of a rest.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

December 29. Day 363. Everyone is feeling Merry (again)

Because I'm weird like that, I rather like the song Elmo sings in Elmo Saves Christmas. The lyrics go "Everyday can't be Christmas
That wouldn't be such a treat
You can get tired of chocolate candy
When that's all you eat"
Now, I'm not one to argue with Elmo but I'd never get tired of chocolate candy. However, everyday can not be Christmas. But two days, well that seems perfectly reasonable. So today we were back at Jon and Clara's for a second festive celebration which this time Charles' mum Liz was able to join.
We started with a visit to the park with the kids which on a crisp, clear winter's day was rather nice.
Oliver brought with him one of his impossible musical theatre quizzes and we ate, drank and were merry for tomorrow we may diet

Saturday, December 28, 2019

December 28. Day 363. Look behind you

The pantomime is a British Christmas institution. The British invented it and in my (limited) experience any attempt to recreate it elsewhere on the planet fails miserably (despite the fact that many an Aussie soap star has boosted his or her bank balance through the art).
Oliver finds the whole pantomime dame thing fascinating to the point that he wrote a university assignment on it.
So a pantomime was always on the agenda. We'd been told that to get the authentic experience it was best to travel beyond the big smoke, that the ones in the 'burbs had more soul than the giant arena ones in London.
So we went to Maidstone in Kent where the dame Mademoiselle Marmalade was being played by a bloke we met in Brisbane earlier in the year.
It was a fine choice, partly because the train trip into the English countryside was rather nice but mostly because the panto lived up to all expectations. And then back to London for show two of the day. There's no stopping some people.

Friday, December 27, 2019

December 27. Day 361. Masterclass

My feet hurt. A lot. Walking around a city is exhausting. Also I am not at all adapted to operating in this climate. It's not so much the cold (although I don't do cold), it's more the heating. You have to dress like Scott of the Antarctic to cope outside but the shops and underground are stifling.  I've removed more layers than a performer in the Moulin Rouge today. But while my body is tired my mind is enlightened. This afternoon we saw Death of a Salesman, a production which took risks and changed the race of the Loman family. For not the first time I was impressed at how well Arthur Miller's text stood up. We walked around a lot after the show and in the evening backed up for an audience with a master. Ian McKellen's live show was bloody awesome. We all know he's a master telling other people's stories. Turns out he's a huge talent telling his own. It was a thing of great beauty worth all the walking around and undressing.