Posts Tagged ‘Harrod’s’

For Christmas, I wanted to go on a day trip to London to see some favorite sites and a play that was starring some actors I’d had a longtime interest in.

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That’s the nice thing about living on the train line to London—one hour and you’re in the heart of things

We poked around the British Museum for a while, particularly my favorite Assyrian exhibits.

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I really like the detail and emotion in the lion's face

I really like the detail and emotion in the lion’s face

I booked a reservation at the newly renovated Court Restaurant to have lunch which was great as always.

bread and artichokes to start

bread and artichokes to start

We went by Harrods which was absolutely mobbed but fun as an anthropological insight on humans and marketing. I had an unfortunate moment as the thing I’d been waiting to get myself for Christmas had gone out of stock while I was waiting so I need to make another expedition later on with different goals. (Definitely a First World problem, but I’d been looking forward to it a lot and spent some extensive time picking the present out online because I never got myself a birthday gift before and this was going to be it finally.)

We walked around Covent Garden after that and wound up at Wagamama, an Asian noodle bar (I think that’s how you’d describe it) for dinner before the play.

vegetarian pad thai

vegetarian pad thai

"Ginny...did you leave your bok choy lying out?"

“Ginny…did you leave your bok choy lying out?”

The day before my employee had asked me very casually which theater our play was going to be in (the Gielgud) because there had been a huge accident at the Apollo the night before in which the ceiling collapsed in the middle of a performance and lots of people were injured (though no deaths).

Gielgud ceiling completely intact

Gielgud ceiling completely intact

Fortunately that wasn’t the Gielgud though so our tickets didn’t go to waste, thank God. I’d gotten third row seats on the aisle for Bear because he gets very cramped and uncomfortable in theater seats especially without enough leg room. Aisle was definitely the right call!

From the third row -- you could practically count pores on actors

From the third row — you could practically count pores on actors

The show was really good although, hard to believe, even darker than the original Patricia Highsmith novel. We’ve seen several different kinds of shows (a mystery and two musicals) but this was the first straight up drama and the acting was really excellent:

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Laurence Fox (of the acting Fox family, Inspector Lewis), Jack Huston (descended from John, Walter and Anjelica, Boardwalk Empire),

Laurence Fox (of the acting Fox family, Inspector Lewis) and Jack Huston (descended from John, Walter and Anjelica, Boardwalk Empire),

Miranda Raison (MI-5/Spooks) with Laurence Fox

Miranda Raison (MI-5/Spooks) with Laurence Fox

MyAnna Buring (The Descent, Ripper Street, Downton Abbey)

MyAnna Buring (The Descent, Ripper Street, Downton Abbey)

Imogen Stubbs (something of an obsession of mine since 1995—Anna Lee, A Summer Story, 12th Night, Jack and Sarah, on stage as Desdemona in Othello with Ian McKellan as Iago and eight zillion other productions)

Imogen Stubbs (something of an obsession of mine since 1995—Anna Lee, A Summer Story, 12th Night, Jack and Sarah, on stage as Desdemona in Othello with Ian McKellan as Iago and eight zillion other productions)

(l-r) Jack Huston, Imogen Stubbs, , Miranda Raison, Laurence Fox, MyAnna Buring

(l-r) Jack Huston, Imogen Stubbs, Christian McKay, Miranda Raison, Laurence Fox, MyAnna Buring

So I’m still on the question for my Christmas present, which is actually my birthday present from August that I never got, but I’ll find it in the end and maybe it’ll mean another trip to London. 🙂

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Because I am married to a fairly tolerant man, when Bear saw me feeling a little overwhelmed earlier this year he suggested that we go down to London for the day and see a show. This apparently is a big sacrifice for a lot of guys and bears alike.Before the offer could be retracted, I pounced and planned a full day.

We stopped first at the British Library to see one of their new exhibits on the A to Z of detective fiction.

New free exhibit at the British Library: A - Z Murder in the Library

New free exhibit at the British Library: A – Z Murder in the Library

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Handwritten manuscript page from Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes short story "The Adventure of the Retired Colourman"

Handwritten manuscript page from Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes short story “The Adventure of the Retired Colourman”

Signed photo with the cast of the televised adaptation of the Inspector Morse series.

Signed photo with the cast of the televised adaptation of the Inspector Morse series.

We hopped the Picadilly tube line down to the British Museum to spend some time in the Enlightenment Gallery and the Sutton Hoo exhibit, which I like to see whenever we go. They’re building a new gallery for those items and it should be ready next year so it’ll be nice to see them in their new home as well.

But first we had to stop for a coffee at the Starbucks across from the museum, which is where I had waited with Bear’s brother and my sister-in-law two years ago while Bear was making his way to meet us. A lot fewer tourists in February!

Bear in the Starbucks across from the British Museum

Bear in the Starbucks across from the British Museum

They have these cute little guide/docents who hang out in various areas with some objects that you’re allowed to handle and they’ll give you a walk through which is always fun.

Cuneiform tablet (2500 BCE)

Cuneiform tablet (2500 BCE)

The inscription was meant to be read by the gods and not men, so it was laid on the inside and the inscription wasn't exposed.

The inscription was meant to be read by the gods and not men, so it was laid on the inside and the inscription wasn’t exposed.

There were other objects I got to examine including a hand axe which was over 30,000 year sold and found somewhere in Suffolk, a small cosmetics pot travel-sized for the Egyptian afterlife, a ceramic tile from Iran/Persian empire, and a little one-handled jar from Italy that poured olive oil.

Over in the Sutton Hoo room, we found another hands on exhibit and learned about purse clasps and then walked around the regular exhibits.

Horse teeth that have been shaped into gaming pieces.

Horse teeth that have been shaped into gaming pieces.

At the moment,a number of objects are grouped in Room 2 while their rooms are being renovated, including the oldest object in the entire museum which is another hand axe found in Olduvai Gorge, site of many of the finds by the Leakey family (Louis, Mary and Richard).

Olduvai hand axe

Olduvai hand axe

Our main objective though, I admit, was to have lunch at the Great Court Restaurant on the third floor which did not disappoint.

roasted vegetable polenta

Roasted vegetable polenta

(my choice was the polenta)

(my choice was the polenta)

Moroccan spice chicken with chickpea stew in spicy red sauce

Moroccan spice chicken with chickpea stew in spicy red sauce

Bear's choice

Bear’s choice, his once a week chicken treat (fish only the rest of the time)

We managed to share the roasted artichokes without an actual fight

We managed to share the roasted artichokes without an actual fight

While there, we heard the party at the next table debating if they should get the mixed vegetable polenta, so I felt compelled to speak up and say that mine was excellent. We ended up having a really, really nice time talking to them (Mary Barnsdale and Eileen Cohen) and found that they had connections to writing and software as well and were over on a combination of business and vacation. I can’t even remember specifically what we talked about except all my favorite things, like books, travel, technical writing, food, museums, the exhibits, and on and on.

I don’t know why it seems like I keep meeting the nicest people that I feel like I could be friends with and then having to tell them good bye — it kind of reminds me of meeting Janet, Deb and Bella and everyone at Java Mama up in Dillard. I don’t think I ever told them, but when I left at the end of my writing week there when I met them and the rest of their regular cast of characters, I sat out in my car and cried for more than a minute because I knew somehow that I could’ve been very happy there on the mountain, but this was just one strand of life that I was only going to get a glimpse of, but I was still very blessed to have gotten to. (I get greedy like that, wanting to have everything last forever.) Best of luck and safe travels to you, Mary and Eileen!

We broke down and went for dessert, an apple-plum crumble with warm cream, that was guaranteed to send me into a sugar coma within an hour except I was so excited about going to the show that I wasn’t too worried.

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Fortunately the Lyceum is hard to miss so when we got off the tube we just cast around a little bit and headed towards the giant gold-orange banners.

(taken from web, not my photo)

(taken from web, not my photo)

Seating arrangements are more important than you think when you’re married to someone as tall as Bear, and also one who is so attuned to his personal comfort. I had found that the Lyceum has some limited boxes available in the balcony area where you can sit with your own chair and move about at will and the price is even better than some of the regular seats. You do sacrifice a little visibility, but not all that much and the tradeoff would be well worth it.

Regular seating

Regular seating

Box seat!

Box seat!

No photos of the show itself out of respect to the requests for no photography, but here’s a link to a performance of the opening number as done for the Tony Awards a few years ago and you can see the reason that the show’s designer/director/big kahuna Julie Taymor made such a sharp impact.

After the show we ran over to find one of the three local Chipotles so Bear could have some real Mexican food because, as we have covered elsewhere, Mexican chain restaurants in England are sadly, woefully, off base in their menu offerings.  Note, if you’re looking for the one on St. Martin’s Lane, be aware that the street numberings are off from what you would expect. It’ll be at 58 on the left side of the road and 89 directly opposite on the right. Excuse me?

Chipotle Bear

Chipotle Bear

For the final stop of the day, we went a few stops further on the Picadilly Line to Harrod’s where John’s family had very generously given us some gift cards for Christmas. Harrod’s being the experience that it is, you sort of have to go there and not just order online, so go we did.

Hard to miss Harrod's

Hard to miss Harrod’s

First stop–women’s shoes where Bear said, “I’ve always heard of Jimmy Choo–oh, that looks pretty!” Three seconds later when he turned the shoe over and looked at the price tag he bleated, “625 pounds…do you get both shoes for that? Here, let’s try Prada instead…”

After poking around the Barbour jackets and riding the Egyptian escalator up and down many times, I found some things I wanted (I’ll spare the world the pictures, it was in what used to be called the foundations department) and then ran down to the Food Hall before it closed to pick up some snacks, particularly some really nice French cheese (a round of Camembert and some Tomme de Chevre).

Up and down, up and down...

Up and down, up and down…

We couldn’t have timed it better taking the tube back to King’s Cross and we arrived about 10 minutes before a train back to St. Neots (although admittedly they have several an hour). It’s still pretty mindboggling to live so close to one of the major cities in world history and to be able to be there and back so quickly. Despite the whirlwind day though, the best part was coming home to Juliet.

A (part) Turkish Van on a Turkish rug, waiting faithfully for us to come home.

A (part) Turkish Van on a Turkish rug, waiting faithfully for us to come home.

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