Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Monday 25th September – London

Our first day in London promised to be a perfect museum day – overcast and damp. One plan was to do the London Eye if the weather was good. But there is so much to do here that there is always a plan B if the weather doesn’t suit, and what better way to spend a wet London day than to visit the V&A (the Victoria and Albert Museum) in South Kensington. One highlight for us was the 'cast' rooms, full of plaster casts of classical statues from Britain and Europe. I know they are 'just' copies, but incredibly well done - so remarkably well detailed and coloured they look like the real thing.

After a few hours looking at antiquities and 16th & 17th Century British decorative arts (Tudor and Stuart) – amazing stuff , and a scrumptious lunch in the museum café, we left the V&A, leaving plenty to come back and see another day, and headed to Leicester Square to check out cheap tickets for West End shows. Getting around London is pretty easy on the ‘Tube’ – we bought a 7 day Oyster Card, as they call it, and just hop on and off and change to another line to wherever we need to go – though you need to be fairly able-bodied, as a lot of stations seem to just have stairs (no escalators or lifts) and long corridors, and lots of them! Despite the weather change it is still warm – people are going about in T-shirts, even in the evenings.

We looked at a few of the half price ticket outlets, but there was a play at a theatre just near the tube station which took our fancy so we went into the box office to see what cheap tickets we could get. They had ₤10 bench seats right up the back, so we took them. When we got to the theatre in the evening we had been upgraded to the royal circle – best seats in the house for 10 quid! It was 'Voyage Around My Father', an autobiographical play by John Mortimer (who wrote 'Rumpole of the Bailey'), and starred Derek Jacobi! Excellent performance.

In the meantime we saw an ‘Aussie’ pub called Walkabout advertising AFL Grand Final tickets to watch the game live on a big screen. We thought if we couldn’t actually be at the MCG on Saturday what better way to watch the game than with a bunch of Aussie ex-pats in a pub at 5:30 in the morning! The ₤10 ticket includes breakfast and a VB!