Day 4 of UK Trip
July 8, 2009

Today I unfortunately had to head into work (someone has to pay for the family holidays).  I got up at my usual ‘work time’ 6:30am and no-one stirred until I woke the boys up while trying to get my toiletry bag out of their unpacked suitcase.  Helen was awake when I left the flat at 8am but I don’t think she had actually picked her head up off the cushion yet.  I caught a bus to Waterloo station (it is only about a 25 minute walk but as it was overcast and drizzingly I didn’t want to get wet in my suit) and then I caught a train to Dorking for a meeting with a client.  The train trip took about 45 minutes.  It is an amazing place for an insurance office.  They must have converted the old estate in the area into the office building.  When you enter their grounds you pass ponds with ducks swimming around and the grounds are beautiful.  I would think that it must be very pleasurable environment to work in (assuming the people are nice!).  The meeting was finished by 11:30am and we (I was with 2 of my UK staff), caught a train back to Waterloo, then the underground to Bank station and walked the rest of the way back to the office and I got into the office at 1:15.

Fortunately by that time my lunch had already arrived.  For those of you who don’t know, we get free lunch in London office (see – there is such a thing as a free lunch).  You have a choice of 4 suppliers and you can pretty much get anything you would like – you just have to order before 10am.  I usually order a sandwich and today I had remembered to email my UK PA and asked her to place the order for me so it was waiting when I got into the office.  Smoked Salmon and Cottage Cheese … now I am feeling hungry again.  I sent a text (not an SMS – no one here knows what you are talking about if you say SMS) to find out what the 3 terrorists and my darling, beautiful wife were doing (or had done).  They had been (so far) to the Natural History Museum (which Helen says needs to be renovated into the 21st century), then to Harrods and they were currently  sitting eating lunch at Wasabi (take out sushi place).

I heard later from the boys about what cars they had seen.  Touring around with them in London has opened my eyes to how many fancy cars there are here.  I just hadn’t noticed before but given they point out each Ferrari; Lambo; Rolls, Bentley And GeeWhiz we see, you just can’t not help noticing anymore.  Even Helen was pointing out cars yesterday on our trip in.  The only problem was that she kept pointing to Volvos, Fords, Toyotas and the like and the boys get disgusted with her.  Then to top it off she keeps asking what kind of car that was when it was one that they had told her about 2-3 cars earlier … chicks never learn …

They seemed to have fun especially at Harrods and were almost tempted into buying ‘make your own snow’ which I was told lasts for 2 weeks.  Hard to believe but they were quite insistent and seemed to have concocted the story very well or they had in fact seen it.  They went from Harrods to Hamley’s (you can probably see a theme here) but amazingly they didn’t buy anything at Hamley’s.  They then caught a taxi back home.

Meanwhile, during their sightseeing and shopping, I was slaving away trying to bring home the bacon.  I had too much to do in too short a time as I wanted to leave the office at 4:30pm so I could get back to the flat to change before we went out to see Oliver at the Theatre this evening.  I made it back to the flat at 5pm which gave me a short time to change out of my suit.  Just at about this time it started to drizzle lightly but we were fortunate to get a taxi from right outside the flat.  We then sat in a traffic jam for the next 30 minutes and a downpour of rain (and hail) that I have never seen before in London.  It pelted and bucketed down (really – both at the same time) and at one stage I looked at the road and it would have been easy to believe that we were driving in the Thames and not next to it.  I was thankful that we hadn’t been walking!

We went to dinner at Sophie’s Steakhouse & Bar.  Stephen and I had been there about 10 days ago when he was with me in London and we really liked it, and as it was just around the corner from the theatre we thought that it would make a good venue for dinner this evening. The service was again prompt and friendly and everyone liked the food so it is a definitely a place we will come back to again.  It is a really nice and open restaurant yet it does have a nice vibe about it too.  We finished dinner at 6:30pm and so we still had another hour to kill before the start of Oliver.  We walked around Covent Garden and Helen went into a few shops but concluding that it was not going to be a shopping holiday (said with a little disdain in her voice).  We got into the theatre and found our seats which were the very back row of the Upper Circle.  London theatre’s were not built for comfort – no aircon; very steep, no leg room.  I sat on the aisle so I could at least stretch my legs out down the stairs (and occasionally trip someone when I wanted to see some action).  Helen had to sit with her legs around her neck for most of the performance except for a brief time when she stood (we were the back row so no one’s view was blocked).

The performance was excellent.  Rowan Atkinson (of Mr Bean fame) played Fagan and he stood out for the rest of the cast.  They definitely have altered the role/character of Fagan slightly to fit Rowan Atkinson and there were some stand out sections which you could see Mr Bean peaking through.  He had the audience in raptures.  There was one point where he was talking to his jewels and to himself and he says “Pearl, I want to introduce you to Ruby” and then he says, “Ruby I want to introduce you to Crystal” and he did a Mr Bean mutter under his breath and it brought the house down.  Some of the rest of the cast were also very good including Dodger (who I thought was 2nd best after Rowan).  We caught a taxi home (we were fortunate and found one right outside the theatre) and the fare was half of what we paid there (to illustrate how long we were stuck in traffic on the way there).

We got home at 10:20pm and the kids went to bed pretty much straight away and after I had done some CBD work (I have to do that otherwise I start getting emails from Janet, Nick, Michael, Gio, Lily/Lynne & Willem complaining about me slacking off), I typed this and now I am heading for bed as well because I need to be up again at 6:30am tomorrow as someone needs to pay for the family holidays (I get a feeling of déjà vu).

Good night, sleep tight.

From the Musical Ts


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