Friday, December 16, 2011

UK Christmas-Day 2 (Dec. 16, 2011)

Morning arrived after a glorious night of sleep for our weary bodies!  We chose to walk to our neighborhood shopping area in Wanstead.  It is about a mile from the house, and you have two choices for walking.  The most direct to the Tube Station is to take a footpath just a few doors from our home, then through a bit of neighborhood, and finally walk along the motorway (on a sidewalk) to the Tube station.  The other way is to head into our neighborhood from the house, and the entire walk is through residential areas, taking us past a beautiful old church (which is not in operation now - how sad), and past The Nightingale, a fine pub.  We always enjoy the architecture--houses are primarily "semi detached" which in our language is a duplex.  There are a few detached homes but certainly not many. There are some with Christmas trees or some Christmas decorations but certainly not a lot of decorations, but we enjoyed all the ones we have seen.

We went to The Olive Branch Deli...unbelievable full English breakfast that lasted Jerry the entire day and evening. (see photo)..while I had a modest scrambled eggs/toast with tea (of course).  We had such  a nice visit with the owner-he's from India, wife from Italy...we are planning to stop by on Saturday and select our dinner for Xmas and take it home for warm-up on Sunday.
We waddled to the tube station and headed out...Wanstead on the Circle line to Holbern, change to the Piccadilly Line to Leicester Square.  Upon arising to the street level, we found our theatre for our Saturday play right there - so getting there will not be a problem!

And we wandered....toured through St. Martins in the Fields--tried to buy tickets to a carol sing last night but either very expensive or no view,  you only paid to we passed on that...found our Waterstones Book store (I don't believe myself, but I really did buy two books--its an addiction!).  We just walked..found ourselves at the Texas Embassy so went inside to visit with them--their coffee machine was broken, but they encouraged us to return for a meal some time during our stay.  We inquired about our friend's son (who is an owner) and of course, he was not there--he rarely is.  But they directed us to Nero's for coffee--a place we had been last trip.  After getting refreshed with our coffee and tea, we spent the next few hours in the National Gallery--amazing place..just wandered and sat..wandering and looking at paintings gets very tiring!  Benches were a welcome relief!

We enjoyed down time at Waterstones, reading through their books and mags and just hanging out...then over to Trafalgar Square to listen to a delightful choir standing below the Christmas tree singing..their director was very animated and a joy to watch..and lots of singing along--more memories of 5 years ago.
And then - the highlight of the day - "Blood Brothers" at the Phoenix Theatre.  Amazing production.  Carla, you are absolutely correct--it is a must-see.  It wasn't what I expected, tho, so I was pleasantly surprised with where it went--just a powerful moral story about class and class differences.  The actors were great--Mama was so strong and really pulled all that hard stuff off.  We were behind a couple of rows of school kids..maybe junior high...and they laughed their heads off at the adult actors playing 7 year old boys, then 14 year old boys...and they were as much fun to watch (or at least listen to).  So do put "BB" on everyone's list of plays to see!

When you go to an evening production, it makes it very late when you get home - nearly midnight by the time you ride the Central Line to Wanstead and then walk a mile!  Matinees are more to my liking!

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