Well, our day didn’t quite get off to the best start. We’d booked seats on the train to London to join friends celebrating a significant birthday, but as we walked between car park and platform, heard the news that all trains were cancelled due to a fatality a short way down the line.
A terrible tragedy for those concerned, our immediate need to get to London seemed trivial in comparison. Nevertheless we couldn’t hang around waiting for replacement buses or anything and decided to drive to Swindon. Except, when we got there, there was not a single parking space to be found. Since we were staying overnight, we needed a long stay place and having done the circuit once or twice (together with a couple of other cars), we left them to it and drove up instead.
Amazingly, we arrived earlier than we would have done had we caught the train as planned. Hmm. Not the best incentive for taking the train in future.
At least a warm welcome awaited us at the hotel, where an upgrade to a suite lifted the spirits no end, I can tell you (not to mention a few nostalgic photographs on the wall!)
The day got progressively better, because we met Edward for lunch (in Zedel, just off Piccadilly Circus which is a reliable, reasonably priced place in a very convenient location, btw) and after a bit of a mooch around, we put on our glad rags and met our friends at J Sheekey’s (Fish pie all round! hooray!) Our generous host, the Birthday Boy, had arranged a fine evening out, the highlight of which was The Mikado at ENO.
All ten of us had seen this production previously. Some had seen the original with Eric Idle some 28 years ago and others – including ourselves – had seen it revived some years later. Everyone remembered it vividly and couldn’t wait to see it again!
(Photo album from English National Opera)
This is the Jonathan Miller production which takes place in a seaside hotel of the 1930’s. Wonderful, witty, stylish and exuberantly performed, the whole thing is an absolute joy from start to finish and was every bit as good – if not better – than the last time we all saw it.
What was especially lovely, was that rather than bid everyone goodnight at the theatre door and each go our separate ways, we returned to J Sheekey’s for puds and coffee – and of course, to share our delight in The Mikado. As a result, it was well past midnight when we reluctantly put on our coats and headed across Leicester Square, humming our favourite tunes as we went.
The softest and cosiest of beds in the most elegant suite awaited us!