Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wendy, This One's For You

No need to call Scotland Yard -- I am alive, safe, sound and well. I've just been taking your words to heart and trying my best to explore the city. Remember? The other day when we were talking you said, "It's evening in London. Why aren't you out exploring and making the most of everything???" So, that's what I've been doing.

Mary Poppins on Tuesday night was fantastic, er, wait -- scratch that. It was practically perfect in every way. I absolutely picked the right show to see. It took me awhile to find the theater -- Soho is full of windy little streets and few of them are posted with names, so when I got directions to the Prince Edward theater, it sounded easy enough and looked navigable on paper, but walking through Leicester Square and trying to find Old Compton Road was not as easy in practice. But find it I did (nearly on accident), then got a bite to eat at The Stewpot, a nice little restaurant with a cranky waitress. The French onion soup was made with a cream of mushroom base and didn't have goops of cheese, but was passable, then I had a cheese and apple salad that was mostly coleslaw and carrots. What is it with the British and mayonaise? I watched a woman eating her salad with salmon and each bite got smothered with the stuff. Yuck.

Then I did a little souvie shopping. I didn't get anything for you, but it was productive.

The show was fantastic. It's more true to the books than the movie is, and that makes for a melancholoy end to the first act (Mary has to leave because the children are not ready/willing to learn how to control their tempers), an exciting beginning to the second act (Mrs. Banks engages Mr. Banks's former nanny, The Old Battleaxe or something horrible like that) with a fabulous nanny duel, won by none other than Mary Poppins. The big character development and lessons learned is by Mr. Banks who learns how to let go of his horrendous childhood courtesy of the old battleaxe, remember the magical bits of it courtesy of Mary Poppins, and learn how to love his own children and wife, making it no longer necessary for Mary Poppins to reside at No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane. There are wonderful effects, lots of flying, a little bit of dancing on the stage wall and ceiling, and many sweet tender moments.

Yesterday after work Anthony (if you're reading this with a british accent you must not pronounce the "h;" it is "Antony.") and I set out to try and find The Disney Store on Regent Street, which is still listed on the website as existing, but the cab driver said he hadn't seen it in awhile. He was right. There is instead a huge toy store called Hamley's in its place -- not unlike a huge and chaotic FAO Schwartz. We did not stay long since it was, as already mentioned, a bit of chaos and not the organized type. So we walked down Regent Street to Picadilly Circus then onto Picadilly Road to Waterstones, which is supposably Europe's largest bookstore. It's certainly the largest I've ever been in with six stories to it. And that, dear friend, is where I got the present I'm bringing home for you from London. No, I'm not telling you yet what it is; you'll just have to wait with everyone else to find out next week.

Today's adventure will be a trip to Lutterworth to see the distribution center. Lutterworth is famous for being John Wycliff's home and where the first English translation of the Bible was done from Latin. I don't know if we'll see any of those sites as the train actually goes to Rugby, not Lutterworth, but perhaps there will be something to see commemorating that.

It will be an all day adventure and I plan on being well armed with iPod and book so as to not be driven crazy by Antony's personal auto-conversations during a 2 hour train trip.

So as you can see, all is well here in London. It's a bit cold (freezing actually for my poor thin blood), but certainly bearable and I am doing my best to soak in everything and enjoy each moment.

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