Monday, February 24th, 1997 London, England
It's a very windy day. Barbara was up early as usual and went off shopping. We agreed to meet her at noon at Piccadilly Square to buy our theater tickets. So off to the tube for the rest of us where Patti conquered the ticket machine (which impressed Barbara as she’d never used the machines to purchase tickets). We bought all day passes and used them to catch the bus to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard. We arrived just in time for the start and got good positions on the statue across from the main gate. This also elevated us slightly for a better (but somewhat distant) view of the procession and ceremony.
During the event it started to rain but we were good kids and didn’t put up our umbrellas which would have spoiled the view for those behind us. We had a window washer doing his job on the third floor of the palace throughout the event. Back on the tube we proceeded to Piccadilly Circus area to find Barbara and purchase our theater tickets. We all knew that we should go to the box office, but we’d seen a half price sales booth Saturday night and decided to try that. It was sold out. As we were trying to decide what to do, a scalper, dressed very sharply, conned us into his line and we ended up with £8.00 tickets for £20.00 each. In the balcony. He assured us they were great seats! Would only take cash! But we had tickets to see Miss Saigon for tonight!
Back to the tube again where we read a sign that said no southbound tubes as “someone was under the track”. Guess they can be dangerous. We were Northbound so no problem. Barbara took us to the Punch & Judy Pub in the Covent Garden area. A favorite Pub of her’s from previous trips. We enjoyed a great English lunch and then the boys took off to a museum....but they actually spent the whole afternoon finding and returning from a look at the Shakespeare Theater that is being constructed on the original site. Jim just had to see it!
The girls shopped till we dropped but found several items. I found the Double Decker Buses for grandchildren. Barbara found more silver napkin rings and Patti bought a kilt for a granddaughter. A delightful afternoon complete with ice cream cones. On the tube home we stopped at the Bond Street Station so I could see the two story underground shopping center. I left the girls shopping and headed back to the hotel and they following later. As we walked home the weather began to turn nasty and we walked against rain and wind so strong that it knocked Patti into the street twice as they walked. Umbrella were turned inside out and the wind changed directions every few seconds.
Back to the hotel for a brief rest and then off to the Theater. We decided to take a cab as the weather was really turning bad. We arrived and found that our entrance was on the side of the theater. This was our first hint as to the value of our seats! We walked up and up and up! We were in the top balcony (one of three) in the third row but off to the right side. We all had to lean forward in our seats to see the play. Randy had brought his binoculars with him. I forgot about Jim’s in the room so we rented the cheapies available at our seat…not very good, but they helped a little. Even so it was a wonderful play and we really enjoyed ourselves.
They sold ice cream and drinks at the intermission which provided something to quell our hunger. Afterwards we made our way to Simpsons On The Strand. A wonderful old Restaurant located in the theater district. We were the last diners in the place and had the waiters all to ourselves. The food was wonderful and the service very English and proper. Randy started a bet with the waiter that if he could name all fifty of the states we’d double his tip. An enjoyable half hour followed with everyone giving him secret tips and the other waiters helping him out also. We finally decided we’d better go or he’d have all of them! Back to the hotel by cab and another very enjoyable day in London came to an end. Before bed, I made my first attempt to get on line with my computer. No luck. Something isn’t quite right.