London adventure and Nutcracker

January 16, 2012 at 2:00 am Leave a comment

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What an adventure I had today! Glorious sunny January day but oh so cold….fearing the Hammersmith Flyover to still be shut I booked my train ticket to London online and when I saw a lane had reopened and that the Northern Line was closed due to engineering works I wondered at my wisdom. Realising I couldn’t cancel my ticket I cheerily set off for Swindon. No traffic at all and no one in the car park – still eight quid though! First class seat (no idea why!) to Paddington included free coffee and biscuits. This is the way to travel, thought I. Then we lurched to a halt just outside Reading. Very polite and apologetic lady guard explained some plonker had clipped the points during the engineering work and needed to return to the scene with a soldering iron (ok I made that bit up!) Arrived 15 mins late but undeterred I set off to find bus stop H or P for the 205 which my son assured me would take me to the Angel. Did a circuit of Paddington station and couldn’t find right bus stops. Saw a 205 and ran after it. Eventually it stopped in a ‘drivers layby’ and lo and behold the driver got out his lunch. He did open his door to speak to me though….’You need to go back round to the front of the station and further up the road!’ he waved his sandwich helpfully. 15 minutes later I found the right bus stop (I have a sense of direction problem – i.e. I don’t have one!) and the well lunched bus driver smiled as he licked the crumbs from his lips…’you found the stop then love’. 20 minutes and a tour of the monopoly board later I’m alighting at the Angel and in a pub enjoying a lovely roast Sunday lunch with my son. Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker was on at Sadler’s Wells and it was our post Christmas treat. “I have to warn you Mum, he’s a bit alternative” he said with trepidation having seen a few of his productions before – the Tim Burton of ballet…Well it was superb. What I love about London theatre is live music by a full orchestra, and the conductor seemed to be a principal dancer in his own right, such were his flourishes and vigour. Tchaikovsky’s familiar music filled the three tiered auditorium and the magic began. Bourne sets the first scene not at a lavish Christmas party but in a workhouse – shades of Oliver Twist…with 2 nasty ‘posh’ children stealing the orphans presents and being mean to them. The traditional dances from around the globe are transformed into characters from Sweetieland…the costumes and set are lavish and yes the Christmas tree grows and it really does snow – traditional ingredients of The Nutcracker. A superb production and well worth the exciting journey!

Something occured to me at Paddington on my way home. In this modern age, why oh why do we still have to put the window down and lean out from the train to open the door from the outside? It’s pretty dangerous especially where the train doesn’t lie flush along the platform (Mind the gap!)…there are polite little stickers exhorting passengers to save heat and be considerate by closing the window behind them as they exit the train…does anyone really do that? I don’t think so!! Just a thought…..

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Debi Evans

Debi Evans

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