It is very hard for us to book a day off, and to decide on a Saturday for a break requires a lot of forward planning. Yesterday we had a day out with our family that has been eighteen months in the planning! Not only did we need to ensure that we weren't working yesterday, but we thought we would have today off too so that we could properly recover in the glow of a lovely day.
The day started late morning when we drove a mile or two to collect our son and daughter in law. Another couple of miles and we were at the station waiting for the fast train to London. A smooth ride, a picnic while travelling, and forty minutes later we arrived at London Waterloo where our daughter and family were waiting for us. Their journey had been slightly longer, but now there were eight of us about to begin our adventure.
It was a beautiful day, and who needs the underground on a day as lovely as this? We strolled across Waterloo Road and headed in the direction of the Royal Festival Hall. This wasn't our destination, but it would lead us to the bridge that crossed the Thames and on to the north side of the river. We bypassed Villiers Street by walking along the continuation of the bridge (we could see it through the gaps) and finally ended up in The Strand. A short walk brought us to Trafalgar Square.
Here we paused to look at the Street Theatre and other delights on offer
This particular living statue was more imaginative than any of the others around. One young child was a little disturbed by him, so he got off his pedestal and became fully human until the child calmed down, a really lovely touch.
We walked on through streets and alleys that I haven't investigated for a long time. In my student days I walked all over London. I often couldn't afford my underground fare, so I would walk between Waterloo and The Kings Road on many occasions. We had plenty of time so the stroll was leisurely and comfortable. Our appointment was for three o'clock, and we arrived in plenty of time.
Eighteen months ago I managed to book eight seats for 'Mama Mia'. We had had to wait that long for seats together, and today was the day. Yes, I booked them, and I was the one that viewed the whole day with most trepidation! I don't like musicals, and I felt as though I had already had my fill of Abba music some long time ago! Even as we approached the venue I kept these thoughts to myself but trembled inside a little. I needn't have worried....
A quick drink in the bar (it was orange juice, folks)
and it was time to take our seats. Our grand-daughter and I just had time to compare nail varnish and then it was time for curtain-up!
It was great fun. It was also LOUD! We were in the second row, fantastic views, but of course loud to the extreme at times. We laughed, had our heart strings wrenched and sang along when it was appropriate. It really was a thoroughly good show and enjoyed by one and all, including our 16 and 14 year old grandchildren. No photographs of the show as these are understandably forbidden.
And then it was time for dinner. An Italian restaurant recommended by our son was just around the corner, so that was where the table was booked. It was lovely. A long, leisurely family dinner, with plenty of wine.
So now we headed back towards the station for the train. It was dark, but very mild so no need for the underground this time either. We retraced our steps, enjoying the evening, and the company! Pausing briefly on Hungerford Bridge for the last views of the evening.
Just too late the moon emerged from the clouds, but there wasn't time to dash back for another photograph.