Firewirks over Sydney Opera House

Firewirks over Sydney Opera House

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Country mice visit London

The lovely London Eye/Millennium Wheel (never did find out which!) situated on the banks of the Thames near to County Hall and the Southbank Centre. We were staying in a hotel in County Hall so perfectly placed.

We didn't actually go on the Wheel though. The weather was perfect for it on Sunday afternoon when we arrived but alas it was "closed for planned maintenance". It re-opened on Tuesday morning but by then conditions were overcast and we were keen to get back home. Another time. I've already been on a couple of times anyway.

An evening walk alnog the South Bank taking in the views and discussing with Dad how much London has changed and what has stayed the same.

Views eastwards - St Pauls Cathedral, the Gherkin, and the Oxo Tower on the far right.

Walking home over Charing Cross footbridge. This was new to Dad. You can see the Festival Hall ahead of us.
National Theatre and Festival Hall
London Eye and Houses of Parliament with Big Ben

The Imperial War Museum. Well worth a visit if you've not been.

This was a manned observation pod which would have hung from beneath an airship (hidden in the clouds)to tell the crew when they were above the target and when to drop their bombs. A single man in there, dangling up to 1500 metres beneath the airship!! That's nearly a mile of cable!! Not for me....

I often have a laugh at these blue plaques as the residents named can be so bizarre and their occupancy of the house in question so short-lived. But this struck me as a pretty good one!

Me and my Dad clutching our (very expensive) programme from the recital!

We were tired out when we got home and the dogs were pleased to see us! Shelagh's eyes are just boring into me there - "don't ever leave us again...."!

I'm torn at the moment. On the one hand, I'm really happy with life but on the other, I'm annoyed with myself for not knuckling down and losing weight properly.
Happy with life is great - I've just come back from a really good weekend in London with Diarmuid and my father. It was my Dad's Christmas treat - a weekend in London and tickets to see a recital at the Festival Hall with Anna Netrebko, Dmitri Hvorostovsky and the London Philharmonia.
My mum is not really with us these days, descending into Alzheimers and so Dad has lost her as a companion for much of the time. His life seems to be shrinking to care for Mum and becoming smaller and smaller as her limitations come to govern what he can do. It's desperately sad. So I was determined to make sure that he has a few things to look forward to and which will keep him interested in life, hence the weekend away. It was marvellous to be able to do something nice for Dad that I know he really enjoyed and appreciated.

My sister was very helpful and supportive in that she had mum for the 2 days we were away and made sure that Mum felt as though she was having a treat and didn't miss the trip to London.

It was really good fun. Dad used to live in London decades ago - he was a student at Queen Mary College in the East End and used to go to the Festival Hall when cheap seats could be had. He's always loved opera and has been a fan of the lovely Anna since her appearance at the Last Night of the Proms in 2005! I'm sure it's all because of her voice though, nothing to do with her being a voluptuous brunette, they never change!
As he's getting on and has a heart condition, I'd arranged to stay right next to the London Eye (or is it the Millennium Wheel these days?) on the South Bank. It was a perfect location as we could walk along the river to the FH, over the bridge to Leicester Square/Covent Garden and it was also only a short walk to the Imperial War Museum which was our other excursion on the weekend.

The Museum was fascinating. I've been before but neither Dad nor D had been and going with Dad was great as he could remember so much of the WW2 stuff first hand. A bit gruesome I suppose but he could remember hearing V1 bombs going overhead and all the stuff about ration books and ARP wardens, the uniforms and the posters. All the bombers and fighter planes - any young boy would be enthralled by them and, looking at them, Dad appeared to be just a young boy of 78!! We were there for over 4 hours before we succumbed to museum fatigue but it was great!

We had 2 gorgeous meals - one at a pretty french bistro near Covent Garden (can't remember the name but was pleasant) and the second at the Harvey Nicks restaurant in the Oxo Tower which was lovely, gorgeous food and great views/location.

But the main attraction was always going to be the recital. It was so vibrant, the orchestra and the sound quality thrilling, and the whole sell-out atmosphere really exiting for country mice like us. I know Dad loved it and I did too so it was a perfect success. Anna Netrebko was really expressive and lyrical, dancing like a little girl and flirting with the condutor so Dad was even more hooked than he had been but for me old Dmitri was HOT!
Why haven't I seen him before??! Very tall, brooding, mane of white hair (although only in 40's), long lean legs in narrow cut trousers, black tail coat with velvet collar cut in a western style with plain black tie rather than a bow-tie - he looked more like a character out of Twilight than an opera singer! And such a gorgeous voice, especially doing the russian numbers. And the duets with Anna - sizzling hot. Phwooaar!!

So, now that I'm a bona fide opera groupie I'll be watching out for him.....or that Mexican chappie Rolando Vilazon!

After all that it seems churlish to whinge about not losing weight. It's my own fault but I have now lost and regained the same 4 lbs 4 times since Christmas!! 4 times!! I need to push through once I lose those 4 lbs and keep going. I know what I need to do, just need to put it into practice! So - that's the plan. I'm not going to bring my mood down by dwelling but it will be done.


Ex Yo-Yo Dieter Debbie said...

Thanks for a great update, Lesley! Your dad sounds like a real sweetheart; so nice you could take him out on the town.

Never mind about recycling the 4 pounds...I've been doing some recycling myself lately as well. Luckily, we're clear of Christmas and New Year's!

Peridot said...

Sounds like a nice weekend - sorry I was a bit useless on the restaurant recommendations (realised afterwards that dim sum was NOT likely to appeal to the older generation!).

Peridot x