Tuesday, May 19, 2015

London: Bright lights and big shows

After our return from Porto in April came the realization that there still wasn't much to do in the village. It was still too chilly to swim although the weather was better. The Port is a summer place. With this realization and a need to have some fun and speak to people even if it was meaningless chit chat just in passing, we headed off for London.

A quick ride in on the Gatwick Express and a short taxi ride brought us to our Kensington hotel. It had been a long time since breakfast so we followed the hotel manager’s directions to an all day restaurant. Seamus had duck spring rolls, while I had a quinoa salad. It was all delicious, a good start to the food.

We wandered around admiring the clothing stores and all the little restaurants with wonderful cakes. There were still lots of smart looking Sloane Rangers, if that is still their name, in the street but they were mixed in with lots of people from the Middle East and Asia.

It was time for us to head to the Harold Pinter theatre to see, "Sunny Afternoon," the story of the Kinks and their rise to fame. We decided to take the tube but £9 return for three stops seemed a bit much. An uber would definitely be cheaper. We bought a one way ticket and headed down to the platform. There were announcements about how the network was working well. I guess that depends on how you define it. The first two trains were so crowded we didn’t even try to get on board. But with number three we pushed our way on and stood squashed together just like the garment workers we had seen in the backs of trucks in Cambodia. Horrible.

We put all this behind us we sat down to enjoy the show. It follows the band's beginnings when brothers Dave and Ray Davies started writing songs, their triumph on Top of the Pops and their troubled American tour. It follows the turbulent times, the highs and lows as the band became bigger and bigger. We shared a table with a man of a similar age, who was a real Kink's aficionado. He enthusiastically filled us in on much of the story behind the play.

The music was fantastic throughout: Waterloo Sunset, You Really Got Me, Dedicated Follower of Fashion, This Time Tomorrow and of course Lola. By the end we were all standing dancing in the aisles. What a great play!

By now we were hungry. Lots of the restaurants were closed but we found a Jamie Oliver restaurant that did lots of barbecued things. I had an organic chicken burger that was very good. We were to find that Jamie's restaurants were excellent quality and value for money.

Since it was a beautiful night we enjoyed the lovely walk back to the hotel from Piccadilly.

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