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Two Country Mice from Parwich go to London

The Addison Singers 24 November 2012

Every so often John and I are lucky enough to hit the highlights and enjoy a pleasure driven weekend in London, thanks to our London-based young and their many friends. It doesn’t take much to find an excuse for a visit; this weekend our daughter Ruthie was singing in a concert with the Addison Singers. Being fond and proud groupies we were delighted to be able to go; and even more delighted when Ruthie suggest she also get us all tickets on the Friday night before, for ‘A Chorus of Disapproval’ one of Alan Ayckbourn’s terrific plays we were lucky enough to see when it first came out, in the Theatre in the Round, Scarborough, in the days when we lived in Scarborough.

It is on at the Harold Pinter Theatre, directed by Trevor Nunn, with Rob Brydon in the key role as Dafydd ap Llewellyn the long-suffering Welshman trying against the odds to produce an amateur production of the Beggars’ Opera. The play within the play reflects the similarities between the pimps, prostitutes and minor criminals of the 18th play and the would-be actors of the current version. The whole is clever, witty and very funny and we would whole-heartedly recommend it.

As we would also the Thai meal we enjoyed beforehand, at the Busaba Ethai, almost opposite the theatre. The food was good and the service attentive; this was slightly marred for us by John’s overhearing the waiters’ team briefing when we arrived (for a pre theatre meal). ‘ Be very charming, make lots of money!’ the manager was exhorting… As everything was pretty expensive anyway, we didn’t see the need for any extra charm.

The concert was superb, by any standards. St Peter’s Church, Notting Hill, was full to the brim; one of Ruth’s and our friends found herself talking music to the interesting man sitting next to her, who turned out to be the Master of the Queen’s Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, who had come to hear the London premiere of ‘Proverb’, his own recent work! The main feature was the Mozart Requiem; there were several other works including Mozart’s Ave Verum corpus and Proverb (see above!).

A meringue for one!

While waiting for our train back to Derbyshire on Sunday, we decided to have a coffee in the St Pancras Hotel, in what is still called ‘The Booking Office’ (do you remember it?). St Pancras is such a delight anyway: every time I find myself there I feel privileged and grateful to the likes of Sir John Betjeman who prevented it all being rased to the ground and replaced with some ghastly modern monstrosity.

We hadn’t been to the hotel before. Next time we shall go for a cocktail – or you could have afternoon tea. Our coffee was a delightful experience. We were impeccably served by charming waitresses in very neat uniforms whom one could have mistaken for an air hostess. John’s meringue turned out to be the size of a small loaf of bread, very tactfully served with two knives and forks, so with very little reluctance I helped John make short work of it. We did feel the the embarrassing pile of meringue crumbs underneath us might perhaps have lowered the tone somewhat!

Finally, I must mention the Christmas lights. We had not given them a thought, so when the bus turned into Oxford Street John and I were like little children, totally overwhelmed, and John who is hardly ever without his camera was cursing the fact he hadn’t brought it.

We had to make do with mine, which unknowingly I had set on video mode (you can see what an expert I am…). Anyway, it does capture a little of the atmosphere as seen from the top of the 94 bus but sadly I have failed tonight to upload them onto this post!!

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