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We saw a fox on Great Ormond St (and other sights up and down the Thames)

We saw a fox on Great Ormond St (and other sights up and down the Thames)

Old Apr 12th, 2014, 07:28 AM
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I suspect, LDT, that the lecture is about the earlier Queen Caroline, wife of George II, who was the soul of respectability and appears to have been genuinely much lamented (quite rare for a Hanoverian):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caroline_of_Ansbach

Whereas the Caroline who pounded on the door was the wife of the previous Caroline's great-grandson, and had never been much of a one for court life, or got to do much in the way of being Queen (though she certainly created entertaining gossip):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caroline_of_Brunswick
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Old Apr 12th, 2014, 07:37 AM
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Oh, fun, lateday. I know you'll have a great trip. Like you, I read trip reports in advance and got more ideas than I can give credit for.

About history: a mini-wickipedia version is the most I know, but that little bit enriches the visit. The Smithfield Market central walkway has a series of informational posters about the area.

Go to the Regency/Geo IV room when at the National Portrait Gallery, and look at Caroline of B's, looking capable of mischief. A portrait of their daughter, who died young and popular, is nearby. Her story is worth skimming, too. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princes...lotte_of_Wales
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Old Apr 12th, 2014, 07:39 AM
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Oh, yes, thanks Patrick. That makes more sense. I was a little surprised that the Palace would focus on sensation-creating Caroline of B.
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Old Apr 12th, 2014, 08:10 AM
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PERFORMING ARTS

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan was the most promising dance possibility for the few evenings we had free. We'd never been to Sadler's Wells, either, and weren't sure how we felt about Chinese dance, but we took a chance on it. http://www.cloudgate.org.tw/eng/

They were wonderful, and we'd have gone back to see them again if we could. H is a dancer, and she was able to confirm my uneducated opinion that entrancing choreography and performance were equally excellent. The piece at first seems standard Modern, but quickly takes you to another, dreamlike, state. In this case, high balcony seats were better than orchestra, allowing you to see bodies' forms against projections on stage.

My man Sam at the Princess printed off walking directions to Sadler's Wells, where there have been a series of theatres going way back. The present one is fine contemporary architecture, and well-designed for watching dance. I wasn't sure about walking through these neighborhoods at night, since it's off Pentonville Road and my only association with that word has "prison" after. It turns out to be just lovely in between, no doubt higher-rent real estate than we could afford, and an easy walk from the St. Pancras area.
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Old Apr 12th, 2014, 06:44 PM
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Hi Patrick London,

Thanks you for your comments. I will leave the intricacies of British royal lineage to others, but I look forward to attending this lecture about Queen Caroline at the Queen's Gallery in June. I guess the Georgians are in vogue again in London as there was a big exhibit about their reigns recently at the British Library.

Stokebailey, I will heed your advice: "Go to the Regency/Geo IV room when at the National Portrait Gallery, and look at Caroline of B's, looking capable of mischief. A portrait of their daughter, who died young and popular, is nearby."

The Portrait Gallery is but a five minute walk from my hotel so I expect to saunter in there (and the National Gallery) several times during my stay.

Glad that you made it to the Saddler Wells. Great trip report...
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Old Apr 13th, 2014, 12:05 AM
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Patrick, do you happen to know which door C of B allegedly knocked on during coronation? I'd go with the northern transept, in her place.

TWO OPERAS

I'm not sure what I did differently this time, because I thought I logged on to buy Royal Opera House tickets within hours of when that batch went on sale. But the only tickets available for La Fille du Regiment were at cheapest £60 each, isolated singles, or else standing room. We've happily sat in the lower slips before, and I'd have been glad to score a couple of those.

Since my husband had to stay home and work, I didn't feel right throwing a lot of our mutual money into entertainment, so H and I hung out in the cheap seats. Or in this case, the cheap square foot of standing room. It's not bad at all, since you get to lean on a velvet railing a few steps above Lower Slips, and I'm used to a standing computer desk at work.

I had the standing room assigned spot but one from the stage end, with H to my left and a middle aged man beyond her. As the opera progressed I became aware that I was crowding the man to my right so much that I was almost entirely in his space, and H in mine. Shoving back against H didn't seem like an option, so I stepped back, leaned on the back wall, and let her have my spot. At intermission, she told me the man to her left had kept inching towards her as she inched away. Have I mentioned that she's a very cute kid? After intermission, I switched places with her. If he chose to cuddle up to the aged parent, he might encounter an elbow. Only briefly was there an encroaching knee, so I didn't have to get rough.

Oh, yes. The opera. We loved it. Juan Diego Flórez was a great Tonio: when he hit those seven or however many in one aria, I thought, "So THAT'S what the big deal is with high C's!" A physical thrill when so beautifully hit. I'd only seen this opera once before, with an annoying Marie. This Marie was just right, though voice not as brilliant since just getting over a cold, and we had the privilege of seeing Kiri Te Kanawa in her apparently farewell role as the Duchesse.

ROH stage design is always topnotch. The designers and directors bear us Lower Slipsters in mind, every time, and make sure there is plenty interesting to see even from way up and to the side.

In the Crystal Palace-like intermission bar and restaurant I went looking for free water jugs I knew were around somewhere while H stood in line at the bar. When I got back, she had a glass each of wine and champagne. Some kind woman had given her a voucher for the champagne, and it was lovely indeed in its flute, tiny bubbles fizzing on the tongue, surrounded by the voices of hundreds of chatting operagoers bouncing off the glass roof. We could imagine ourselves at the epicenter of a great civilization.

We'd never been to the London Coliseum or the English National Opera, and H had never seen Rigoletto, so I got a couple high up and center. This production was set in Edwardian London, and the curtain opens to a lavish club full of men in evening dress. It was gorgeous but visually confusing, with an immense oriental rug and lots of furniture. Usually in opera you have, say, one guy wearing a crown and red cape, and another wearing blue cape and plumes. Edwardian male formalwear put a premium on uniformity, so it takes awhile to tell the plumper older one from the one with slighly receding brown hair. ROH was almost cough-free for us this time, but the Coliseum perversely hacked throughout Gilda's delicate aria.

H loved it, though. Stunning visual effects, like when Rigoletto whisks the sheet off the body, and it's Gilda. The red rose petals fly up and then float down around her, dead in her white dress. http://www.eno.org/rigoletto/opens
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Old Apr 13th, 2014, 01:09 AM
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Not to get too annoyingly feminist here, but when Rigoletto lets his daughter out of the house only to go to church, it's because he wants to keep her for himself. When he finds he's had Gilda killed by mistake, his response is crying that HE is cursed.

I never could warm to that character.
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Old Apr 13th, 2014, 03:29 AM
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>>Patrick, do you happen to know which door C of B allegedly knocked on during coronation?<<

No idea, but the logistics suggest either the north or the west, and if she thought she should be received and crowned as the Queen, she'd have gone for the west door, since that's what's used for grand processional occasions. But I have visions of her rushing round trying all of them. I can't help seeing it as a scene from EastEnders.
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Old Apr 13th, 2014, 04:53 AM
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Thanks for all of the amazing mind pictures!
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Old Apr 13th, 2014, 09:54 AM
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Thank you, TDudette!

Ah, yes, Patrick. You're right. And also right that the film version should be a comedy, not a sappy historical drama where soaring music signals when to feel especially sorry for her. She deserves better. Now, casting....
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Old Apr 13th, 2014, 12:55 PM
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Stoke, confess, are you a writer in real life?
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Old Apr 13th, 2014, 01:21 PM
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Ha, lateday, and aren't you sweet? No, but as of this morning I have a screenplay idea I'd like to pitch to the BBC: a young German princess becomes betrothed to her first cousin. Wacky comic adventures ensue. Let's say three seasons, four episodes each, spanning roughly 1794 - 1820.
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Old Apr 13th, 2014, 01:31 PM
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lol, stoke - though that could also be the plot line for Victoria and Albert, except that they were rather short on wacky adventures.

come to that, it could be the basis for any number of drama series featuring the crowned heads of europe for the last 300 years.
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Old Apr 13th, 2014, 10:50 PM
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Come to think of it, the life of George IV would have made quite a Carry On film.
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Old Apr 15th, 2014, 01:16 PM
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Hi Stoke,

"I have a screenplay idea I'd like to pitch to the BBC: a young German princess becomes betrothed to her first cousin. Wacky comic adventures ensue." Sounds good - LOL

I'll report back about the lecture on Queen Caroline at the Queen's Gallery. Again, the Georgians are hot again, eh?
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Old Apr 15th, 2014, 11:28 PM
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This year is the 300th anniversary of the Hanoverian accession, so it's being marked by a series of different exhibitions, BBC documentary programmes and so on.
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Old Apr 16th, 2014, 03:41 AM
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Thank you, Patrick - didn't realize that. Needless to say, the Hanoverians were not that popular on this side of the pond.
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Old Apr 16th, 2014, 09:06 AM
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Possible series title: "My Favorite Hanover." Geo III, Edw VII, and the current one: all lovable in their own ways.


A COUPLE OF PLAYS

I bought myself an advance matinee ticket for Perfect Nonsense: Jeeves & Wooster, thinking that H would not be able to go during the day. It was the day after I arrived, and we ended up having to cut short our walk to Highgate Cemetery to get me to the Duke of York on time. Also, I'd gotten an inexpensive ticket that ended up having very limited visibility. So, what with one thing and another, I ended up leaving at intermission. I've done that before with matinees; maybe I feel uneasy being inside on a beautiful day.

The play was funny, and Stephen Mangan, Matthew MacFaydan, and Mark Hadfield were hilarious in their roles, with quick costume and character changes to comic effect. Part of the problem was that my seat, in the side second balcony row, would have had a mostly obstructed view of the action even if the woman in front hadn't leaned her puffy head directly between me and center downstage. No ROH-like design consideration for upstairs people here.

Probably part was residual jet lag or residual momentum, but at intermission when I stepped out onto the balcony overlooking St. Martin's Lane, I wanted to be back out in London. So, as Bertie would say, I legged it. In other circs I would have stayed and enjoyed it.

Much more fun, and again probably because it was evening and H was with me, was The Knight of the Burning Pestle, by Francis Beaumont, at the Globe's new indoor Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. http://www.shakespearesglobe.com/the...burning-pestle. Full of Mirth and Delight, and first produced in 1607.

This was only the second production in this Globe-modelled, much smaller theater. They will be performing, I believe, Jacobean and Elizabethan era plays, and I am sure everything will be equally well done. We had seats in the balcony, and it was fun to be on the same level and near the early instrument-playing musicians' gallery, and to watch the business at the beginning as actors lit and then raised the chandeliers. It's largely, but not all, candle-lit.

I dithered for awhile before ordering these tickets, unsure about best dates or whether I should include H's roommate and friends. My options narrowed fast as I wavered, and seats disappeared fast six weeks in advance.

The only other time we'd been to a Globe performance, H, her sister and I underestimated the time it would take, got off our bus at St. Paul's, dashed across the Millennium Bridge, and arrived at our places just in time. This time, H and I underestimated the time....etc. A family tradition I'd like to break next time, and me in my 2" heels.

We had hoped to go to One New Change afterwards for drinks and a view, but didn't quite have the energy. Three men with large telescopes stood on the south bank, and just for the love of it invited passersby to a close look at Jupiter and the full moon. Strolling back over the Millennium Bridge afterwards, the leisurely way it should be crossed, London's lights reflected and the river sang its flowing song.
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Old Apr 16th, 2014, 02:00 PM
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SHOPPING, AND WRAPPING THIS UP

I'm never much interested in London as a consumer paradise, with a couple of exceptions.

1. Wellies -- done
2. Penhaligon

Years ago I (uncharacteristically) asked a stranger what her perfume was. Penhaligon. I don't know that I'd buy anything, but sniffing a few scents has been on my list every time I've been in London. On the bottom of the list, obviously, because have never made the effort. Maybe next time.

H and I walked from Regent's Park up Primrose Hill one fine morning early in my visit, then up Regent's Park Rd. After refreshing ourselves at Le Tea Cozy or some such, we looked in at Mary's Living and Giving, a cute thrift shop for Save the Children. http://www.timeout.com/london/shoppi...ng-giving-shop
Hannah thought they had a good selection of clothes, and I bought a teacup and saucer with the a gold crest, made for the Yeomen Warders. I set the cup on my deep windowsill at the Princess next to a pot of tete-a-tete daffodils, and they dressed the place up nicely. I could sit near the window, listen to the birds, sip tea Princess provides with hot pot, and feel quite at home. When it was time to pack, I rolled the china in clothes and stuck down into the boots. They made it home just fine.

One morning I stopped in at L. Cornelissen & Son, Artist's Colourmen est. 1855, between the British Museum and Tottenham Ct.Rd. Tube stop. The art supply store of my dreams. http://www.londontown.com/LondonInfo...sen__Son/ced8/
I bought a small wood pencil sharpener that I treasure.

I was there towards the end of the high winds, and I saw cheap, blown inside-out umbrellas discarded around town. H's had suffered that fate, so I stopped in at a luggage store on Marylebone Rd. west of Baker St. and bought a big, sturdy "windproof" Fulton Brand (by appointment to Her Majesty) one, non-folding, that I was able to bring home on the plane: www.fultonumbrellas.com/. Later, after Hampton Court Palace, I made H come with me so I could buy her a folding one, too. I hope she packs it.
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Old Apr 16th, 2014, 05:15 PM
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RANDOM BITS

I forgot to eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. They had crepes in the refectory, but H did not think those really counted.

She did find us a place to celebrate Mardi Gras: The Blues Kitchen in Camdentown. We took one of the buses that takes you to Hampstead, arrived shortly before 2100 to see the five man brass band assembling out front. We squeezed in near the bandstand as staff cleared a path towards the door. Pretty soon the band came marching in, paraded up to the stage, then out and around the club and back, playing NOLA style. The place was jammed, had a great atmosphere and fun vibe. Later a few couples of swing dancers came out, and they were very good. We left around 2330, noted that the last bus going south stops there at 0015.

One evening at the King of Falafel at Judd St and Tavistock -- recommended for quick cheap supper while your daughter's at salsa dance lessons -- I sat next to a couple and eavesdropped. The woman looked downcast, forlorn. The man was all curly hair, energy, and platitudes. I've never heard such a string of canned self help phrases, and delivered dead serious in a cockney accent it lent humor to the scene: "If someone wants to win, you've got to keep on winning." "If you don't think positive, then you're thinking negative!" "Confidence is how you deal with problems!" "It's all about being honest with yourself!" and so on, nonstop pep talk for fifteen minutes. What she really wanted was someone to give her a hug and say, "There, there, darling."

So, in sympathy to anyone who's skimmed this far, I say, "There, there, darling. It's over."

PS: H interviewed for and was offered a summer internship, unpaid, ended up turning it down. Beyond the financial issues, work visas, even when sponsored, can take several months.
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