Funnily enough I'd read up on Krampus, the the whole Black Pete debacle, in an article on the plane over. Who knew I was going to put that seemingly useless if amusing trivia to use so soon.
Well, at least it put a smile on my face. Which is a rare thing. I tell ya, the stupid bitch who thought it'd be a good idea to combine last minute xmas shopping crowds, last minute work deadlines, a heatwave, jet lag, plane flu, food poisoning and blisters ought to be slapped, hard, if I wasn't suffering quite enough as it is. Oy...
Anyway, xmas fail this year, big time. Well, kind of. I did get snow, xmas lights and a big, warm dinner with my family, the way I never, ever do, so it was actually xmas win, for me. Just fail re cleaning house, checking off the shopping list, getting cards in post in a timely fashion, that I failed at. But yeah, actually got the xmas thing this year, proper xmas. So I skipped on the details, I'll try and do better next year, when there's no family dinner to worry about.
So, the trip. Pissed off just about everyone by going when I did, and it was a two day trial trying to get up to Abderdeen in a blizzard, and sore trials getting home, too (still have fever dreams about being trapped in an airport terminal) and there were many disappointments, great and small (Lewis Collins dying the week I finally saw Martin Shaw on stage, Ripper Street being cancelled the very night I met the cast, David Tennant signing every damn programme but mine, the bad weather that screamed in halfway through my Kensington walk, the food poisoning, my watch breaking, waiting over two hours in the snow for the bus in Aberdeen, the fun with trains and planes).
Highlights, then. Despite having a very, very limited budget, I still went a bit nuts with the shopping. Picked up a party frock in M&S just because I wanted to buy something in-store, and that was fun. Then, because I'd left my British purse at home (the wallet with all my notes and coins in it), I decided to buy a new one at Liberty, of all places, and, ye gods, the price, but I love it so. Also had to buy a new watch, also pricey, but I love it so, too. Can't believe my old watch carked it the day after I'd walked past the very (remote) store I'd bought it from (in Ballater). What, did it suddenly invalidate itself due to unexpected and overdue proximity?
Also, as I was in town on a Sunday, fer once, I marketed until I could market no more. Did the whole Brick Lane, Petticoat Lane, Spitalfields thang until I couldn't bear to see another stall with those bendy fork bracelets. Honestly didn't find much there, all cheap Chinese tat and dubious handicrafts, but at least I found the stall with the old annuals, but nothing there I didn't already have, ahem, though I bought a couple for cheap thrills, just to mark the fact that I found that bloody stall again.
F&M was a complete zoo, but I found not one but two Whittards of Chelesa shops, and I had fun rolling down Carnaby Street and Regent street, even while unwell. Ended up at the National Gallery, only intended a few galleries but I think I whipped around all of it. I was ripped on advil at the time so I enjoyed it far more than I usually do. Also bemusing was watching the tourists flee in the path of school groups, like wild animals fleeing volcanoes in a disaster film. Yes, quite.
The V&A. I went to see the 80s club exhibition, with, as advertised, actual costumes as worn by Adam Ant and Toyah. It was kind of cool to see up close fashions I'd previously only ever seen in magazines (and hard to get magazines, back then, too). At least now I know why I used to have brighly coloured plastic cowboys and indians safety pinned and stitched to the front of my denim jacket. How very Leigh Bowery of me. Oh yeah, amusing how several of the real movers and shakers were actually Australians. They'll never mention it in the catalogue, but it's true.
I promised myself just a quick visit to this or that, but it so was so quiet, bar the tea rooms and gift shop (as opposed to my last visit which was such a nightmare I actually fled) and so I wandered through the plaster courts, found my beloved biscuit tins (such whimsy), my favourite octopus Netsuke, and wandered happily through the British galleries. I now know what a moustache spoon looks like, along with every other implement those wacky Victorians came up with. Such a lovely day there. Didn't mean to spend nearly all day there, but I did.
Also took in the medical galleries at the science museum, to further my appreciation for Victorian equipment. Not that it matters now, but I looked, and crossed my legs (those gynaecological implements are far worse than anything I've seen from a torture chamber, especally the one that goes up and springs out, yikes). Oh yeah, also did the Old Operating Theatre, up those impossible stairs. More of the same, but I had stuff I needed to know, and I am now up on Liston knives.
Found out the meaning of black maria, saw the remains of Marshalsea prison, did the Ripper tour. You may see a theme here. All for nothing, but I was diligent until the axe fell.
Also popped into old Fred's front room, because I love it so. Did not notice the parrots (white cockatoos, very accurately) portrayed in the decor before, how could I have missed those? That front room can also be seen here:
So that was the high Victoriana portion of the tour, also taking in beardy chaps at the NPG and the Tate Britain, which was also lovely (and if this is the Lord Sydney after which this old town is named, I'm surprised we're so hostile, still, to gay rights, ahem).
The Tudors and War of The Roses were indulged in mainly at the NPG (they had a Tooder exhibition, and I went to pay homage to R3, since I've lately been indoctrinated into all things Ricardian) and a brisk walk round the Tower of London in a fog that was way cool (but later less so with the five hour+ delay at Heathrow). Didn't have the time or money to go inside the tower, but the walk around was mighty fine. I enjoyed it.
Theatre: far too much of it. I crammed in far too much, and I was definitely far too tired and cross for Richard II (though the door opening late, our tickets sending us to all the wrong doors leading to a mad scramble over the top of everyone, not being able to hear a damn word and pumping choking smoke into the audience that made everyone cough loudly, and throughout, and David, now completely possessed by the hair, flicking and flouncing across the stage like a mad Timotei-ing panto queen). Fortunately I'd also booked tickets to the screen version at home, which was much better. It was a trip for the Plan B (and C, and D, and...).
Mojo was intense, and that review was right in describing it as so star studded it was like one of those old 80s Agatha Christie telemovies. Almost distractingly so. Distracting also was the group of young Potter fans who squealed every time Mr Grint said something rude. Which was often. Ah, well.
Perfect Nonsense was a delight, a very silly, very funny and gimmicky version of a Wodehouse classic. I wasn't lying when I told young Macfadyen he was the definitive Gussie Fink-Nottle. His Jeeves was excellent, his Ms Bassett, well, gosh, but I loved his Gussy so much. Such a dear, especially when he must have been just told about Ripper Street. Good to know he's a nice man.
Highlight though was seeing Jude Law as Henry V. Not just because I'm a fan, or that my seat was excellent, but because he was just so damn good. He totally owned the stage, the material, the Burton-esque costume (saw the original in the V&A). He was waspish, brutal, ruthless, funny, matey, brave, afraid, everything right and as required. He had me from his first appearance to curtain call. Really, it was magnificent, he was something (and I was somewhat disappointed by his Hamlet), and he signed my programme afterwards. A true professional.
Lots of other tv detectives, seen and heard, but those were the highlights.
The less said about travelling to and from Aberdeenshire the better (an expensive, cold and sore trial, and I'd so wanted to catch the train, but no) but the family are fun, even though the usual day out meant driving past stone circles and iron age forts but visiting heating show rooms and Tesco. Ah, well. Well fed and made welcome. I was content.
There was a castle, with ghost stories, in the snow, wine, whisky and silliness.
And that's pretty much it. There was (in the BM) the 13ThC very art deco bross box with knobs and dials, that for all the world looked like an old radio, that was a Persian fortune telling machine (knobs and dials in a brass box that takes money from morons, what more could you want?), had to be, I think, the favourite objet d'art this time round.
Oh, I nearly forgot, the highlight. The other highlight. Found out, just in time, that Ultravox AND Simple Minds were playing at the O2 while I was there, so I swapped my play ticket to a matinee (Strangers on a Train), and raced off to see. Man, that was fun. The crowd were good natured (they bought me beer, just for being a mad Australian) and the boys played all he hits. From the moment Ultravox came on and ripped into Sleepwalk, I was in heaven. I danced myself into blisters, and didn't care. It was odd to hear Speed Your Love to Me without 'rage' being screamed over the top of it, and Midge can't quite hit the notes of Vienna any more, but oh, it was fine, mighty fine.
I even ended up in Covent Garden later. Did you know Boris Karloff, Charlie Chaplin and Noel Coward have plaques in St Pauls? I dipped my imaginary lid to the gentlemen, because, you know, respect.
So that was it, basically. Regretting now some of the stuff I didn't do (I had a whole list of things to see and do of a high Victorian persuasion but I ripped it up after Ripper Street was axed because I was just so heart broken, but now, of course, I regret denying myself, especially since several of the places I didn't go have popped up on tv to haunt me).
So telly, or what's left of telly. I watched the Doctor Who episode (eventually, when it screened here) and broke down completely into tiny little pieces when Matt Smith finally doffed the bow tie. Oh, Matt. How that boy quickly became one of my very favourite Doctors. He'd be numero uno if Troughton and Pertwee weren't gilded by cherished childhood memories, and if Matt wasn't let down by some seriously dud episodes. He was very much my kind of Doctor. I loved him. I'm going to miss him.
There have some Sleepy Hollow repeats (always a soft spot for Mison, but where the hell has he been keeping all this hidden?) and, well, Fred knows when we'll ever have Downton or Sherlock ever screened out here, but let's just say that's sorted (and it's not really piracy if you hypothetically smuggle the dvd home in your undergarments, just copyright breach, I think).
Went to Kiama for a day at the beach. Took the picnic basket, which was a lovely idea, but rather cumbersome, lugging it about on trains, buses, and Kiama. Actually saw the blowhole go off this time (yay) and found some nifty shops of a knick knack persuasion.
A grand day out, buy, oy, did I give myself sunburn - very shoddy with the slip, slop, slap. As a result I spent the rest of the week sunstroked, reeking of vinegar (found it as a home remedy for sunburn, not quite as effective as the tomato sauce on the brass, but it'll do, and no peeling yet). Also unwell with the usual (not yet crone-like, and quite awful), some sort of holiday malingering (really not just an excuse to lie about and whimper) and sulking (I will spare you the worst of my grizzles and I understand that Xmas is the season for stress and upset, but, really, how horrid).
Now back at work, where I started. Same old, same old. Older, creakier, not wiser.
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AN ANNIVERSARY PARTY FOR “DOCTOR WHO”
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Sherlock season 3 - Sherlock and Moriarty
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