Monday, I went first to the Churchill War Rooms, which were even better than the rave recommendations I had received. I especially enjoyed the videos of people who had worked in the War Rooms during WWII relating their experiences. Then I went to the Tate Britain and was blown away by the Turners there – I had no idea what wonderful works he produced in his later years. From there I made my way to Trafalgar Square (where I was pleasantly surprised at the dearth of pigeons) on my way to the theatre. By the time the show was over, the tube strike was in full swing, but a crowded bus ride in the rain got me back to my hotel.
Tuesday. With the tube strike on, and no matinee to see, it is the perfect day for my trip to Bletchley Park. It’s a 20 minute walk or so to Euston Station, but there is no alternative. And not such an easy walk, since there are hundreds and hundreds of Londoners walking from the station, I am like a salmon swimming upstream. It was a perfect day, warm and partly sunny, to visit Bletchley. I arrived just as the next tour was starting. Our guide was most interesting, explained clearly some pretty complicated stuff, and told us fascinating stories in a very affable manner for two hours while he walked us around the various buildings. Then I had lots of time for lunch in the cafeteria, and visits to the exhibits and museums on the grounds. It was a perfect choice for a day trip, especially after my visit to the War Rooms the previous day. No lack of seats on the train back to London but Euston Station was packed, as were the streets all around. I got on a bus which moved about 100 meters in half an hour. Tired as I was, I finally walked the rest of the way back to the hotel for a short rest before the theatre.
Wednesday. There’s not much time for sightseeing when you are seeing 2 plays a day, but you have to try. I had passed the Royal Academy of Arts a couple of days earlier and seen the huge sign for “Sargent and The Sea.” No disappointment there, some splendid works, and a side of Sargent rarely seen. I thought I would still have an hour to visit the National Gallery before my matinee, but there was Fortnum & Mason right across the street, so…… All I can say is the toilets are adequate and the ice cream is very good . . . and pricey.
Thursday morning I walked around central London and took photos. . . Horse Guard, Buckingham Palace, Westminister, the usual. Time for lunch so I made my way to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese at 145 Fleet Street. It dates back to the 1600’s and has tons of atmosphere. You go through one small room after another as you descend to the lowest, where there is a bar and kitchen. Lovely lunch, excellent cider. Then, can you guess. . . yes, another matinee. No theatre this evening, it’s Pub Nite with the TALF, but there is time for a visit to the National Gallery. So much fun meeting everyone at The Lamb (once the locals got their discussions of sports and tube trains/stations out of their system). And more good cider.