We woke up and headed to breakfast, nearly slipping to our deaths on the pavement (sidewalk to US readers) which had iced over in the middle of the night. All the puddles from the 3am showers had frozen solid. Many cars had frosted windscreens, bonnets, and boots, and a few coming in even had snow on the roofs. It was actually quite nice to see. After breakfast, we stopped at the ATM because I ran out of pounds, and not everyone here takes credit cards.
We were off to the Science Museum, arriving a few moments before it opened. After about three minutes standing in the windy but sunny queue, they let us in. I was afraid Karen wouldn’t like this, but she really did and we ended up spending nearly three hours there (and this was skipping floors 4 and 5 which are the gruesome and grisly medical exhibits). The only reason this museum was on the list was she wanted to see the F1 (Formula One) exhibit. I love this museum but it’s not something that’s for everyone. They have great galleries on space, time, computing, metallurgy, energy, and so on. They allow photographs in most of it, too. Lovely!
We were fortunate to miss the crowds from the parade. London’s famous New Year’s parade has nearly a half-million watching and 100 million watching on television.
After that we took the tube to Westminster for the Movieum (Movie Museum) which was formerly the London Film Museum. This museum located right next to the London Eye is a tourist trap, but even so it’s quite enjoyable. They are devoted to the film industry as well as some stage bits with a heavier emphasis on English actors and films, but not exclusively so. If you recollect a few years ago, I had taken my kid sister here because she wanted to see a specific exhibit and we ended up really enjoying it. That Star Wars exhibit is now gone, and replaced with some Sherlock Holmes stuff. After two hours we left, cutting down the back behind the eye, the National, and across the bridge into Charing Cross and then took the tube from Embankment back, with a stop at Tesco for some Walker’s ready salted crisps, which Karen has taken a liking too. She’s had twelve bags so far.
We left for dinner at Rules, one of my favourite restaurants ever. I’ve been there over a dozen times since I first came to the UK in the mid 1990s. Of all my visits to Rules, this visit afforded me the best meal of the lot. I don’t know anyone who’s ever had a bad meal at Rules — though some people may have ordered something they didn’t like as an item. A number of my friends who have eaten there have counted it among the best meals they’ve ever had. Definitely in my top five, maybe top three. This one was fantastic.
We walked to the Theatre Royal Drury Lane to see Oliver, our show for this evening. I wasn’t predisposed to like it because I’m not a fan of the movie, nor do I care for most of the songs, though I do have a soft spot for “Consider Yourself”. The acting was splendid with the star-studded cast. The best of the lot was the Artful Dodger, which surprised me as I am not a fan of child actors. Stole the show. Fagin — Griff Rhys Jones — was a riot and threw some modern asides which I liked, and broke the fourth wall, which I didn’t. I would recommend the production.
We walked down Aldwych towards Embankment tube and had to dodge a nutter who was swearing, spitting, and kicking a backpack down the street. We moved as fast as Karen could move. We popped the tube and were back at the hotel just before 11pm local time. I’ve got a clarification on yesterday’s comments on Les Misérables. Les Mis was my favourite play ever until I saw Billy Elliot. Les Mis is still my second favourite play of all time. Phantom may be in third, but it’s a distant third. Whilst Phantom has great songs and a timeless message, it doesn’t move you nearly as much as a properly done Les Mis can. My opinions, of course.
Over here ITV, Sky, and BBC are all running decade-end shows. They’re all discussing various world events over the decade. They all are totally trashing the departing Mr Bush, saying Mr Obama is a welcome change. “One of the most reviled” is a phrase heard.
The weather was cold today, high 36 and low in the 20s so far and falling with snow expected in the next few hours. I’ll take pictures if it’s around when I wake. We have no theatre scheduled for tomorrow as the evening is “packing” since we now have to bail extra early due to pointless added security. Why do I say pointless? Because, according to wire reports, the extra security they’ve selected doesn’t work nor would it have caught the erstwhile bomber of NWA’s Xmas Day flight. TSA still is too busy worrying about making you feel safer than actually making you safer. I support the TSA’s stated goals, but they’re not going about it right. Seriously.