The last British weekend

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November 17th 2008
Published: November 18th 2008
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Our last weekend in England…gone…just like that.
Yeah, technically we still have two more weekends over here, but next weekend we'll be in Paris and the weekend after that we'll be in Holland!!!!

So, what did we do…
On Thursday night we went to see the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra play ‘Best of Broadway’. Because of the train’s efficiency, and my high heels and the queue to purchase tickets, we managed to miss the train by 30 seconds - so we had to catch the one 15 minutes later, but managed to only miss the first song in the concert.
We had quite good seats (since we got a 2 for 1 deal, we splashed out a bit), and we were in this little booth where there was just 4 of us - quite cool.
The concert was great - a big orchestra and 4 singers, either taking turns singing, or singing all together or not at all for a few songs. They had songs from Hairspray, Billy Elliot, Les Miserables, The Sound of Music, The Phantom of the Opera, and heaps more. At the end of the show they played a whole lot from Mamma Mia, which are basically just
Daniel at the concertDaniel at the concertDaniel at the concert

...see Steve - he's still the same old Daniel
Abba songs. It was really cool, with a giant disco ball going round and everyone grooving - even the old people!
It was a really fun night, which even Daniel enjoyed! Some of his friends (Steve) are worried that I might be un-Man-ing Daniel, so I’ll make the most of dragging him to all these things while we’re here, ‘cause when we’re back home I’m sure his friends will ensure he is always too busy doing Man-ly things to come to anything like this back home!

On Saturday we headed into London and looked around the markets at Covent Garden. There were people everywhere! It was a craft market, but it wasn’t really that good - probably because they didn’t have any do-it-yourself stuff, just things already made.
After looking through the market we went to the NZ Shop - to stock up on some good old-kiwi food for our work shouts. It’s amazing how much of the stuff you don’t even realise is Kiwi food until you see it there - and then you’re like - yum, I want that! However at prices exceeding £3.50 just for a packet of toffee pops - that wasn’t going to happen!
The NZ ShopThe NZ ShopThe NZ Shop

...yeah, the big sign says Australia Shop bu we'll forgive them since they stock jaffas, pineapple lumps, toffee-pops, squiggle-tops etc

We went out for lunch across the way at the Porterhouse. Really cool place with copper brewery pipe-work everywhere and yummy food. However after waiting for ½ hour for our food, when the place wasn’t even that busy, I went and found a waiter to ask them how long this was going to take. Our order had been ‘mixed-up’ so we eventually got it ¾ hour after ordering - and we didn’t even get any complimentary drinks or anything - so I’m not recommending them to anyone!
After lunch, on our way to the theatre, we managed to stumble across Chinatown. So we walked through it, saw the huge sacks of rice, and all the dead cooked birds and bits of meat in the windows, and carried on.
We went to see Les Miserable’s. What a fantastic show! The best one we’ve been to yet. The show was chocka - even though it was an afternoon show. And it ran for almost 3 hours, in which the orchestra played for most of the time (except obviously, the part-time break) - very impressive. The story-line was good and very fast moving, and the singing was superb. Overall a great show that
Some of the beer in the PorterhouseSome of the beer in the PorterhouseSome of the beer in the Porterhouse

All of the walls are covered in different kinds of beer bottles.
I would thoroughly recommend to anyone!
So now both Daniel and I have fulfilled our childhood longings - Daniel to Legoland, and me to Les Miserable’s (guess who’s the daughter of a former musical actor!)
After the show we went in search for Christmas in London. We went down Regents Street, which besides having so many people that you literally are carried in a sea of people, has fairy lights hung up as stars all down the street. They looked a bit like giant spider-webs if you ask me! Anyway, we managed to break-free from the crowds and breathe again, and walk a bit further down the street. There was only one real Christmas shop with decorations in the windows including giant Barbie dolls rotating in the windows. The shop also had fake snow coming down from the roof-top. We would have gone in, but the thought of being swallowed up into a sea of people again didn’t really appeal to us. So we got the undergrounds to Trafalgar square where the big Christmas tree (as in over 20 metres high) is given to the people every year from the Norwegians in gratitude for Britain support during World War II. We got out of the crowed underground, stepped into Trafalgar square, looked around…and around…and around…and my childish-grin faded - there was no Christmas tree! Now that I’m back in the office (using my large amount of spare time) I have researched and found out that the tree lighting ceremony is the 4th December - yip, the day we leave!!!! Hopefully I can still see it during the day before we have to go to the airport.

On Sunday we had a lazy morning and eventually got the train to Portsmouth Harbour at lunchtime. The harbour has a few old ships which you can pay to have a look around. We decided to see the Mary Rose wreck - the only surviving 16th century warship on display in the world. While we expected great things - we found half a ship being sprayed with water and wax that we could just make out through dirty windows in a glass viewing platform. What was even more unbelievable is that they are spraying this wax substance onto it for 15 years!!!!! They got the ship out of the sea in 1982, and they started spraying this wax on her in 1994. In 2009 they will stop spraying it and then spend 2 years slowly drying it out after which it will finally be put on display properly. So, after peering though the frosty windows at the half-boat, we made our way to the museum which houses a lot of different articles which they have found, and continue to find, from the ship. There were clothes, arrows, cannons, massive cannons, and even bigger cannons. Batgammon boards, pewter dishes, combs, shoes, cannon balls, carpenter tools and lots more. They also had these people dressed up in old style clothes who told you about various displays - and you could hold some of the things they had found such as a 9 pound cannon-ball, an arrow, rope etc.
After the museum we thought we would look around the area. I managed to spot a Cadbury outlet store, so bee lined towards that. That’s when Daniel told me, “oh yeah, that’s right, there’s a whole lot of outlet shops here”. WHAT! If he’d told me that earlier I would have been on the 9am train!!!! I now had only 20 minutes to hit the shops! The Cadbury store got hit hard - how can you resist
Christmas lights down Regent StChristmas lights down Regent StChristmas lights down Regent St

...see all the crowds of people down the bottom of the photo - madness!
two packs of chocolate fingers for only £2! And they had dark and white fingers - so now Daniel and I have our own packs and can’t blame each other for eating all the chocolate!
I also managed to visit several clothes shops, which Daniel managed to take photos of me heading into all of them - but don’t be fooled - I only looked around and headed straight out again - all within 2 or 3 minutes. I did however pick up some bargain sneakers - Gortex - so they should keep this horrible English rain out, unlike my other shoes.

Now I’m back at work - obviously very busy! I even managed to make it through an entire day without doing a scrap of work on Friday - looks like I might be doing the same again today!
I was making a Christmas card for my work colleagues (only fair since I’ve made all my other ones here), and the guy sitting next to me thought that a kiwi was a penguin!!!! I think I better start making some Kiwi 101 posters before I leave - try and teach these POMs! I mean - they call lunch,
More Christmas Street LightsMore Christmas Street LightsMore Christmas Street Lights

...with more crowds. The ones across the street are for the Christmas shop.
dinner, and cordial, squash and lollies, sweets, and kiwifruit, kiwis - it’s just not right!

Ps - it’s now Tuesday night and I had my first real day of work in almost 3 months!!! I was so excited! I even got to go out of the office for the audit! And it’s a great big castle where you get served a three course meal for lunch! Excellent experience!

Additional photos below
Photos: 17, Displayed: 17


The Mary-Rose WreckThe Mary-Rose Wreck
The Mary-Rose Wreck

...this is the best shot we could get through the glass.
Some of the big cannonsSome of the big cannons
Some of the big cannons

recovered from the Mary-Rose
The Cadbury ShopThe Cadbury Shop
The Cadbury Shop

...see the massive packet of chocolate fingers you could buy - yum!
I found a Christmas treeI found a Christmas tree
I found a Christmas tree Portsmouth Harbour
The Spinniker TowerThe Spinniker Tower
The Spinniker Tower

...a viewing platform over Portsmouth Harbour

18th November 2008

Regent Street lights
Love the pictures! I was in that crowd somewhere at the Regent Street lights switch on.

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