Greg, Wyona and I went to Camden today, not for shopping, but for one last meal at the fast food fish and chip spot that overlooks the street where we think we see a slice of life of the real London we love. People walk by with their baby strollers, their hair spiked in spokes circumnavigating their head, their lugging their packages from shopping, and workers carrying their sandwich boards that advertize restaurants or body piercings.
We sat there making tributes to the times we have had in London with everyone at that restaurant, toasting those times with our soft drinks.
Bizet’s Pearl Fishers was on at the Coliseum tonight, so Wyona and I hopped the tube for Charing Cross to get in the line-up for concession tickets. We noticed at the door that one of the leads would not be doing his part tonight. An actor would be playing his part and a singer would be singing from the side of the stage. As well, the prima donna would not be there. But we are saying good-bye to London and didn’t need a perfect performance, but only a near perfect one.
And we did have a perfect second act.
On the way to the performance, Greg looked at our tickets and informed Wyona that the opera started at 6:30 pm and not at 7:30 pm, the timeline we were on. We arrived at the theatre doors just in time for the intermission, so we stood at the bar and watched the costuming of the theatre goers as they came out of the auditorium to enjoy their interval drinks.
“Oh, it looks like you got here for the second act,” said the theatre patrons to the left of my seat who had parked their purses and coats where I was to sit. “Do you know the bad news? The very bad news.”
“Yes, I heard about the substitutions for tonight’s performance,” I replied.
“Very bad news,” he said again.
How bad can the news be?”, I thought.
I looked at the box seats full of people eating their crustless cucumber sandwiches and drinking their wine.
Out of a niche near the top of the ceiling I looked at the 3 golden lions pulling a chariot and that seemed to be leaping through the wall and into the auditorium. The orchestra was warming up and I could hear the drum being tuned and an oboe doing scales going up and then coming down.
Greg and Wyona burst into laughter in the rotunda as he had opened a bottle of sparkling water for her. Sparkling means the liquid bubbles come out of the bottle as though a cork had been popped on champagne on every occasion that he opens one of those bottles for us. They were both wet.
The "bad news" of being at the opera wasn't feeling all that bad to me.
If you pay half price for your tickets, but you only see half of the opera, no loss.
We stopped at Waitrose for some fig boursin, some caprice de dieu, some gouda, some brie and ate in in Parisian style when we got home.
A lovely second to the last day in London.
To be really truthful, a few things have gone wrong. I took a picture of my new fushia hat, my camera sizzled, the flash did not go off and I could smell burning. Neither of the toilets work in the apartment. One is being fixed professionally, which in London means that it takes men from 3 or 4 unions to coordinate getting all of the parts and then doing the service on it. The other toilet needs a full time service agent to flush it 10 times between each use. So ... missing the first half of the opera doesn't seem like all that much going wrong.
Wyona says that we can dissolve our troubles by getting some money out of the bank and going to shop at Petticoat Lane tomorrow.