So Olivia and I are walking along the South Bank, the Thames on the left, Shakespeare’s Globe, the National Theatre and all the hoo-hah of that part of London on the right. Originally the plan was train to Waterloo, tube to Leicester Square, see if there were any half-price theatre tickets, Chinatown for Olivia’s taiyaki and then the London Eye and the Tower Of London before seeing a play. Well, although we did half of those things, the lovely chance meeting of Heyday producer Peter Walsh, his wife Kate, and stepbrother and wife Gary and Marisa – who live in Portugal – changed our plans somewhat.
I just can’t arrive at Waterloo Station without singing Waterloo Sunset, it didn’t really occur to me to sing Waterloo by ABBA despite seeing the posters for the ABBA show with avatars which does actually leave me intrigued, getting a ticket for that show is another issue, not just the cost but the availability. Who knew that avatars could capture a human’s attention so thoroughly? Tube to Leicester Square is easy from Waterloo and the ticket office is right there near the exit at the beginning of the square. The man behind the counter told us that half-price tickets were more likely Monday/Tuesday, not Friday night. We bought two tickets anyway for a play at the Gielgud Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue, not too bad price-wise.
From there to Chinatown for Olivia’s taiyaki and back on the train to Waterloo and the London Eye. It’s a slow-moving circle of pods that give you something of a view over London and the Thames. I did it years ago but Olivia hadn’t, she went to buy tickets and came out of the ticket office and said, “I’m not sure about the price – £53 fast track, £40 for the queue”. My mouth fell open and my jaw crashed to the ground, “Screw that”. We walked along the Thames for free.
We were on the way to the Tower Of London, a place neither of us had been, it was a bit of a long walk but it was along the river and there was lots going on, there must have been 100 school kids outside The Globe. We stopped for a quick coffee and carried on towards Tower Bridge and the legendary Tower. Time was flying by but we thought we could just make it for the last hour and before we went to see the play at 7 PM. Then it all changed.
We were walking along and a voice said, “Marty,” it was Peter Walsh. I recognised him immediately. “Pete,” wow, really? I hadn’t seen him in years. Pete of course produced Heyday at Studios 301 in Sydney in 1985. It was so cool to see him, meet his wife Kate and then stepbrother Gary and his wife Marisa who was Brazilian – they live near Lisbon. Then Olivia found out that Kate played the cello, so that was it. We were running late for the Tower anyway and Pete invited us to join them for…wait for it…cocktails at the Heron Tower. Unable to refuse we went with them. Pete told me he knew I was in London because he read it in my blog. “You read my blog?!” Apparently, he does, now and again. Great to see him and everyone and hopefully now we can keep in better touch after this chance meeting. The Heron bar was a trip, trendy Wendy and just empty enough before the city dudes arrives, we found a seat, Pete bought the pricey cocktails (Thanks, Pete) and we admired the view, we chatted till 6 PM before we had to leave for the play.
We had to get from Liverpool Street to Tottenham Court Road and took the new posh Elizabeth Line, just two stops and with some pace made our way to the Dean Street exit through long bright freshly-painted tunnels. We rushed through Soho and came to the theatre queue as it was starting to move. What were we going to see? Matthew Modine as Atticus Finch in Harper Lee‘s To Kill A Mocking Bird. It was great, London theatre is great. Back to Waterloo, back to Biggles and Colleen’s in New Malden and bed, the day completely wore me out, I was asleep before you could say New Gold Dream.