Good-bye London, until we meet again…

May 22, 2008

My feet found the train station for the final time in Chelmsford, England. The lady on the speaker phone has become like a distant friend, her voice ever so familiar: The next train to depart from platform one is the 0927 to London Liverpool Street. I had just begun a new book “The Five People You Meet In Heaven”, but still chose to people watch from time to time. I had no plan. No real agenda for the day. I am finding that works quite well – then I am not disappointed and much less stressed! I booked my ticket for the evening show of Lord of the Rings. The best seat I’ve had yet.
The sun was shining in Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square and even at Buckingham Palace where I happened upon right when the marching band arrived from St. James Palace – their daily route. There was a great sandwich place down Buckingham Palace Road, so I found it again and ordered a Chicken Escalope Panini. I need the recipe! Happy sigh.
A double decker bus, bottled water and another man asking for pence later – I found myself at Oxford Street – leading to Hyde Park. Acres of lush, afternoon joggers, and lovers relaxing in the shade of the green – Hyde Park is one of my favorite spots. The parks are really the only place in London you can escape London. The smells. The business. You’re forced to stop and sigh. Happy sigh again.
Since the day was so beautiful, I didn’t want to hide inside. I made my way across the river Thames to southbank, drawn by musicians and artists trying to make a living by their talent. Or trying to make a living anyway! After a nail through the nose, Charlie Chaplin look-a-like and a great acoustic guitar player – oh and chatting about the big game that night with Manchester vs. Chelsea with a local – I was completely satisfied with what London had delivered that day. And still had my show to go to!
Lord of the Rings. Good choice Lani. Drury Lane. Close to Covent Garden – the theatre that now stands, after centuries of rebuilds, has been there since 1812. Georgian. Gold leaf and crystal chandalier. You enter the auditorium and the stage and box seats are covered in tree arms and wooded out like you are in the forest. Nice affect. Before 7:30 comes, you enter the land of the Shire, while hobbits prance around the main floor eating apples and trying to catch fireflies. Brilliant. The ensemble of hobbits does a shire dance – much like an irish jig really – and the play begins. I think part of me is a hobbit – loves to eat and dance! Ha ha. The show was a stage and costume spectacular sight. You really felt like you were in the shire, then in the land of the elves and then at Moridor. In the final act it seemed as though the play had ended with the house lights up and a hush over the crowd. We didn’t know weather to stand or clap or sit. But before you knew it, out from the sides appeared orcs! Screams and shouts and drool from the orcs trying to get a rise out of the audience were everywhere! I kept telling myself, don’t look straight at them and they’ll do you no harm! My seat was right where the entered so I was thankful. Had I had a date, I’d have been clinging! Nice touch again. Frodo, Pippin and Gollum were all in the original cast of LOTR in Toronto. So they’ve essentially created the stage characters they played last night. Happy sigh.
The train ride home was accompanied by three young women who’d had much to much to drink and found everything a roaring hoot. I just closed my eyes and thought, this was my last train ride home.
London again, never failed to delight. I will return again, one day.

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  • Ricki May 29, 2008 at 2:00 AM

    Oh Lani… you captured Lord of the Rings perfectly!!! I saw it twice when I lived in Toronto and actually took all of my friends to it the day after my wedding. What an amazing show hey?? It had horrible reviews in Toronto and left for London pretty quickly unfortunately. So I am so glad to hear that it is still there in London!

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