Nov 3. At the intervals of plays, young theatre employees come into the audience with trays of ice cream to sell and audience members traipse down the aisles to purchase a treat. Not me though because I’m allergic!!! Such a party pooper. This evening the young blond woman near me is yelling “Ice cream available to buy here!” and I am tempted as it is warm in here and the aisian women in front of me are sharing a lite tub of choco icecream that looks lovely. They eat it with a little plastic paddle. In other news, there are two asian ladies sitting in front of me at this performance, which means I can see over their heads to the stage. I am grateful for this.

It has been nearly twenty years since I last watched Phantom. (I realized this with a pang of horror before the performance began.) I have changed a lot since then. For example, Mr. Phantom makes me a little uncomfortable with his domination and power over Christine. Contol freak asshole. Get back in your hole. I did not think this way when I was 13. I just thought he was cool and romantic. I was thinkig that maybe I’d switch theatres at intermission and go to the end of the ballet for which I have an unused ticket. My secret adoration of melodrama and a cool riff shall keep me here, however.

Nov 3. I’m stuck at Victoria Station due to the strike on the Underground. Not really stuck, just waiting for bus transport. I did the Victoria and Albert today. My feet were sore so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I could. Also, the part with the old clothes was shut to the public so I didn’t get to see what I wanted. Grumpy day in London!

I’ve got a ticket to Phantom tonight (walking distance from my hotel) which I’ll go to instead of the ballet. Not really a hard choise to make since I’ve done the ballet ready and I want to see Phantom (again).

Nov 2. I’m watching Bill Bailey live on the stage tonight. Aside from a few purely England jokes I just didn’t understand, he is very funny.

The is another strike going on by the workers of the Underground. (if anyone can help me write that last sentance in a more pleasing way, please let me know). In preparation for this, tonight’s show is within walking distance of my house.

Bill Bailey didn’t like the randomness of the questions coming from the crowd so we got a lecture on proper heckling.

I’m in the sixth row here, very close. Bill Bailey’s head is very large.

Nov. 1. I juat wandered past Buckingham Palace. Only it was dark so I might go back. The queen is “in” though- her flag was up. Now waiting for Billy Elliot to start. Once again I’m really high up. Add this to the Royal Opera venue and the London eye this afternoon and this has been one horrifying trip.

Intermission. I’ve already cried twice- because it’s sad, of course. But also some tears of wonder at the incredible kids they have to find to play Billy. He has to carry a lot. So great.

Tate Modern. I like it here. Note: to navigate to the Tate off the subway, just follow the group of peope who stop at the
map at the nearest intersection who point at the Tate. Then there are also orange poles with the word “Tate” and arrows painted on them.

Oct 31, 2010 National Gallery, London. Lots of paintings here. Struck by my usual faves, Van Gogh and Leonardo. Everyome here is struck by them too as there are large crowds in front of all of these.

I thought I was done but I’d missed a whole wing full of works from 1200 to 1500 which is an era I rather like, fashion-wise at least. For the most part it’s all Mary and Jesus and saints but I like their clothes. Van Eyke was stuck in there, too. And I almost missed it all. The only reason I found out this section is there was because I went into the gift shop at the supposed end of my visit and was looking at tbe postcards. “I didn’t know that was here!” I said to myself, looking at a card depicting a woman in a wimple. I think I’ve seen everything I need to now.

Later: National Portrait Gallery. I like it here for the following reasons:
a) not as crowded as National Gallery
b) little contextual blurbs next to each work
c) Jane Austen portrait. She doesn’t look very impressed.

Unng. I guess I’m in the west end on a Saturday night. No, Covent Garden. It’s kinda awful all these people and fancy restaurants and pubs all full of people and serving nothing I want. I went in one place that looked good but it was waaay too hot.

So I’m at a place where the proprietor came out to advertise the free starter when getting a main. Almost completely empty, no crowd outside. I had chicken and chips. I’m findimg meat and chips, of all the English food on offer, works well for me. What I’d like is some rice with vegetables. Sushi.

After supper– I’m hanging out at the royal opera house now. If my seat is too precarious I might just leave. Thus the flexibility of the cheap ticket. I’m not the scuzziest-dressed here, which makes me glad. I wasn’t worried but I wasn’t sure. As usual, once I get to the theare everything is comfortable.

Moments later. No longer comfortable. Seat is really really high. I can see 1/3 of the stage – more if I lean over the railing. But I’m not going to lean over the railing!!!! OK I just checked. I’m here again Wednesday and where I am in the Upper Slips tonight, on Wed I am in the Lower Slips so not so high.

Edit: third intermission. I spent the last 52 minutes draped over the rail in front of me, trying to see more. There have been many big jumps. I was thinking of leaving now due to the late hour and me being sleepy, but the last ballet is a Balanchine so I better check it out. Also there are more tutus in this one. I like tutus.

I’m at the train station in Bath. It’s been school half-term this week so there have been roaming groups of youths wherever I go. Also parents and kids arguing. Special times.

There are many really old buildings in Bath and if they aren’t actually old, they’ve been made to look old, such as the monstrosity of a shopping centre across from the train station. It’s been given angled streets like the old parts of town, and charming names like ‘new merchant st’ but it’s pure cement.

One thing I like about England so far is that toast just arrives dry. There are little pads or containers of butter at the table to be used at your own discretion, or, in my case, not at all. I also like that my breakfast is included with the cost of accomodation. I also like that it is the Full English breakfast that is served. Back home I call this “Dad’s Breakfast”– bacon and eggs with toast. Sometimes with sausage. Here it also comes with fried half-a-tomato and mushrooms. I approach the tomato with caution. I ignore the mushrooms.

Itinerery update. I travelled to Winchester via Paddingtom Station instead of Waterloo, taking me through Reading. This isn’t the normal route, but is possible. It’s quicker to go through Waterloo, but the Heathrow Express from the airport goes to Paddington. So there. And I took the Heathrow Ex instead of the tube as planned because I was tired and the Heathrow Ex is easy.

Today if I planned better I might have seen Stonehenge but I missed all tours leaving Bath due to being at the fashion museum. As it is, I’m not especially bothered: ancient rocks vs. Diana’s dresses. It’s a hard decision.

Now I’ve found a vegan/veggie restaurant at which to eat and am waiting for dessert to arrive. There is dessert I can eat and so I am having some. That’s right.

Tomorrow I’ll breakfast in Bath and then wait around a while for the off-peak time arrives for taking the train, and then back to London.

I started my trip by re-reading my pretty pink version of Jane Austen’s bio. Good.

I’ve beem awake now, save for the half-dozen naps-that-don’t-count on the plane, for way too long. Will sleep well, I hope. There’s nothing like being too tired to keep me up.