Saturday in London

I was really unpopular on Saturday morning, because I made everyone get up ridiculously early so we  could go and eat breakfast at Bill’s in Covent Garden before it got too rammed. In fact, so energetically did I chivvy my troops there were only two women and us in the entire restaurant, because we got there five minutes after it opened.

I love Bill’s. I have my friend Gina to thank for its discovery and I dream naughty, lascivious dreams about its truly spectacular vegetarian breakfast, which involves heaps of sour dough toast, and perfectly poached eggs, and mushrooms and cheese, and houmous and avocado and every good thing. Despite their grumbling at the earliness of the hour, it was agreed by all that breakfast was blooming lovely and well worth getting up for.

After breakfast we shot off to the National Theatre where we went on a tour. I’ve been twice before, but there is always something new to see, and on this day we got to go on both the Olivier and Lyttleton stages and wander amongst the scenery, which was extremely brilliant, and which I hadn’t done before. We also got to play with puppets and props and got to wear hard hats because there’s lots of building work going on. It was really good fun, and Jason enjoyed it despite himself.

We were going to the pop up cinema on the roof of the National in the afternoon to see London Assurance, but before that we had a bit of free time. Jason took Oscar and Tallulah foraging. They went and found a sand sculpting competition and some people doing parkour. They watched the guys at the skate park and nearly got swept into a free play being hosted by two crazy Germans who were on a human safari. 

Tilly and I went to the Hayward Gallery to see the human figure exhibition showing twenty five years of reinventing the human sculpture. It was rather eerie and we both agreed we wouldn’t like to spend the night there alone. It was fascinating though, and well worth a visit if that’s your kind of thing.

We reconvened for the pop up cinema experience. I am, as you know, a huge fan of nearly everything the National do, but I have to say I wasn’t entirely thrilled by this event. It cost £25 each for a ticket for a start and I don’t think it was worth the money given that you can go to an NTLive performance for £15. We did get a drink, some popcorn and a hot dog each, and to sit in a tent on the roof of the National. But. The seating was made of traditional deck chairs. They were uncomfortable and impossible for Oscar and Tallulah to see anything from. We put them on the blankets and cushions in front of the screen in the end. If that hadn’t been available it would have been a disaster. Jason was uncomfortable, as the wooden bar of the deck chair kept digging into his legs if he sat in such a way that he could see properly. We were on the back row, and it was really not great in terms of visibility. 

It was an experience, and it was quite fun, but I won’t be signing up again next year for it.

After that we went into the Royal Festival Hall to explore what they had going on. They always host a yearly summer festival on the South Bank. This year the theme was Love in all its forms. For some reason it was celebrated by a gigantic, all inclusive zumba class in the Clore ball room. The kids threw themselves into it with great gusto, and Jason and I sat happily by, looking after coats, providing drinks, and watching the world and his wife doing zumba. After that we hung around to hear a gospel choir for a while before heading off to the BFI restaurant for amazing burgers.

Oscar and Jason went home after this, but the girls and I stayed on as we had standing tickets to see Great Britain at the National. It was murder on the legs, but that was all there was, the girls really wanted to see it, and at a fiver each you can’t complain. They thoroughly enjoyed it, despite not getting home until nearly midnight and me practically having to carry Tallulah through the front door.


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