I was meeting my friend Kate there. Andrea couldn’t come, having booked herself up with an OU workshop she had to run. Tsk.
I woke up early, so decided to drive down while the traffic was still quiet. It was a nice, uneventful journey in which I listened to Alan Bennett’s diaries, and Nina Stibbe being interviewed on Saturday Live on Radio 4. It was bliss.
I parked at Brent Cross at the foot of the M1, walked to Brent Cross tube station, which is actually in Golder’s Green, and read my book for the entirety of the journey to Waterloo. More bliss.
Being early I decided to take a trip to Konditor & Cook, a delightful bakery tucked away in one of the streets between Waterloo and the South Bank. I have passed it many, many times on my wanderings, but until yesterday had never managed to find it open. This time though, oh my, it was very open, and very very stuffed with the most delicious cakes known to man. I was torn between a fudge packer brownie (which made me snigger a great deal), and a Curly Whirly brownie. In the end, swayed by the salted caramel sauce which was gently oozing over the top of the fudge brownie I went for that one, and a cappuccino to take away.
I made an excellent choice. I ate it sitting in the grounds of St John the Evangelist church, opposite Waterloo, watching a theatre company setting up for a free show that was happening later in the day. The sun shone, and my taste buds exploded, due to it being the best brownie I have ever had in my life.
After this short interlude I explored the church, which was sadly not as magnificent on the inside as its outside would have you believe. This was largely due to the fact that during the Blitz it was hit by a bomb which destroyed the roof and the interior of the church, so its rebuild was decidedly modern and not entirely to my taste.
I then wandered the highways and byways of Waterloo and the back of the South Bank, being nosey, earwigging on conversations, doing a little light browsing, getting delighted at absurd things and having a lovely time, before heading off to Wagamamas for pre theatre lunch with Kate.
The play was magnificent. McCrory stole the show, although it was a strong, ensemble piece and nobody let the side down. All the accolades for McCrory are well deserved and if she doesn’t win some kind of award for this role she will have been robbed. The modern rewrite, and utterly coherent staging made sense of some of the anomalies of the play which appear when a modern audience studies an ancient text, and it was ninety minutes of utterly gripping theatre.
There is an NTLive screening of Medea this week, on the 4th September. If you can get tickets you should go and see it. It is one of the best pieces of theatre I have seen in a long time.
One of the bonuses of seeing Medea yesterday was seeing Andrew Scott who plays Moriarty in Sherlock in the audience as we were leaving the play. How cool is that?
After the play we took a walk down the Thames Path as far as Tower Bridge, gawking and deviating and poking our noses into the Bankside Gallery exhibition, watching various drumming groups, who along with parkour performers and living statues make up a large proportion of what holds up the crowds by the river.
We wandered across Tower Bridge to see the poppies at the Tower of London. For those of you who don’t know, this is an art installation which is made of ceramic poppies on metal stems which are being planted in the moat of the Tower, one for each of the active servicemen who lost their lives in the First World War. By the time Armistice Day rolls around in November, the number of poppies planted will reach over 888,000 flowers. It is quite a sight.
It was getting crowded at the Tower, so we set off into the city, which is pretty deserted at weekends, thus making it an awesome place for a quiet wander, as long as you don’t want to buy anything (most of the shops are shut). We explored Aldgate and a wooden structure called Paleys upon Pilers which has been built to remember Chaucer, who lived there. The structure is meant to represent two of his works that he wrote whilst living there. I have read them both and looking at the structure it looked more like an unfinished barn than a paean to great literature to me, but it was interesting to look at nonetheless, and livened up what would otherwise have been a fairly dreary traffic island.
We looked at the remains of the Roman walls of the city. We poked about the edges of the Bevis Marks synagogue (the oldest, working synagogue in Britain), and accidentally wandered into the site of one of the Jack the Ripper murders (Mitre street). You’re never very far from amazing history in London.