(sort of continued from my last post)

DAY 7
LONDON

On my last day in London, I spent the afternoon wandering around Greenwich, an area I’d never been to before, despite having heard that you sometimes spot foxes there.  I didn’t see a fox.

It was market day, so I wandered around the stalls, ate an Ethiopian lunch and watched people.  Then I spent far too long trying to decide what to bring home from Lush Designs, a tiny shop full of amazing lampshades, cushions, and clocks.  I ended up with more tea towels than a wandered should rightly own.  But they pack light, right?  If it weren’t for a flight back to Canada, and the fact I have no house to put it in, I would have also bought this amazing lampshade:

Lampshade from Lush Designs

It was sunny, lovely, calm and bright.  A beautiful day to meet a friend for tea, go to the candy shop, and visit the university grounds.

Listening to someone practice piano while watching someone read outside the music building in Greenwich

A beautiful day to get lost, and I proceeded to get lost. Greenwich station had somehow disappeared. I never did find it, but somehow ended up at Deptford Bridge station. If you can figure out how I missed Greenwich station, please let me know.  You may refer to this map.

I got back to central London in time to get terribly lost there looking for the Young Vic without a map (luckily I had some foresight and had bought a weekly tube pass, so I could guiltlessly- though a bit humiliated- hop on the tube to go one stop and find my way from somewhere I knew).

Those extra-long escalators in the tube stations?  Have you ever wondered what would happen if you fell down them?  I have, many times.  And it happened.  Not to me, but right near me.  What happens is this: there’s a scream.  Everybody gasps.  There’s frantic “shut it off! shut it off!” yelping.  And then a woman gets up, smooths her dress, and, red-faced but totally (outwardly) fine, rushes past the “are you all right?” questions and onto the platform saying “that was quite a shock, wasn’t it?”

I fell down the Guy-Concordia escalators 4 Montreal winters ago.  I still have a dent.  I won’t say where.

But back to London.  I finally found the Young Vic.  I just had to follow the cool vibes and Michael Sheen’s face like bread crumbs.

If you've got Michael Sheen, use him

The Young Vic is a very very cool theatre

In the middle of writing this post, I Googled a bunch of review of this Hamlet, just to make sure my opinions were right and that all the critics agreed that this play absolutely rocked.  But, um, looks like that wasn’t the consensus.  What kind of critic says Michael Sheen’s Hamlet is “too Blair-like?”  Boo to them.

Michael Sheen in Hamlet. Photo credit: Simon Annand

I thought it was the best ever.  First off, I got a ticket upgrade (thanks, Graeme and Sharon!), and I was sitting next to this guy.

I heard things I’ve never heard in the play before.  It was fresh and weird and modern and absolutely entrancing.  And I’m sure it wasn’t just the pre-show wine or freaky way we had to enter the auditorium by going through the maze-like backstage/mental institution.  For a better description of the whole experience, read this.  The 3.5 hours flew by.

Ok, fine.  I didn’t love that Horatio was played by a woman, no matter how good or inspiring an actor/director she may be, and not by Nicholas Farrell.  He should always be played by Nicholas Farrell.  Always.  Eileen Walsh can play Rosencrantz whenever she likes, though.

I ended the night at a smashing pumpkin party (the party was smashing, the theme was pumpkins) and a midnight snack of egg and bacon sandwiches and gin and tonics.

Photo by Hannah. Sandwich by Andy.

I left before the sun rose to catch the bus to London Bridge and the train to the airport. David Nicholls’ One Day turned out to be the perfect book to read on the cramped plane back from London.

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