Jennie and I arrived in a hot, sunny London in the early afternoon on Friday. We had travelled on a punctual Great Western train. Great Western has sometimes had bad publicity but I have never had any complaints about it on my (admittedly infrequent) visits.

Jennie had booked us into The Grange, Holborn. A friendly, comfortable hotel and we had a lovely quiet room. It had everything we needed for a happy stay and the staff were friendly and helpful. We decided to dine there and enjoyed a splendid meal, served admirably by Piroska and Petko who were both from Romania.

Jennie had booked the theatre tickets as soon as they went on sale so we had excellent seats. I had never been to Wyndham’s theatre before and was impressed by the work on the restoration of this delightful small theatre. They have kept the essence of the original theatre and you feel almost as though you step back a century, as you climb the narrow staircase rather than the  sweeping staircase of modern theatres.

I had had high expectations for “Much Ado About Nothing”, but it far exceeded anything I had imagined. I knew that it was a comedy, but this is the first time I have been so engrossed and laughed so much at any Shakespearean comedy. You completely forgot that it had been written so long ago, even with the Shakespearean language.

The whole cast and direction was brilliant, but David Tennant and Catherine Tate were superb. They interacted so well together that you almost felt as though you were eavesdropping on their conversations!

We came out of the theatre full of the “feel good” factor. It seemed too tame to go back to the hotel on the tube, so we treated ourselves to a rickshaw ride. Another first for us!

The young man pedalled away like mad and delivered us safely back to The Grange.

We had decided that we would go to Westminster after breakfast and, depending on the weather, either go on a river cruise or into Westminster Abbey. It was grey and drizzly when we checked out of the hotel but, in the optimistic hopes that it would improve, we set off for Westminster. Alas, our optimism was dashed when we stepped out of the tube to a downpour. We abandoned the river trip and made for the Abbey. We were already drenched by the time we arrived at the very long queues for the Abbey. I think everyone and his brother had had the same idea and we couldn’t face the thoughts of standing in the pouring rain so we went into St Margaret’s Chapel. I have never been in there before so it was fascinating looking around this beautiful little church and reading the plaques and displays. I knew that it was the parish church for Parliament and had heard of several prominent politicians being married there, but hadn’t realised that one such wedding was that of Sir Winston Churchill. I suppose I had always imagined he would have been married  in a much grander location. Another point of historical interest was that Sir Walter Raleigh’s body was buried under the chancel after his execution.

We decided that anywhere under cover would probably be too crowded so made our way back to Paddington where we could relax until the train was due.

When we went to get the train we had a sudden impulse to upgrade our tickets to first class, so we had a very comfortable journey back, complete with complimentary refreshments. The perfect ending to a lovely birthday treat. Thank you Jennie. 🙂

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