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2023 - August - That big ole London

It had seemed a good idea at the time.

We all have them and then when it comes to the execution problems can hit us in the face – whereas if only we had given it more thought.

Old Vladimir P obviously thought it was a good idea to take back Ukraine but soon hit problems. Mind you that was never a good idea in the first place.

Jason O thought it would be fine to leave Take That but who is he now?

Alex P thought he was bigger and better than the Canaries but he has ended up struggling to get a game at Sunderland.

There are daily examples I can quote. We are have just had another one ourselves.

When I had my stomach issues in June (currently fine – thank you for asking – but the Consultant has now requested more tests to try to get to the bottom of it), we had to cancel our trips to London and Copenhagen. When rebooking we decided to get the early morning flight rather than an afternoon one to get more time in Denmark. We still planned to go to London the day before and see the evening performance of Groundhog Day at the Old Vic. What we didn’t think through properly was that it would be almost midnight before we got to the Hotel at Stansted and then we would be have to be up at 4am to catch the 6.50am flight.

The penny kind of dropped the weekend before we left and made Karen grumpy at even the prospect of it. Of course, it was my fault with lots of unfair accusations being made, even though she had rebooked the tickets herself whilst I was poorly. Unhappy wife – Unhappy Karl.

It had only been 10 days since our last trip to Yorkshire and every day we seemed to have had a full calendar. What didn’t help was Anglia Water informing us we had a small leak somewhere in the house. I spent ages trying to find it and drew a blank. I then called out our sprightly 79-year-old plumber who after several hours also could not locate it. It has wasted hours of my time and money and now I am awaiting a visit from the Anglian Water Leak team.

I had also the results from the MRI Scan on my right knee confirming a complex tear of the meniscus ligament and a normal tear of the anterior cartilage. Neither will heal on their own and need surgery. I am trying to get it scheduled in with the Consultant and already know that I will be on crutches for a period afterwards. In the meantime, I am advised to wear a knee brace with metal hinges to try and prevent making it any worse. This is cumbersome and uncomfortable to wear.

When the knee brace arrived, I tried it on and found I could not walk up any stairs. This really surprised me until it dawned on me that the hinges had been fitted on backwards preventing any movement at all. It took a while but I managed to switch them around.

And so, after an exciting day trip to see the Canaries draw 4-4 away at Southampton, I found myself back on the A11 two days later just loving the roadworks driving down to park at Epping before hopping on the Central Line for a day out in London.

Karen had decided she wanted to see the Crown Jewels as although we had been into the Tower of London before she had never seen the Jewels. We assumed that it had cost more to do so in the past at a time when money was far tighter for us.

The earliest entrance ticket I could book was 2.30pm, yet by 11.30am we were at Tower Hill. We walked back to Fenchurch Street to the nearest Café Nero to use our vouchers and eat our M&S lunch we bought on the way. By 12.45pm we were back at the Tower I decided we should try and blag our way in early and we did so without being questioned.

Karen eagerly took us towards a large crowd where we joined a tour by one of the Beefeaters. It was very interesting. I was however struggling with the walking and even worse the standing still. This took away some of the pleasure of hearing the stories.

The weather then started to look ominous and so we joined a long but slowly moving queue to see the Crown Jewels. I guess I was impressed but I am still not convinced that they are not replicas that are on display. Some of the jewels looked distinctly plastic to me. I wanted them to be protected by laser beams but the security all seemed too low key to me.

I reckon with a gang of about 30 of you then the state crown could be stolen. One person smashes the glass and takes the crown and wears it on their head. The other 30 also take out replicas from their bags and wear them. They just won’t know who to check amidst the mayhem. I also think though they might just shrug their shoulders and get another fake one tout hey have hidden in a cupboard for such eventualities. I think there is a Film script in that somewhere.

After this we went into the chapel to see the tombs of Ann Boleyn and Catherine Howard. Without them the musical would have been called ‘Four’.

It was now wet and so after abandoning going into the White Tower because of the spiral staircases and 230 steps involved that Karen was not convinced she could manage we found the café and sat for a while waiting for the rain to pass.

Then we went and saw the Ravens which are just privileged large black birds that liked to chase the screaming kids. At this point I was all historied out and so we left and walked slowly along the Thames River bank before catching a tube to Waterloo.

We found the Pizza Express we were looking for and had a very nice meal. The cost is still high for what you get but is much more reasonable when we got the starters and all drinks free by using the app.

After this it was time to head to The Old Vic to see Groundhog Day. After this it was time to head to The Old Vic to see Groundhog Day. After this it was time to head to The Old Vic to see Groundhog Day.

This musical was only on for a limited run and so we were lucky that Karen had managed to exchange our tickets for the last week of the run. It is co-written by Tim Minchin and it shows with the razor-sharp lyrics. Andy Karl played the lead role and was terrific. Some of the stage effects as he kept reliving the same day over and over again were amazing. It really did live up to the hype around it.

We left before they came back for the encore wanting to get ahead of the crowd and to our Hotel at Stansted as soon as possible. Luckily our tube was waiting for us and there was only a short wait when we had to change lines. We were getting out of the car at 11.40pm at the Premier Inn which wasn’t bad. It was about midnight when we turned the light out desperately trying to get some 4 hours sleep before the alarm went off.

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