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Another two items have been checked off my London to-do list. Last week we saw a play at the Globe Theatre and on Monday I finally managed to see a musical on the West End.

We saw The Merchant of Venice at the Globe. The Globe Theatre is a replica of the original Globe Theatre which existed in Elizabethan times. We wussed out and bought tickets for the stalls, rather than tickets for the yard. The tickets for the yard are only 5 pounds but you have to stand up for the entire play. I'm not sure my old bones would cope with standing for 3 hours straight.

Even in the seated areas I had a little trouble coping. It was freezing! You can hire blankets for the evening, but unfortunately we turned up a little late and they had run out by the time we arrived. Although I had brought a jacket and a scarf, I was still frozen by the end of the evening. You can also hire cushions, as the seats are only wooden benches and a little bit hard on the rear end. Wish I'd hired a cushion too as my bum was numb by the end of the play. (Yes! I am a very big wuss.)

The play was quite entertaining but it was definitely Shakespeare for the masses. There was too much gyrating and hip thrusting from the actors for my tastes. Often, the puns in the script were lost behind the laughter from a hip thrust. Disappointing.

Some trivia about the Globe:
  • It is the first thatched building permitted in London since the Great Fire of London in 1666.

  • The theatre can house 1300 people during a show. The original Globe could entertain an estimated 3000 people.

Jess and Andrew at the globeThe Globe

On Monday evening I snapped up a spare ticket offered by Tash to see Les Miserable at the Queen's theatre. The tickets were only 15 pounds so it was a bargain. Although, for only 15 pounds we did wonder what kind of seats we would secure. We weren't surprised to find that our seats were in the very back row with a view obstructed by the dress circle.

Still, I wasn't disappointed! Les Mis is my favourite musical and any viewing of it is worthwhile. Even an obstructed view from the very back row. Also, at intermission I relocated myself further down the front and got an clear view of the second half. Thanks for letting me tag along Tash, Matt and Ann. You've inspired me to get my butt into gear and see a few more musicals while in London.

jess - 4th Oct 2007, 11:11 tags: explore_london london theatre

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It's going to be a little quiet around here for a while. We've just moved into our new flat and we have limited internet.

Yes! We've finally a found a place to live. Finding a place to live was a lot of work. Over the course of a week, we looked at 30 flats and put in 4 offers. The rental market is so busy in London. To get a place you have to partake in a bidding war. We found several places that we would have been happy to live in and one perfect place that would have been ideal. Unfortunately, we lost the bidding war or were deemed unsuitable for these places.

Eventually, we managed to secure a one bedroom flat in Ladbroke Grove. The place is a bit smaller than our SheBu flat but I think it has a better layout. Of course at the moment, it looks like a bomb site. Photos will come when the place is a little tidier.

The area is pretty good too. Natalie lives a couple of blocks up the road so we are practically neighbours. We're in the Notting Hill area which has fantastic restaurants and great cafes. Finally we'll have a place to have brunch on the weekend. A block away is Portobello Road Markets. Fresh fruit and veg everyday! To combat all that healthy food we have the Hummingbird Bakery only a 5 minute walk away. They make the best cupcakes ever. I will definitely have to limit my visits there.

jess - 1st Oct 2007, 11:11 tags: london

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Saturday evening we headed out to celebrate Liz's 30th birthday. It was also a party to farewell Liz and Phil, who are off to live in Canada for a few years. Liz and Phil had hired a room in a bar in Soho. We spent the first few hours socialising and chatting. Later on, we hit the dance floor (not really a dance floor; just the middle of the tiny room) and danced up a storm. We had a fantastic time.

We had such a great night that we stayed out after the last tube and had to catch the night bus home. First time ever! We kinda had to wing it as we hadn't researched our trip home. Luckily we found a bus from Piccadilly that dropped us right outside our flat.

There are lots of funny photos from the evening. I've put some of them below and the rest are on Facebook.

Happy Birthday Liz! Remember 30 is the new 20. Happy Travels Liz and Phil!

Jess and Andrew Phil and Liz
Shaun and Jess Steve, Hildy and Monica

jess - 27th Sep 2007, 11:11 tags: ultimate london social birthdays

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Another busy weekend for the Wilsons. On Saturday arvo I tagged along with Natalie and the Flickr London group to a flash mob like event. (Not sure what a flashmob is? Read about it on Wikipedia.)

The theme of the flashmob was Zombies. A group of people dressed as Zombies, met at St Paul's Cathedral and then went for a bit of a wander. They dragged themselves across the Millennium Bridge, through the Tate Modern, along the Thames, across London Bridge and then all the way to Hoxton Square.

Some people really got into the spirit of things and some costumes were pretty impressive. Lots of grey makeup and a couple of guys even had entrails poking out of their abdomens. There were zombie brides, zombie construction workers, zombie fairy tale characters, zombie tennis players, a zombie clown and of course a token zombie pirate.

It was quite an event to witness. Lots of really funny moments with zombies attacking each other and trying to eat each other. Every time we passed a restaurant the zombies would tap on the windows and groan "brains". At one point they even tried to invade a tourist bus. As we passed The Globe Theatre, one zombie started quoting Shakespeare, with a living dead angle... "To eat brains, or not to eat brains, that is the question." I did feel sorry for all the little kids we passed along the way. The little ones didn't really cope with an army living of dead wandering around in broad daylight.

I've put a couple of choice photos below and the rest are on Flickr.

Zombie Bride Zombie Attack

jess - 25th Sep 2007, 11:11 tags: london photography zombie

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This weekend we managed to catch the 10th annual Thames Festival. Luckily London turned on some beautiful weather for us, so it was a pleasure to head out in the sunshine to hang out by the river. The festival was huge and was divided into six sectors, each with its own theme. As with any event in London, it was very busy. I only had a few squished in the crowd panic attack moments. The pleasant weather made it easier to deal with the crowds.


Feast on the bridge
They closed Southwark Bridge off to traffic (for the first time ever), set up a bunch of food stalls and then went crazy with the decor. There was a beach area, complete with sand and deck chairs. There was a gingerbread house and forest of gingerbread trees. There was a tent decorated with draping curtains where you could sit on pillows and eat Indian food with your fingers. Dotted along the bridge were clusters of couches and armchairs; a perfect place for a much needed rest.

It was a fantastic idea but the place was packed. You can't really admire the decorations when you're shuffling at a snail's pace through the beach area. The only thing you can see are the heads and shoulders of the crowd around you and the sand beneath your own feet. When we walked past the bridge later in the afternoon they had limited the number of people allowed on the bridge and were forcing people to queue to join the feast. Maybe they'll have to rethink the organisation of Feast on the Bridge for next year.

Korean Lantern workshop
Natalie booked us into the Korean village for a workshop to make Korean lanterns. We were given the frame, a glue stick and some safety scissors and given a few minutes instruction. Natalie and I set to work, gluing the thick, white paper to the bell shaped frame. After we had finished gluing white paper on to each side of the frame we then decorated the lantern using coloured paper. It was kind of fun. Unfortunately I couldn't get past having sticky hands to really enjoy myself.

Glue and safety scissorsNatalie at workNatalie and Jess at work
Natalie at workNatalie and Jess at workFinished product
Finished productFinished productBeautiful lantern

Korean drumming
After the lantern workshop, we stuck around in the Korean village for a bit to watch the Korean drumming. Such enthusiasm and energy! It was exhausting just watching them.

Korean DrummingKorean DrummingKorean Drumming
Korean DrummingKorean DrummingKorean Drumming

We had such a lovely day. We also got to see Tower Bridge open, which was pretty exciting! London is a different place when the weather is nice. Pity we're heading into Autumn. Hopefully we'll a few more pleasant London days before winter sets in.

Tower Bridge openingTower Bridge openingTower Bridge opening

jess - 19th Sep 2007, 11:11 tags: london explore_london thames_festival

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