Monday, September 24, 2012

London Bound

Yes, we are. Tomorrow night, Tuesday, we leave Ottawa at 11:25 on an Air Canada jet and touch down in Heathrow the next morning, Wednesday, at 11:10. Assuming all goes as planned, and there is no unscheduled swimming interlude involved. We will hope not.

In preparation for the visit – we will be in a rented apartment in London for a week – yesterday, I surfed the net for a list of theatrical productions in the West End. And came up with a list of 110 musicals, comedies, and dramas currently playing, or upcoming. An embarrassment, if you will, of theatrical riches. We have looked at any number of productions, but won't make any firm decision until "the day". We will likely pass on a play the first night. We expect to be tired from the overnight flight. For the record, I am not crazy about overnight flights. Hard to sleep, I have found, with my knees under my chin. The price one pays for flying Economy Class. So, Wednesday will be a short day, early to bed, so that the next 6 days can be full of sight-seeing and theatre.

One production we had hoped to take in is The Book Of Mormon, billed as a musical comedy. It's had great reviews in its New York run, and it is on the list for London. Unhappily, though, not until February of 2013. In the context of the current presidential race in the States, it would have been an interesting and entertaining show to see. Perhaps not as comic as Mitt Romney's stumbling run in the direction of the White House – described by GOP heavyweight Peggy Noonan as "a rolling calamity" – but it would have been worth seeing.

After a week of sight-seeing and theatre in London, we head off to Paddington Station and climb onto a train for the Cotswolds, and 4 days of hiking, combined with 4 nights of wining and dining. (That seems to be a constant in our travels.) After that we do 3 days and 3 nights of much the same in Oxford. And then back to Ottawa.

The last time I was in Paddington Station, I made a point of looking for the famous bear. And found a very large replica of the lad in a window display, decked out in a blue coat and yellow hat as I recall. There is also a bronze statue of Paddington at the station. I missed that last time, but we will make a point of seeing it this time.


One never knows what one might see in Paddington Station. On my last visit, there was a troupe of Yemeni dancers and musicians holding forth, in an effiort to entice us to visit the country. Still not on my preferred list, though. Things are a tad violent in that part of the world just now, or so I sometimes hear.

It's impossible, I would suggest, to contemplate a visit to London without revisiting, in memory, the very long list of superior crime-mystery films set partly or wholly in that city. There are, of course, websites devoted to the theme. So, herewith, in no particular order, a partial list of some of my favourites from the distant, and more recent, past.

Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up, from 1966:

John Mackenzie's The Long Good Friday, from 1979-1980:

Charles Crichton's The Lavender Hill Mob, from 1951:

The Lavender Hill Mob

Richard Donner's  The Omen, from 1976:

Basil Deardon's  The League of Gentlemen, from 1960:

Sudney Furie's The Ipcress File, from 1965:

Woody Allen's Match Point, from 2005:

Alexander Mackendrick's The Ladykillers, from 1955:

Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, from 1998:

Robert Hamer's  Kind Hearts and Coronets, from 1949:

Neil Jordan's The Crying Game, from 1992:

Alfred Hitchcock's  Frenzy, from 1972:

And, last, but certainly not least, from 1957,

Alfred Hitchcock's Witness For The Prosecution:

I invite the reader to add his/her own titles to the list.

I won't be doing my regular blog on October 8. As noted above, I will be in Oxford, walking, wining and dining. Ottawa mystery writer and Young-Adult novelist, Brenda Chapman, has graciously agreed to sub for me:

You can read all about Brenda on her website:

Cheers, all!

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