In the grand tradition of the British Bank Holiday our weekend was dominated by lashing wind and rain. To top that for much of Sunday and Monday we were without electricity!
So it was lucky that on Saturday we had decided to take advantage of OK weather and headed down to London in the hope of finding something exciting to do. We missed the turn to our planned parking place and found ourselves heading down the Blackwall Tunnel under the Thames. Cliff's quick thinking salvaged the situation by taking the turn for the O2 Arena (the futuristic circular pod formerly known as The Dome) where we found all day parking for £3 – now that is a bargain! It was just past 10am so the box office was open at The Globe, a quick phone call and we had booked tickets for the matinee.
We walked down to the Thames path and the QE2 Pier to buy a day pass for the Thames Clippers. These slick catamarans provide a regular passenger service up and down the river and we were looking forward to seeing London from the river as we sped into the city.
We sat on the open deck at the back and enjoyed a thrilling ride past Greenwich Naval College and the sparkling new buildings of Docklands and Canary Wharf. When we reached Tower Bridge it was open for a restored Thames barge to pass through. Our stop was London Bridge, we wanted to look around Burough Market and buy something tasty for lunch. The market stalls were piled high with all sorts of gourmet produce, we chose two chunky Pieminster pies and fresh juices for our picnic near Tate Modern, which was buzzing with freeriding fans watching the Nissan QASHQAI Challenge.
The afternoon performance at The Globe was Shakespeare Party, a frollicking fantasy of the 'best bits' by the bard performed by the multi-talented performers of The Footsbarn Theatre Company. The players inhabited the Globe's space and transported us to a 'Brughelesque' world of travelling players, peasants, millers, bawdy carnival and grotesque medieval beasts.
Juliet did indeed walk a tightrope (she even repeated the performance while playing a violin!); Ophelia tumbled down lengths of blue silk as she drowned in a waterfall; the witches hurled offal into a steaming pit; a motley collection of peasants performed a slap-stick version of Pyramis and Thisbe; and the performance ended in a wild gipsy dance. Great fun! Footsbarn are soon on tour with A Midsummer Night's Dream – sure to be a treat!
We're weren't going to waste the last sunshine of the weekend, so after the show we caught a Thames Clipper up to Waterloo before returning to O2 for a complete round-trip of the Thames. It was party-time for many of the passengers with champagne corks popping and plenty of laughter – avoid London's congested streets and take the boat to the party!