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London Conversation

I was going to have a complete break from blogging whilst away but it’s 4:45 am in a hotel in London and insomnia has struck. I lived in London during most of 1979-80 and have not been back in all that time. Whilst there is great change evident in parts of the city of London (i.e. the EC postcodes and the south bank thereof), the west end and SW1 remain virtually unchanged from what I remember.

We have had a superb time on the open topped bus tour, Thames cruise and tour of BBC Television Centre and today we meet up with our local MP for a tour of parliament and a visit to the strangers gallery at the House of Commons. Tomorrow will see a ‘flight’ in the London Eye.

Aren’t tour guides a wonderful source of things you didn’t know?. For example as we sailed past the Globe Theatre (the reproduction of Shakespeare’s Theatre) yesterday, the guide remarked that in Shakespeare’s time, all admission money would be collected in boxes. Once all the money was gathered all the boxes would then be taken to an office at the top of the building for counting – hence the expression ‘box office’. Also as we passed docklands, the tale was told of how Dutch ships kept London supplied with food and provisions during the great plague. Some of the Dutch sailors would be nervous about sailing to the source of the plague and would fortify themselves with wine and beer beforehand – hence the expression Dutch courage.

The trip to the BBC was fascinating and the kids saw various celebs  (I had no clue who they were). We saw part of the recording of the quiz show Eggheads and were sitting in a room off the news studio as the news went out. Did you know that Huw Edwards works a 12 hour shift putting the evening news together? I had thought that perhaps all the journalism would be done by minions and Huw would turn up for his stint and depart, but apparently not. He takes a very active part in the whole process.

Interesting to hear the ‘riders’ demanded by various stars. Jeniffer Lopez for example required her changing room to be painted white and have white fresh flowers there (microphone had to be white etc. etc.), with a car to take her the 50 yards to the (outside) stage. Her stay in the changing room was less than 20 minutes. Iggy Pop demanded a Bob Hope impersonator and five dwarves. Madonna asked for a life size cardboard cut out of the pope.

However the reassuring thing is that the stars have to pay for behaving like spoilt weans as they foot the bill.

The photos seem to take a while to upload here so here is just one holiday snap of the north tower of Tower Bridge. More from London tomorrow (insomnia permitting)