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Sunday, May 8

I woke up today really late. I hadn't realised how late the hotel served breakfast the previous day. Had I realised, I might have rushed us from our bed to the breakfast room, since we had woken up in plenty of time for their 10.30 finish time. I discovered this finish time when a note came through our door suggesting that an early breakfast might make things less busy for us. I wasn't getting up at 7.30 for anyone - breakfast or no breakfast. However, a late breakfast (busy or otherwise) seemed doable. Not when you wake up at nearly 11am. Clearly there was sleeping to be done. That's fair enough. It was meant to be a relaxing weekend. Sleeping is relaxing. I had no worries.

We checked out of the hotel the easy way - the bit where you don't have to face the fact that you're checking out 30 minutes later than you're supposed to. I dropped my key in the slot and we got the hell out of there. We went to my companion's car where we dropped off our bags. She was parked in Pimlico, which was not where we planned to be, but it seemed a good idea to be unfettered by all of our baggage and the car proved a nice mobile left-luggage depot. As I looked at my day travel pass for the underground, I fully realised the date. May the 8th. It was exactly 1 year ago that we premiered The Musical! to an excitable audience at Newcastle Arts Centre. Having reprised the show, I'd only just managed to collect the stuff I accidentally left behind at the Arts Centre in March. The show is now officially over. It's a year later and I've gained a lot and have to come to terms with it being part of my past now. It may still make me giggle in theatres - in fact a line from Acorn Antiques accurately damning some modern musicals made my companion laugh as she remembered a line from my own show which pretty much said the same thing. Me and Victoria Wood - we're like two of a kind... I don't believe that, though the song-writing in our show was compared favourably to the aforementioned Ms Wood. But then we were also termed a middle-class British Tenacious D... so who knows what reviewers actually can be trusted to think!?

On the subject of reviews, I eagerly await news of the review I wrote of Spamalot. I'd intended to write a review from long before I went to see it on March 7th. A series of distractions meant that I didn't get around to writing the review. However, seeing that it was up for a lot of awards and also seeing that Terry Jones was unimpressed by the show, meant that I was inspired to get my words together and write the review. If it gets published on, I'll link to it. If it doesn't get published, it'll go into my reviews section here.

Anyway, I digress... but it's my website, so I'm allowed to!

We headed back to Leicester Square from Pimlico and didn't go to see a musical. I know. It sounds unlikely, but we managed it. The plan was to meet my sister and her husband later in the afternoon. Firstly, we needed to get some lunch. Before we could get lunch, we had first to run into Darth Vader. Lord Vader was standing outside of Burger King, supporting some Burger King/Star Wars cross promotion thing. It's ever-so-slightly weird to see Darth Vader in person. That's London for you. Everyone's welcome - even the chief of the evil empire.

We had lunch at a cafe in Leicester Square and very nice it was. After lunch and a naughty McFlurry (my bad - the diet starts soon... honestly!), we wandered round a record shop and realised that record buying was not of any interest that afternoon. So, we headed to the Trocadero. It's a silly games arcade that belongs in a super-pier of one of our nation's seaside towns. There is no such thing as a super-pier, so this particular attraction gets to survive in its present form in London's West End. I suspect that's the only reason. Once someone invents the super-pier, the Trocadero will move. Anyway, we played the 2p piece game we'd seen in Portsmouth a couple of weeks previously. The lady playing that had a special system - throw shit-loads of coins in and see what happens. What happens is that you run out of coins really quickly. After throwing about 30 in in rapid succession, I triumphantly exclaimed - "Look, we won one". When you're playing with 2p pieces, it's hard to be too bothered about winning or losing. It was fun and I enjoyed it.

We played on various machines, including a smashing-things-with-a-hammer game and a playing-a-stratocaster game (a bit like the dance mat games but more emphasis on the fingers, and no real effort required). We also saw a man playing the dance-mat game and it was amazing to see... truly stunning. He was all over the dance mat and I couldn't keep up with his feet, so how he could work out how to follow the instructions on the screen at that speed, I've no idea! It was outstanding. After one round, we gave him a round of applause - he deserved it!

There was a quiz game and, buying two credits, we found ourselves pitted against a small child. He won the first round. You get prize tickets - he got 30 points and took his tickets away with him. You can exchange these tickets for relatively worthless prizes. It's not good business to play games and expect to beat the cost of playing the games by taking away a high value in prizes. In our second round, in which we played unchallenged, we got every question right (quite quickly) and won a stunning 40 points. At that stage I had a call from my sister saying she'd just arrived nearby. Not interesting in 40 points' worth in shite prizes, I found the child who had beaten us in the previous round and give him the 40 tokens. He seemed pleased with them. Bonus!

Starbucks played host to us with my sister and her husband. We had a good innings there and left having had good value for the few pounds our drinks cost. I was the only coffee drinker in the group, but other products satisfied the rest of the party and the surrounding were comfortable enough.

For the evening, with my sister and brother-in-law, on their way home, I took my girlfriend to Covent Garden. We saw a rather uninspiring street performer, ate at a restaurant where the waiter seemed utterly disgusted at our table manners. Our table manners involved holding hands and talking face to face. Yeah! Disgusting! I don't know what his problem was, but it was funny at the time, the way he could barely hide his distaste.

Then back to Pimlico. Time to call the evening's festivities to an end. You don't want a good weekend to end, but if they don't then how do you appreciate them? I had a really good time in good company, doing good things. Life is good.

The train journey back to Newcastle involved using an older carriage which somehow magically had 240v sockets on it, meaning my laptop could be powered as its battery started to fade. Good stuff. More time to get this blog up to date.

Sadly, the battery on my mobile phone was low on charge and I didn't have my charger with me. In the last 30 minutes of my train journey, I initiated a game of Scrabble with the online computer that I play against - I was winning as the phone died. Never mind.

I took a taxi ride home from the station and hit the hay. Well, I went to bed, but you know what I mean.


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