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Monday, August 16, 2010

One More Off The Bucket List

I had hoped to check off two items on my bucket list while in England over the past two weeks. I managed one, and came ever so close to the other.

I can now proudly say that I have seen a play at the Globe Theatre in London. I saw Henry IV Part I. It was spectacular to say the least. The acting was superb. The setting, in an exact replica of the Globe that existed from 1599 to 1642, made the event especially enjoyable. I must say I was glad that I had paid for a ticket in the seating area, because midway through the first half of the production the sky above the open roof over those who stood to watch the play in the courtyard beneath the stage, opened up with a deluge. The meal at The Swan Bistro, in the theater complex was also great.

The current site of the Globe is a few hundred yards away from the original. Diane and I had lunch and drinks in The Anchor Pub, which sits right beside the original theater, and has been in continual operation since 1615. It once served as the dressing room for the Globe. Shakespeare often drank there, as did Samuel Johnson, Charles Dickens and many other authors over the years. We had our drinks in Samuel Johnson's room.

It's too bad that the original theater wasn't still around, but Oliver Cromwell took care of that by razing it in 1642, because theater took people away from Christianity. I suppose you could say Cromwell was the Fred Phelps of his day.

The other bucket list item will have to wait for another trip to Jolly Olde England. We were scheduled to visit Stonehenge on Thursday August 12th, but didn't make it that far. Our first stop was Windsor Castle, weekend home for Queen Elizabeth II. Diane went inside the castle, while I walked around the grounds. We arranged to meet at the tour bus parking lot in time to head to Stonehenge and my other bucket list item.

I arrived at the bus before Diane. After waiting for several minutes I was approached by a policewoman who asked if I was Gordon Kirkland. When I admitted to that she said, "There's been an accident. Your wife has fallen down a flight of stairs in the castle."

When I asked how she was, the policewoman said she didn't know. They weren't able to bring me to Diane for 45 minutes because of a changing of the guard ceremony, so I was just about ill worrying about her. I arrived in time to join her in the ambulance for the trip to the hospital, where we learned she had broken her arm in two places. She also sustained numerous cuts and bruises to her face, arms, and legs. Here endeth the trip to Stonehenge.

People never cease to amaze me, and this was no exception. A woman had gotten onto our bus in the morning, and was upset that I had the front seat because of my need for extra legroom due to the brace on my leg. Upon hearing that Diane had been hurt, I overheard her say, "Thank goodness. Now I can have the front seat." I gave her a look that I hoped might send her into the seat of honor at her own funeral.

While it wasn't something on my bucket list, I did manage to do something else I have wanted to do while we were in London. I actually went shopping on Savile Row. No, I din't go for the absolutely incredible £1600 ($2600) jacket, but I did buy a £55 tie. I probably paid more per square inch on the tie than I would have on the jacket.

The street was lined with Rolls Royces, Mazeratis, Aston Martins, and a few lower class Mercedes and BMW's. I chose to arrive and depart in a chauffeur driven London Black Cab. OK, so it was a cab driver not a chauffeur, but at least I didn't have to try to drive myself. It was also neat to see #3 Savile Row, the home of Apple Records in the late 1960's, and the site of the Beatles rooftop recording of Let It Be.

So, I will have to plan another trip to England to see Stonehenge, and I won't let Diane walk on any castle stairways. The moral of the story is, in a battle between a 900-year-old stone staircase and a 57-year-old woman, the staircase will always win.

1 comment:

  1. I love Henry IV, Pt.1. "So shaken as we are, so wan with care..."

    But most of all, I trained at Guy's Hospital, Southwark, in the early 1960s, and The Anchor was my local. What memories your post brought back.
    Many thanks.


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Writings and Wramblings from the Wandering and Wondering Mind of Gordon Kirkland