Friday, 24 April 2009

A Free Day
Yesterday we ventured out of London (using our free bus passes of course).
A gentle walk down to the Bayswater Road and a bus to Shepherd's Bush. then the 607 to Uxbridge to buy some paint and other chandlery as there are no chandlers in London.
After lunch at the Tai Pan oriental buffet, which sits in the middle of a roundabout, we boarded the 724 to Watford to another BBC recording of Discovering Music. Whilst we were blacking the boat a few weeks ago I made a visit to this chandlery to buy further supplies of blacking and when I boarded the return bus the driver told me I could not board with paint as it was hazardous.! Compare this with our friends in France who take their plastic barrels to the supermarket and return with them full of diesel ON THE BUS.
Today, however, we have enjoyed a remarkably free day.
First stop St. Martin's in the Fields for the free lunchtime piano recital then on to Freemasons' Hall for a guided tour of the Grand Lodge building. Beautiful workmanship inside which was spoilt a little by a xenophobic guide. To finish the day we had tickets for a concert by the BBC Singers in St. Paul's Church, Knightsbridge. (not many words have six consonants together do they). This chamber choir are performing in seven of the Proms this year and the concert was by way of a taster. The twenty four members of UK's only full-time professional chamber choir sang eleven songs, all unaccompanied. My favourites were:
I love my love
from six choral folk songs by Gustav Holst;
The Bluebird by Charles Stamford
Pastymes with Good Companye by Henry VIII
They are taking this Proms Preview out to the provinces which in BBC terms comprises Bristol, Brighton and Bath. I am not sure how the choice of representative towns was determined. If there was a budget cut which truncated the list at the letter B then they could have included Birmingham and Bridlington for instance. I suspect it more likely that the BBC could not afford the native guides and security team required to venture north of Watford.
After the immensely enjoyable and impressive concert we walked back to Little Venice via Hyde Park. As we passed The Serpentine the cafe was still illuminated so we decided to stop for a cup of tea. Unfortunately it was, in fact, closed so whilst she who must be obeyed made use of their facilities I chatted with a waiter. When we finally left the owner asked us to take some sandwiches from the 'fridge as he would be discarding them. So munching our free dinner we continued our walk home.

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