Sunday, August 13, 2006

Wednesday: Beatles Store and Royal Albert Hall

Wednesday I left work at 5:30 pm and dashed across London on the Tube, from the Canary Wharf stop on the far east side to the Baker Street stop on the west side. I was determined to get to the Beatles Store before it closed at 6:30 pm. Remembering this store from our family trip to London in 2000, my son had requested a Beatles calendar and a Zippo lighter with a Beatles logo.

photo taken from the Beatles store website

After making my purchases (I paid an outrageous USD $60 for the lighter), I took a walk around the neighborhood. The little B&B where we had stayed in 2000 still looked good, as did the pub where we ate several times. At the Marylebone Station (seen in the Beatles’ movie “A Hard Day’s Night”) I realized I had left the Zippo & calendar in the Beatles store. ARGH! I ran back, but it was locked up tight. Upset though I was, I had to put it out of my mind for the evening. I would call them in the morning.

Photo by Linda Mason Hood

Next on the agenda: Royal Albert Hall. Before leaving NY, I had purchased tickets for Maurene and I to hear a concert in the annual summer Promenade series. Since we had no time for dinner, we went to the little snack bar inside the Hall. The couple before us got the last sandwich, so we made do with a glass of wine and a small container of ice cream each, plus a large cookie and a package of nuts which we shared.

Permission to copy granted under GNU Free Documentation License

It was REALLY hot in the Royal Albert Hall. We sat very still, but even so, the sweat poured off us as though we were under a shower. Nevertheless, the concert was brilliant. The program of Prom #17 was entitled The Great Venetians and included music of Gabrielli, Monteverdi, Grandi, Rigatti, and Cavalli. We heard the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists as well as an instrumental group called His Majesty’s Sagbutts and Cornetts, both conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner. This review from the Sunday Telegraph conveys the magic of the music we heard.

Photo by Linda Mason Hood

The concert, which didn’t start until 10:15 pm, ran past midnight. Rather than make a mad dash for the last train, Maurene and I opted for a cab. After the anxiety of the lost lighter, the lack of dinner, and the heat of the Hall, riding in that spacious black cab and seeing London's night-time sparkle was a real treat.

I arrived back at the hotel around 1 am and didn’t fall asleep for an hour. Still jet lagged, I guess, because 2 am is only 9 pm in York. I went to bed with a cup of peppermint tea and a biscuit and read a bit more of the program notes. It seemed the perfect way to wind down from my Wednesday night after-work adventure.

© 2006, Linda Mason Hood
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