Wednesday, May 30, 2012

London Weekend

Uncluttered Gatwick is really the best gateway into London - and then the speedy and regular Gatwick Express into Victoria in 30 minutes. Landing at 17.30 we still had time for a drink in the Old Vic before the show at 19.30. I had been looking forward to the Duchess of Malfi. Great theatre, great gloomy gothic set, the smell of incense, great performances by Bosola (Mark Bonar) and the Cardinal (Fergal Lynch) and of course the splendidly jagged, bloody, and bawdy language of Webster. But, but, it was all spoiled for me by the casting of Eve Best as the Duchess. A fine actress no doubt but she lacks the carnal spark that seems essential to the character. She seemed a nice sensible woman who would be far too pragmatic to indulge in romantic adventures. Helen Mirren in her prime would have been ideal.

We devoted Saturday to the Heineken Cup final at Twickenham. A full house - about 70% Leinster to 30% Ulster.  A very intense and open match that Ulster never threatened to win, despite the early closeness of the score. They abandoned their South African tactics (kicking and forward power) and ran the ball at every opportunity. Fatal against Leinster. As a Munster fan I could only dwell on a fruitless future as long as this team stays together. Twickenham is easy to get to but bloody difficult to get from - only way is back to Waterloo by train and everyone is decanted up a rat run with consequent queues and delays - polite police and patient horses separating the crowds.

We managed to make our restaurant by 21.00.  Da Mario, north of Covent Garden, was a real find. A small family run establishment with delicious Italian food at reasonable prices.

On Sunday Sumosan in Abermarle Street was a different matter: waiters with attitude and nose-bleed prices. I'm not a fan of Japanese food anyway and get insecure when the table shares dishes. The clientele generally was young and Arabic.  They were out of Sancerre, we were told, because the Chelsea crowd had finished it the previous night. I assume they meant the Russians in the executive boxes.  As we were leaving Salomon Kalua from Chelsea arrived with his entourage - his Ferrari was parked just outside the entrance.  Much scraping and bowing from staff.