top of page

London: Day Five, Thurs Aug 18

We had a fire drill in the hotel at midnight-ish. False alarm and we didn’t have to leave the building, thankfully, but it took me a while to get back to sleep.


Did you know that going out for breakfast is one of my favorite things in the world? It seems so incredibly luxurious - - you can so easily pour cereal into a bowl and pour whatever version of milk you use onto it, how indulgent to go to a restaurant and pay someone to fix you breakfast.


We walked to the neighborhood behind us rather than the one in front of us, where we’d always been. I thought we’d just wander down a major street until we ran into someplace promising. It took a while because so many of the places don’t open until 10am or later (it was 8:30am). We landed on a cute place called Cherry On. As in “Keep Calm and Cherry On.” Tee hee.

































We both had lattes. Richard had avocado toast and I had buttermilk pancakes with bananas, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries. Both were delicious.































The restaurant was on a radio station that was playing pop songs from the 80s. They played “I Want To Know What Love Is” and Richard asked me who sang it. I said I didn’t know and was this close to telling him that it was memorably sung by Dame Shirley Bassey but it was too early in the morning to be talking about Dame Shirley Bassey.


Another random 80s ballad came on a bit later, one I don’t think I’d heard before.


RICHARD: Who is this?

ME: I don’t know, I don’t know this song.

RICHARD: Well what good are you.

ME: Do I need to get that thing on your phone where you hold it in the air and tells you want the song is and who recorded it? Or maybe I should pull a Richard Yaeger and just make something up and pretend it’s true. “This is Rosemary Clooney. It was great for her to have a hit so late in her career.” How does that work for you?


Did I mention that I hadn’t slept well?


We walked back to the hotel. Isn’t it funny how it seems to go by so much faster when you know where you’re going. We watched a little TV, I got caught up in my travelogue, and we got ourselves together for lunch and the play.


Lunch was at a place down the street that we had passed many times, Rosa’s Thai. Cute place, neat as a pin, cute décor, marvelous food. We both had the lunch special: Richard had two spring rolls, wide noodles with chicken, and a Diet Coke. I had corn fritters, wide noodles with tofu, and a Thai iced coffee. Richard had a sip of my Thai iced coffee, which he had never had before.


RICHARD: You’d might as well just order a bottle of milk.

ME: With some sugar on the side. And say the word “coffee” out loud, and that covers it.































We went over to Leicester Square on the tube and looked around for some posh treats for a couple of my coworkers. I thought maybe the National Gallery but there was such a line. We ended up at St Martin’s in the Fields gift shop and I found some classy chocolate bars. Perfect.


*The Mousetrap* is the longest-running play in world history. It opened in 1952 and with the exception of the Covid shutdown in 2020, it’s been running continuously since then. It’s a whodunit by Agatha Christie that takes place at a small guest house in the countryside outside London. Of course there’s a blizzard and a murderer on the loose. It’s the first night of business for the young couple running the guest house and they’re fully booked. I’ll go through the cast of characters and the actors who played them one by one:


Lady of the House: Eleanor McLoughlin

This is the most dramatic role in the show, she’s often on the brink of tears. McLoughlin gave a strong performance, she rode the line between sincerity and artifice.


Man of the House: Greg Lockett

He annoyed me intensely. His vocal mannerisms were grating, constantly diving from speaking high and flutey to low and growly. Try it yourself - - high and flutey: “Dahling, I have no idea…” Low and growly: “...what you’re talking about.”


Swishy guest: George Naylor

This character was offensive. He’s the primary suspect because he’s psychologically unhinged. This is portrayed by him being childish and swishy. He adores cooking, he flops himself sidesaddle into a chair, clutching a pillow affectionately, he even refers to the police inspector as “so handsome” (or similar). Richard kept waiting for him to break out of this persona and become a brawny he-man, showing us that the swish was all an act. That would have been welcome. Naylor did an OK job with a bad part.


Sourpuss: Pamela Hardman

Cranky older lady, not pleased with anything. Hardman was marvelous, she did what she did and didn’t make a big deal about it.


Placeholder older gentleman: Ravi Aujla

I call him a placeholder because his character didn’t really have much impact. Aujla was just fine. Easy job.


Butch young lady: Lizzie Frain

She wore slacks and often, a necktie. No other lesbo indicators - - maybe Christie felt like she was giving enough LGBTQ+ content with the swishy young man. Frain gave a stylish performance, she knew how to move.


Mysterious Italian: Matthew White

This is an unexpected guest, a dubiously Italian guy whose Rolls Royce overturned in a snow bank. For real? Another offensive character, he barely even had two dimensions. White did a good job in a thankless role.


Police detective: Daniel Solbe

This is the best part in the show because he’s the most straightforward and free of phoniness. Solbe was delightful.


The setting was suitably ordinary. I think the rug under the couch might have been bought used when the show opened in 1952. The theater itself was cute, though it could do with a good sound scrubbing. The top edge of the wooden pillars had 1/8” of dust on them. I told Richard that my mother would be thrilled to go after the theater with a damp rag and a bucket of warm water with Murphy’s oil soap. We could rig her up with a harness and a rope, or maybe they’re ready with that jet pack we’ve been hearing about for years…?


























We walked around the neighborhood looking for a place to have dinner. I was eager to get some fish and chips - - we found a place with a menu behind the counter, cod and chips for 9.5 pounds, sounds great. The server asked if we were there for dine-in or take-away. We said dine-in so she gave us a table and a couple of menus. Well, for dine-in that same order of cod and chips was 20 pounds. WTFF? What the fried fish? And let me tell you, you’re not paying for atmosphere at this joint. We slinked away, thankfully our server had gone out to bus a few tables. Slinked or slunk?


Instead we found a cute Italian place nearby. Richard had his signature gin and tonic and rigatoni, I had a half pint of beer and carbonara. Neither pasta dish was extraordinary but it was just fine and appropriately priced. And it was a cute restaurant and the service was good. This rigatoni picture of Richard is my favorite picture of him from this trip.








































We stopped at our neighborhood gelato place again on our way back and this time I took a picture so you could see Richard's gelato rose cone.










































Back to the hotel. We watched a program about the new evidence of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor being Nazi spies, in a sense. They were definitely Nazi sympathizers and gave information to the Nazis that led to many deaths of Allied soldiers. We’d seen a bit of this in season 2 of *The Crown* but it was impressive seeing the actual documents.

bottom of page