I turned twenty-two last Thursday (8th). It was slightly anti-climatic, but I went on a lovely trip “Down South” with my mother to celebrate the occasion. My Mum is from Sussex and I’ve always had bits of family in the Gatwick area, so we would travel down most summers. Sometimes it would be all four of us, others it would just be me and Little Brother. Anyway, here’s a re-cap of my trip, with the best of my photos!
Mum and I flew down very early on Wednesday (7th) morning, and after a shared fry-up breakfast, my aunt picked us up at around 9am. Wednesday was relatively laid back, though we did go bowling. True to form, we were all rubbish, but myself especially – I somehow managed to throw a ball backwards into the next lane. Awkward. At least it was quiet, so there was no one using it … We then grabbed some lunch from Pizza Hut and nipped to the shopping mall for a bit. I was so knackered that I needed a nap when we got back to the house. However, once I’d woken up, I did enjoy helping my cousin with her maths homework. (We got all the answers right – good to know I’ve still got it ;D)
I was most looking forward to Thursday’s plans – we booked tickets to see the musical “Wicked” well before Christmas as a birthday treat for both Mum and myself. I’ll not give away the plot or anything, but the musical is adapted from a book by Gregory Maguire. In essence, it tells the story of what happened before Dorothy and her house landed in Oz. It’s all terribly clever.
I first heard of “Wicked” when I was in my last couple of years at high school: the Broadway production had gained a lot of publicity and the subsequent West End show meant that everyone in my school’s music department seemed to be singing from the show’s song book. I read the book when I was about 18 and fell in love with it. I then understood why everyone had been ranting and raving about this musical. The songs made sense now that I had the backdrop of the book to set them against. I love a good angsty tale, and this one really fits the bill. The fact that I love the Wizard of Oz anyway kind of helps, though!
We travelled up to London by train, getting unlimited tube travel as part of our ticket. This was our safety net – my one concern was that because I don’t know London at all, there was going to be lots of “Oh, crap. We should have been going east-bound” and having to get lots of different tubes and doubling back on ourselves etc etc. Saying that, we managed to navigate from Victoria to Covent Garden and back with no problems – even with the delays on the Victoria Line that day! :D
So, after picking up our tickets from the Apollo, we headed up to Covent Garden – with the intention of grabbing something to eat – on the recommendation of my aunt’s sister. There’s a market there. It’s kind of weird. It’s sort of enclosed yet sort of open-air at the same time, and there is a really weird mix of shops/eateries. We wandered round the market, listened to a string quintet, looked through the Royal Opera House and eventually went to a place called Maxwell’s for lunch. Second best burger I’ve had recently, by the way. And we finished with cocktails, my favourite thing about birthdays. ;D I had a “Raffles Singapore Sling”: gin, cherry brandy, Cointreau, Grenadine and pineapple juice, mostly. I picked it for the gin, obvs. Mum and Aunt went for “Lemon Tree” and “Strawberry Mule” respectively.
Anyway! We then walked to Trafalgar Square, where we took some pictures, joked about feeding the pigeons, saw some crime scene investigators and had a quick look round the National Gallery. By then, it was the back of half four and I was starting to get angsty about rush hour traffic, so we tubed it back to Victoria, this time going from Charing Cross.
I’m just going to jump straight in with HOLY CRAP, the show was amazing. Honestly, “Wicked” is literally the best thing I’ve seen. It is just such a fantastic production; the actors were great, and the music was brilliant. I can really understand why it’s been running at the Apollo since 2006! Seriously, if you don’t like musical theatre, go see “Wicked” – it’s superb. It gave me so many feelings. I would see it a hundred times over. The show manages to stay true to the some-what dark theme of the book, whilst adding an element of humour, presented in a slightly more family-friendly format. It’s definitely not a children’s show, but I’d have no qualms taking my youngest cousins (roughly 11 years old) to see it.
On the Friday, the three of us took a trip to Brighton, which is always fun. The plan was to meet up with my mum’s oldest school friend for a chat and some lunch on the pier. It was lovely to see her, and the timing of our trip was just right – she was flying out to New York the next day! We opted for fish and chips for lunch, before wandering through the arcade and having a go on the two-penny shoves. Those wee machines are definitely my favourite thing about arcades and the sea-side. Much to my dismay, we somehow managed to fit in a wee wander round the shops, and despite my protests, I was told to get on with it as “It’s no longer you’re birthday – so no complaining!” I mostly occupied my time with taking pictures, to be fair. Here are the best of them:
I took about 90 pictures while I was down, and I’ve uploaded them all (minus the ones of my mum making stupid faces!) to Flickr. You can access the whole album here, if you are interested.
To be honest, I don’t feel all that different. Twenty-two is not that exciting, but I suppose I am getting ever closer to “proper adult”. That is a bit frightening. However, I had a lovely birthday, and it was great to spend some time with Mum, and London wasn’t nearly as petrifying as I thought it would be(!)
You’re probably aware that we just had the girls from Sprezzatura do a guest post on London – has anyone else been there recently? Or have you done something fun anywhere else? Do get in touch.
Later. S xStacey