Oh, glorious England. Woke at 8 and made a cup of coffee to have in bed then we went down to breakfast in the beautiful front room which overlooks Henrietta Park. Full English for me, croissants for Mirinda.
Fully full, we walked up to Walcot Street so Mirinda could look in some shops. What is this thing with women? You’re in a city and the first thing they want to do is look in shops. Ok, Mirinda wanted to go into a specific shop to look at a specific chair but that doesn’t explain the other shops she went into. As we were there, she also popped into the Bath Glass Shop for a pair of lovely glass drop earrings.
We, having window shopped sufficiently (or as much as I could stand without resorting to wall butting), then found a Caffee Nero where caffeine was digested. From here it was across the road to Bath Abbey.
Not the loveliest or most interesting abbey/cathedral/church I’ve ever seen but it had it’s moments. Unfortunately a lot of building work was going on inside so I couldn’t see the Crowning of King Edgar window, still, there’s lots of lovely memorials.
From the abbey we popped next door to the Roman Baths. And then the crowds began. Half term is a curse! Millions of families with kids who’d rather be somewhere else – ghastly. Still, we managed to see lots of archaeological stuff, including the working Roman drain – still running after 2,000 years. Can only hope our bathroom manages to see out our lifetimes.
In the gift shop, the woman serving guessed I was Australian by my Akubra. Nothing like wearing the national pride on your head.
We bought pasties for lunch then popped into the smallest pub in Bath for a beer/cider. The Coeur de Lion is about the size of our living room and very friendly. A recommended watering hole indeed.
From the pub (and after two pints of Cumberland Ale) we found a chemist for some necessary supplies then back to our room for the usual late afternoon rest. I wrote up a couple of postcards then left Mirinda to snooze as I went in search of the Pulteney Arms, the pub with the gas light. I found it easily as it’s just the other side of the park, however, it was closed, so could only take some photos. I, instead, wandered back into Bath for a wander.
I found the Theatre Royal and the ladders up the side of the Abbey, then on to the Pulteney Bridge pub. Now here’s a funny thing. This pub is NOT friendly. It’s also very smokey. Still, snooker was on the TV and the beer was nice (Bombadier), so I sat for a pint then wandered back to the hotel, reeking.
After a bit of crap telly, we changed and set off for the theatre, stopping for fish cakes and chips on the way. Only there were no fish cakes left so it was just chips.
The Theatre Royal is a lovely little venue and it was pretty much packed for Osborne’s Look Back in Anger. An excellent performance, highlighted nicely I thought, by the very well enunciated rudeness in the bar, where the art of queuing appears to have given way to the excellent ‘pigs at the trough’ approach. Anyway…the play was fantastic.
David Tennant as Jimmy was full of an energy that refused to flag, his bile knowing no bounds. Playing Alison, his ‘poor wife’, Melissa Gilbert look-a-like Kelly Reilly gave a wonderfully measured performance. The two supports (Steven McNicoll and Alexandra Moen) were equally strong and balanced Jimmy’s mania well.
The surprise of the evening came in the guise of Roj Blake, once counter revolutionary in the not too distant future, now fully paid up member of the establishment as long serving Colonel Redfern. The voice was still strong, the body defiant, though well rounded, but where was that fire that Servalan wanted so badly to extinguish? If you have no idea what I’m talking about, click here.
After the 2.5 hour play, we managed to walk the wrong way back, wandering along forgotten streets of fast food shops and high street chains – the non-tourist world of Bath. It was tricky but eventually we made it back on track and were in our rooms by 11. A lovely day. Mirinda has threatened to go shopping tomorrow…