Some changes of plan!

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Tuesday 1st May – 17th meeting of 2018

Today was a day of many changes of plans. Our planned day was to go to Freemasons Hall in the City but when one of our ladies made enquiries we were told that it was fully booked for the day – so plan B came into force! Well, to be honest there really wasn’t a plan B so it was decided that we should meet up at Coolings Garden Centre for a look around and lunch. That seemed to be a good idea but no the plan was changed again and The Greyhound in Bromley for a breakfast won the vote! This is a pub we have used many times and as there were only six of us meeting it seemed a good idea.greyhound 1

Once we were all together we ordered our breakfast and drinks. A cup of tea here is just £1.25 and you can have a refill as many times as you want. This is such good value and it is a very good cup of tea. The first problem was that we couldn’t find any tea bags at the machine but all was fine when the refilled container appeared from the bar man.

The food was served but unfortunately the scrambled egg was not very nice and one breakfast was returned because it was cold! But the rest of the meal was very good and enjoyed.

We had a nice chat and checked up on a few up and coming dates. We also confirmed all the plans for our annual holiday which we go on next week so lots of things to sort out and chat about.

We all took advantage of our being in Bromley and did some shopping before going on our ways home!

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London’s Lost Canals

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Tuesday 24th April – 16th meeting of 2018

A visit to London Canal Museum to view a special exhibition of the Lost Canals of London was our meeting today.

The exhibition was at the London Canal Museum at 12-13 New Wharf Road, King’s Cross, London, N1 9RT so we met at Charing Cross and took Northern Line to King’s Cross then a short walk to the Museum which incorporated a coffee stop in a very nice cafe.

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We purchased our tickets of £4.00 each which gave us full access to the whole Museum and the London’s Lost Canals temporary exhibition. The staff member gave us a brief history of the Museum. The building which houses the Museum was built in 1857 by Carlo Gatti as an ice well to house ice for the making of ice cream and for distribution of ice to restaurants and fishmongers, which was his business. Another ice well was built in 1863. Extensive reconstruction took place between 1904-6 when much was added and a stable and horse cart depot built. It was used until 1926 by Carlo Gatti and Stephenson for ice cream manufacture and ice distribution but since then used during the war by AEC as a depot for spare parts for London buses and after many years of disuse was taken over by London Canal Museum.

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The ground floor shows all exhibits of the ice cream trade and information on how ice was brought by barges from Norway to be stored in the ice wells. Here there is a small section which is the inside of a narrow boat that was commonly seen on the canals and which carried all manner of goods and manufactured items all around the country on the canals and waterways. As we walked through this we all agreed how small and tiny everything was and however whole large families lived day by day on one is amazing. But the pretty lace trimmed curtains and most beautifully painted items gave it a really homely feel. There were lots of items used on the badges on display.

Upstairs there was a section dedicated to horses and the role they played.

The exhibition London’s Lost Canals was a display of maps and plans of all the canals that were used in and around London but that now are now longer in use. Some have been built on, some left or disused and some were not completed.

I found this a very interesting exhibition. I spent my childhood in Rotherhite and Bermondsey and found it great to find out what went on in and around the docks and wharves of the area.

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We sat and watched a fascinating film of canal life. Very old footage of canals passing through London including Regent’s Canal. Just lovely to see life 100 or so years ago with all the fashions and buildings that today have disappeared!

From here we went outside to the canal and looked at the many barges that were moored here and walked around the canal which has residential and temporary mooring sights.

After a very pleasant morning we made our way back to King’s Cross and our trains home.

 

 

 

Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

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Tuesday 17th April – 15th meeting of 2018

An exciting day ahead for us today. A guided tour of Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, booked for 2.15 pm for us nine ladies and two husbands who were joining us.

Trains were a little messed up and while on our train we had a call from some of our group to say that they were going straight to St Martin’s Crypt Cafe for lunch and that one of our ladies was missing! When we arrived at St Martin’s the missing lady was there and it appears that she missed the usual train because she got a bus to the station that went along the scenic route! Hence she caught a later train and went straight to the Crypt.

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After lunch and much chatter we walked along the Strand to the Theatre. We had tickets for the tour which were £8.50 each and once we booked in a few more people joined us and we were met by our Guide. We stood in the main entrance hall and we were given a brief history of the theatre which is the oldest theatre in London and a theatre has stood on this site since 1663. At present it is owned by Really Useful Theatre Group which is wholly owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber.  Previous buildings were managed by the great actor David Garrick and the famous playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan.  The current building was opened in 1812 and has seating of over 2000.

After the introduction we went into the main building and our guide left us in the capable hands of the cleaner! Here an actress dressed as and playing the part of an old cleaner took over the tour. She was very amusing and told lots of stories about the comings and goings of the Theatre. There are two Royal boxes and we were taken to the grandest reception room of the King’s box. This one is used by the Royals and V.I.P.s when visiting.  Lovely decoration and very spacious.

 

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We went into the back of the auditorium and quickly and quietly walked across the back as a rehearsal was taking place. 42nd Street was the production. Then we where joined by our guide playing the part of an olden day actor!

Taken down lots and lots of stairs and we were under the stage and looking at the machinery etc of the revolving stage, trap door etc etc. The stage is very large and can accommodate many gadgets. Productions that have taken place here Miss Saigon, Oliver, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Oklahoma and many more.

We walked along a long passage deep underground where – the cleaner now Nell Gwen told us that ghosts are said to have been seen and many strange happenings have taken place here! But I’m not sure how much of that was true!!!

During the tour our hosts changed clothes and became different people from different times in the Theatres history. Our actor became David Garrick and our actress the cleaner and Nell Gwen. They were very amusing and entertaining and gave the tour such a pleasant friendly appeal.

This is a really lovely old theatre that over the last four years had undergone a massive refurbishment and looks magnificent!

We all really enjoyed this tour and found it to be such fun and very informative.

Visit to the Super Trouper!

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Tuesday 14th April – 14th meeting of 2018

Today we were off to the world of Abba to the Super Trouper exhibition at Southbank Centre. Six of us met at Waterloo and walked to the Southbank Centre or calling it by its old name Royal Festival Hall.

Not a very nice morning weatherwise as it was cold and damp with an overcast sky so we went straight into cafe for a nice hot drink. The tea was £1.80 per cup and ok but all drinks were served in take away cups! We found a seat by the window with a lovely view of the river. Inside the Centre there are plenty of tables and chairs all around and it is a nice place to meet for a chat or a meeting or study. There were lots of people inside and lots of children as it was still the Easter holiday for the school children.

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We had booked our tickets cost of £25.00 for 12.15pm but it was all running late so we were advised to sit and wait for 5 or so minutes.

We were joined by about 10 other people and once our guide introduced herself and explained about the exhibition we were on our way!

It started in a very dark room with a glitter disco ball and music playing. Then the intros to Abba songs came on  and we were asked to guess what songs were playing. No one managed to guess the first one but after that between us we managed to name them all. Our guide asked if anyone knew what a Super Trouper was and no one had the answer. She enlightened us explaining ‘A super trouper is a type of spotlight used in discos and is the brightest light’.

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The exhibition was set in rooms which were significant during their careers, with lots of Abba memorabilia and items of the times. Thorough the exhibition our guide explained how the group got together, how with their surprise win of Eurovision in April 1974  with Waterloo changed their lives. All the records they made, lots of news clippings,  clothes they worn, photographs, and much more there for us to see and touch. The studio they built was there with all the equipment that they used and we could experiment by making the base louder, add more guitar or piano. Then when Dancing Queen started to play we were ask to join in the chorus. Of course we all certainly did and it was a real karaoke moment for us all! They was a technical hitch at one point when all the lights went out and our guide came to the rescue with a touch. The exhibition is on a timed sequence and what went wrong nobody seemed to know but it sorted itself out and we carried on. There was about six different rooms telling their story and the guide was very informative and told us some lovely stories of the group. I was surprised when she said that over the ten years they were recording they only toured for three months. They used the music video to get their music around the world. They have never officially stated that they have broken up but just stopped recording together.

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The last room was the inside of a plane which we all sat in and it took off and through the windows were films of Abba and also lots of clips of tribute acts. This was accompanied with the lovely recording of Abba singing ‘Thank you for the music’ which is my favourite of all the Abba songs!

The tour lasted just over an hour and was very enjoyable. We heard lots of facts about Abba and it was all laid out well and with the guide made it very interesting.

We went back to Waterloo for our trains home.

 

 

 

 

First Mini AGM

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Tuesday 3rd April – 13th meeting of 2018

Today we got together for our first Mini AGM of 2018 to plan our meetings for the weeks up to the summer break.

The choice was one of our favourites The Greyhound in Bromley for a breakfast meeting. As you may know this is a Wetherspoons pub which offers a fantastic traditional breakfast for £3.20 and refillable teas and coffees for £1.25. The food is very good and the tea is a very tasty – I would say the best of the year so far!

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All nine of us were settled on a long table but it was so hot we moved across to another part of the pub and slightly opened the door so everyone was much happier. Food came up very quickly and was enjoyed by us all.

We then got working on the purpose of the meeting. Many ideas were available and we did manage to plan until the Summer. There were some crossings out and changes in the diary but all in all very good. I feel changes will be made as and when needed. But a quick and easy morning and we plan some walks, museum trips, exhibitions and a theatre tour trip.

Looking back on our meetings since Christmas I noticed that we have stayed on course with all our planned events with only one change which was due to the weather – so I think that it is a good!

After this we left The Greyhound and went our own way home with a few deciding to do a little shopping while in Bromley!