I write from my bed next to the open window. Outside the sun is still blazing down, as it has been all week, and the air smells of barbeques. All this at the beginning of October. It's a strange sensation, walking about in a sundress in 29 degree heat, crunching through autumn leaves and fallen conkers. Am certainly not complaining though!
Had a fantastic time with Ellen. She arrived in the blistering heat and so we began by having a little picnic in a park near the river. Ruby's show was excellent. Truly brilliant: at times very funny and then immediately shocking or poignant, mixed with beautiful music sung by the very talented Judith Owen. Really glad we went before it closes.
The rest of our time was really marked by a variety of celebrity spots (just as I was complaining they'd all gone into hiding!) On the way to work we nearly got run over by Helen Lederer, hurrah! :D Then I met up with some workmates and we saw Mackenzie Crook buried under a baseball cap in McDonalds and Mark Rylance eating sushi in the window of the restaurant opposite the theatre. Friend Mark, who is a massive fan, spontaneously grinned and waved at him and Mark R returned the favour.
Wee bit of drama at work as when we arrived there was no power backstage so there was some doubt as to whether the show could go ahead. As we were standing at the stage door talking about it, Chris Larkin, who acts in the show turned up on his bike, signed an autograph and stood around chatting for a while.
Anyway, they (unfortuntely) fixed the power and we did the show. Afterwards, there was a bit of a work night out happening, so after finding Ellen again we hit Soho with everyone else. It really is another world, this theatreland: so many people casually chatting about their 'friend' who acts in such and such a show, or what Matt Lucas was like backstage when in Les Miserables (apparently joking around to the point of driving the crew crazy!) Visited a slightly dubious yet cheap club after which Ellen and I departed for the bus (whereon we met a very interesting tea selling guy, to whom Ellen informed she preferred drinking coffee), home and flop.
The following day we breakfasted in Patisserie Valerie because we could. We then paid a swift visit to the National Portrait Gallery (no sign of French painters) before heading back west to the BBC. Last time I did a BBC tour it was a Saturday and thus very quiet. Quite the opposite on a Friday! To start with, we had to walk past the huge line of people queuing to get into the Strictly Come Dancing audience (this was at 2pm; the show didn't start til 9). Whilst we were waiting in the lobby, Ellen spotted Fiona Bruce coming into work. In the doughnut there were some of the Strictly dancers practising (showing off) and we were taken to a viewing gallery of a studio where Chris Moyles was practising hitting somebody over the head repeatedly with a frying pan ('Bottom' tribute? Not sure - it also seemed to involve a live bird of prey which was flying around the studio; bit odd). I was busy puzzling why I hadn't done a tour on the previous Friday...
Took Ellen back to Euston then headed off for work. My feet were killing me (again) and it was a manically busy shift - the busiest since open night and over 50 people came in late and had to be dealt with (by which I meant organised to be taken in at the scene change, not punished...). Saturday's shifts were mainly defined by the unbearable heat. Between shifts we picknicked in Soho Square which was lovely, but returning to the stuffy theatre was mildy painful. The managers did bring in edible treats for us though as a 'well done' for making it 2 weeks and for how well we 'dealt with' the late comers the night before. I met Ollie after the show, who had decided to come down again. We went for a wander so I could show him around and then bussed it back home. Today we went for a stroll through Hyde Park, had coffee by the Serpentine and continued to walk through Green Park before he went home. I'm off up there on Wednesday in preparation for us jetting off to Croatia! Exciting!!!! And, happily, the weather here is meant to have turned by then, so hopefully we'll be chasing the sunshine.
Busy Piccadilly Circus on a Saturday night: