We're currently in the deepest, darkest, rainiest, twistiest country lanes on the border of Wales and England. We're doing a day of seeing family which started with lunch with the parents in Thaxted: for the record, two different soups, and a wonderful platter of breads and cheeses.
The drive to Wales was a nightmare. A terrible gale was blowing, which actually took our wing mirror clean off the side of the car, and the traffic was ghastly, particularly around Birmingham. It took us just over four hours to complete the journey. Still, when we arrived, Nathan's sister, Sam, had cooked us a wonderful meal and there was tea and cake and two friendly cats at Celia's. Mind you, the shock of having a wing mirror fly off a car on a motorway will live with me for some time!
It took us two hours to get back to Highgate from Chiswick last night, which was fairly unpleasant in the driving rain. We'd gone to Chiswick to see a show at Arts Ed drama school which was choreographed and MD'd by two men we have our eye on for similar roles on Brass. Frankly, I'd have booked them both on the spot. The standard of their work and creative vision was absolutely remarkable. The standard of the Arts Ed students was, furthermore, brilliant. That drama school is definitely one of THE places to study musical theatre at the moment, although I hear very good things about Urdang as well...
Our travel nightmare began upon reaching Turnham Green tube and discovering that the 48-hour tube workers' strike had already begun. They're sneaky little bastards, those tube workers. We're told normal services won't be resumed until midday on Friday, which by my calculation is a 66-hour strike. Longer than advertised. As a result, I find myself with little sympathy for them, whatever their cause. How easy it is to get what you want when you can bring a city's infrastructure to its knees in just two days. Oh, that the miners or the teachers in the 1980s had that sort of power.
I'm a great believer in the right to strike, but only if those doing the striking express themselves in the form of a picket line, or a visible demonstration which gives passers-by the opportunity to learn why they're striking. In the case of tube workers, it is unacceptable, in fact, unforgivable not to have made sure LU staff were present at tube stations to help worried people to plan alternative journeys home. The curious absence of any staff at Turnham Green makes me assume that staff simply slunk off early, either to the pub, or back home for an earlier tea than usual.
...So two busses it was for us, the first of which snaked its way through Kensington so slowly that if it weren't for the rain, I'd have leapt out and walked to Camden myself. My legs went entirely fizzy, all cooped up as they were on the upper deck!