We had a lovely day today. We took one of the walking tour cards that Andy and Nancy have been using in Chicago (um, the Chicago version obviously, the London version would be a bit useless there.) And walked around Old Street, which is practically (if not actually) my neighborhood.
It turns out that there are a bunch of marvelous little galleries around that I never would have noticed had it not been for the walking tour card. My favorites were The White Cube Gallery ( www.whitecube.com ) with it's 3D fluorescent tube sculpture and Morse code window blinds; and Open Studio ( www.openstudiospace.com ) which has awesome graffiti art and kind of blew my mind.
We ate lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant near the Geffrye Museum. It had a start by its name in the Time Out Cheap Eats guide, but I didn't think was all that good. The museum however is AWESOME. The Geffrye has 10 (or 12?) rooms set up to look like the main living room of London houses in various periods covering 400 years up to the 1990's. Each room was decorated for Christmas according to how it would have been during that era, which meant that mostly it wasn't terribly christmassey until the Victorian room which was then ridiculous. My favorites were the aesthetic movement room from the 1870's and the 1910 suburban living room which actually confused me quite a lot because it looked current to me. Then I remembered that I grew up in a craftsman house, so of course it looked familiar. (Actually, what it looked most like to me was Margaret Nolan's house from when Laine and Andrea and I were all little. Even the furniture and the color scheme.)
We meant to go to Troy's, a restaurant that Ruthe and Frank recommended, but found out that many London restaurants close between 3 and 6 to prepare for the dinner hours and we needed to eat fairly early- so instead we ended up at Shish, a restaurant specializing in silk road cuisine. (The word 'cuisine' irritates me, but is appropriate here.) It was quite good and the service was very friendly. We had to rush off though in order to get to Mary Poppins.
I wasn't expecting to really like Mary Poppins all that much. I didn't like the movie when I was younger (except for Dick Van Dyke because he was funny) and I hadn't heard anything about the musical. It turned out to be charming. The set was amazing with all sorts of huge moving pieces. You could only see one storey of the house at any given time, but at one point or another saw three over the course of the show, four if you count the roof. Then for the chimney sweep song the choreography was incredibly energetic and at one point what's his face the chimney sweep guy was walking not only along the walls of the stage, but also along the ceiling. I was grinning in spite of myself. There were a bunch of new songs too.
The relationship between the parents is charming and reasonable (so rarely does the entertainment industry show people actually working through their problems that it is always a pleasant surprise when they do.) And the love story between Mary Poppins and what's his face the chimney sweep guy was the most restrained you'll ever see. (which was also charming.) During the bows he kissed Mary Poppins's cheek and it was as satisfying an ending for that story line as the weddings that normally end musicals. Also, what's his face the chimney sweep guy was played by Gavin Creel from Thoroughly Modern Millie, so that was totally cool. I bought a program which normally would help me to remember what what's his face the chimney sweep guy's real name was, but I left it upstairs. Sorry.