Tuesday 20 March 2012

A weekend of secrets revealed

As it's only an hour or so by train from Oxford, our visits to London are usually day trips.  Trying to cram a lot in to one day means that we get home late and tired.  For Steve's birthday treat, I thought it would be a good idea to stay over and do things at a more relaxed pace.  So that's what we did last weekend. 

Our Last Minute "Top Secret" hotel deal was revealed as The Cumberland Hotel, Marble Arch.

Steve photographing the artwork, Cumberland Hotel lobby
Perfectly placed for the express bus stop from Oxford and within walking distance of the theatre where we had tickets for the matinee performance of Agatha Christie's The Mouse Trap, the world's longest running play.  

We treated ourselves to lunch on Saturday at Rhodes W1 brasserie in the hotel, and walked from there to the theatre. It was a bit further than we had anticipated and, with hindsight, we should have allowed more time.  As a result, we were both puffing by the time we arrived, but were in our seats before the curtain went up.  We enjoyed the murder mystery, a play very much of its time and acted accordingly.  Steve had worked out the identity of murderer by the third act - I waited to the reveal at the end! However, although we now know who did it, we're sworn to secrecy, so that one thing I won't reveal.  

We spent the evening at Tate Modern, with drinks and nibbles in the Members Room followed by a visit to the Alighiero Boetti exhibition.  I confess, he's not someone we had heard of before, but the more we saw, the more we were drawn in by his work and approach to art. Back at the hotel, Steve was delighted to see the final score in the England-Ireland Six Nations rugby match.  I think he has forgiven me for organizing a weekend away at such a critical time in the rugby calender.  At least he knew he would enjoy watching the recording of the match back at home!

After a good night's sleep (ah, the joy of not having to travel back to Oxford late at night!) we set off on Sunday morning for a quick photo session at the new concourse, King Cross (below), before heading off east to Stratford for another exhibition.  

Kings Cross new concourse roof

This time it was "Golden Greats" a collection of photographs by Drew Gardner and Lucinda Marland which captured all the British sportsmen and women over 60 years old who had won Olympic gold medals.  Fascinating images and stories.  

The exhibition venue in the John Lewis store at Westfield overlooked the Olympic site and that's where we headed off to after lunch, walking around the perimeter with good views of the main stadium, the aquatics centre, the water polo arena and Anish Kapoor's Orbit, a 115m high observation tower at the heart of the park.  Can't wait to go up it, when it's finished and open to the public!  

Aquatics Centre

Main Olympic Stadium

Orbit observation tower

The walk took us round the southern perimeter of the site, ending up at the "View Tube" on the Green Way, part of the Capitol Ring long distance footpath.  From there, it was a short walk to the Pudding Mill Lane DLR stop and back to Marble Arch to collect our case from the hotel and hop on the bus home.  

So that marks the end of Steve's 65th birthday celebrations. Life will resume a more normal pace for the next few weeks, while we sort out arrangements for special things to do in April, May and June before Steve's next hospital assessment.  However, today the sky is blue, the clematis is flowering in the garden, and there are two large vases of Mother's Day flowers brightening up the front room - lots of small things to take pleasure in on a day-to-day basis.  

Sometimes, I feel guilty writing about the good times we are having, when so many others are less fortunate. However, I'm told that it helps others to know there is hope (and a life after chemo) even when you've had a mesothelioma diagnosis, so I guess I'll just carry on writing and send our love to all to meso warriors, their families and friends who are having tough times at present.  

1 comment:

  1. Happy belated wishes Steve, well done for spending a wonderful time doing what you both love. It's good to feel normal and do things that everyone else takes for granted.
    Linda I know you will have many special things sorted for the next three months, so good to see the sun shine, that in itself is a great spirit lifter.
    Have fun and enjoy
    Jan x