Monday, 2 October 2017

Day 1: Stockholm

Today, I had booked at Hampstead Theatre, for No One Will Tell Me How to Start a RevolutionNorth London Friends were attending - and charging extra, so I was going it alone! But then it turned out I'm spending the week in the Stockholm office - back on Sunday.

Quite a whirlwind - Ireland for the weekend, flew back last night, then out again this morning. I could've done without the hassle, last night, of the Northern Line breaking down - the doors on one side weren't closing. (I change to that one, and travel two stops for no extra charge to get me closer to home - it's in the same Zone.) Funny how, when the station supervisor arrived, he gave the driver a sobriety test.. anyway, for whatever reason, they finally decided the train was going nowhere, so not only could we not take that one, but neither could we take another on the same line. So I ended up walking.

So, home a bit later than usual - and a 6am start: lovely. Oh, these 6am starts for work-related travel.. I had to be through Goodge Street Station before 7.30, you see, because for the moment it's exit only from then 'till 10 on weekdays, to avoid congestion, because half the lifts are out of order. Well, I dragged myself groggily about, and got myself out and through the station doors at 7.15 - pretty good.

Which got me back to Heathrow less than 12 hours after I'd left it - and earlier than my travel companion! So, I repaired to Costa for breakfast - pretty much the only option before security, but a good 'un. Had a delectable chicken and bacon toastie, and a hot chocolate - cream was extra, but essential. And had just enough time to eat it all before he showed up..

SAS allows a trolley bag and an extra bag - which, for me, was the laptop bag, containing other work-related items as well. So the handbag had to be be emptied and squished into the trolley bag, and the contents dispersed in the work rucksack. Oh, was I glad to get to the other end and retrieve my handbag.. Happily, they were gate-checking trolley bags for free, so we didn't have to carry ours - we did have to wait 15 minutes for them at the other end, but never mind. Seat slightly too uncomfortable to sleep - just like Norwegian, I find - but I had a decent flight.

And, at the other end, a sleek train with plenty of legroom took us past acres of forest, and got us into the main city train station in about 20 minutes. Complete with commentary by, of all people, Björn Ulvaeus, who assured us he had higher motives than plugging the Abba Museum, and the Abba Experience next door..

Arriving at the station, the task was to find the right way out - the hotel was supposed to be nearby. But, of course, Google Maps can never find exactly where I am - and now it was starting to rain. Between us, we got Google Maps to direct us - it ain't that easy, First Hotel Kungsbron is quite discreet. We dumped our bags and left for the office.. an 18-minute walk in pouring rain, but the closest that our travel booking site, Egencia, would offer us!

Google Maps did better this time, and we gratefully escaped the rain, to spend what remained of the day in a bright and airy office, as it got dark outside. When we did leave, it was back out into the rain to search for food - passing along the street to our hotel, we came across 39 Wäst, which looked decent, and ended up there. Subdued lighting, comfy booths - the menu isn't the most extensive, but I must say they do one of the tastiest beef Bourguignons I've had - massive chunks of meat and mushrooms, served with an indifferent mash, mind. And a delicious - if expensive - brownie for dessert. The wine list is comprehensive, and the house white quite acceptable - and reasonably priced. Just under £37 for that much.. not the cheapest, but compared with London, really not exorbitant, and I would recommend it. Just not every night! No problem splitting the bill, either.

The hotel? Really good, so far.. not a great view from the window, but seems quiet, the bed seems lovely and soft, the facilities are fine - and how good they are at squeezing things into a small space! More to follow - looking forward to that bed, soon.

Tomorrow, it was free comedy in Hammersmith - nominally. With Free Comedy Nights in Hammersmith, Wimbledon and Greenwich. So, that was easy to cancel!

Wednesday was Up in the Cheap Seats and Labour of Love, with Martin Freeman, at the Noel Coward Theatre. Cheapest tickets from the venue, which I'm finding lately has been the norm!

Thursday, same group - headed to see the Company Wayne McGregor, at Sadler's Wells.

And finally! on Friday, I was headed to see Chekhov's The Seagull, at the Lyric. Third night in a row for that group - almost as busy a group as I am a person! So, four things in all I had to cancel, without refund.. what the hey, I'll doubtless be saving money here! Expenses paid, after all.

Next Monday, I'm finally going to see the show so many people have asked me whether I'm seeing. Ink is showing at the Duke of York's Theatre. 

On the 10th October, I'm back with Up in the Cheap Seats for Ballet Boyz at Sadler's Wells.

On the 11th October, back with Funzing (London Speaks Sessions and LDN Talks @ Night) for a talk on Revolution in Iran: Girl with a Gun. This will be an interview with a female Kurdish revolutionary.. on the Battersea Barge, which I believe can get choppy. Never mind. This is one I got for free, for completing a loyalty card with three talks.

On the 12th October, Let's Do This are back to St. Martin-in-the-Fields, where London Concertante is performing Bach Violin Concertos. Then I'm back to Ireland for the weekend again.

And on the 16th October, back at Southwark Playhouse with Up in the Cheap Seats - this time, it's for A Day By the Sea.

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