Life in London

Shopping, a ship and a musical

Well it’s been a while since my last post, so I thought it was probably time to write an update.

Last week we went into the city to see an accountant from 1st Contact to discuss employment and tax options. It looks like chances are things will work out better, tax-wise, for Andre to set up his own Limited company to be contracted under. We can pay 1st Contact to do all the bookkeeping, legal stuff and tax and still works out much better than going under the normal pay-as-you-earn (pay as you go, in Australia) tax system.

After that we decided to explore Oxford St which we’ve never done before. I’m fast becoming a fan of H&M and bought a cardigan there, and found a pair of flat boots at a shoe shop. We also discovered a lolly shop where we bought some lollies, but otherwise we didn’t really buy very much. We also wandered through a bit of the Soho area but didn’t buy anything. We ended up down at Regent St which is all decked out advertising the NFL exhibition match which is coming up, and also came across a Nespresso store. We left with a Nespresso pod machine and aerocino milk frother, much to Andre’s excitement! The pod machines (or the cheap ones, anyway) are about half the price of an espresso machine, and also about half the size (or smaller!), so despite the fact the pods are probably more expensive than loose ground coffee (or coffee beans, which would require a coffee grinder), we thought they would be a better option for our time in London than an actual espresso machine.

A few days later we took a trip into Greenwich to see the Cutty Sark. The Cutty Sark was a tea clipper (later wool clipper) which holds the record for the fastest trip under sail from Australia to London. It has been open to the public since the 50s, aside for a few years recently when it underwent significant restorations, set back by a big fire in 2007. Fortunately a lot of the innards had already been removed as part of the restorations, but it meant the ship wasn’t reopened until April last year. You can wander nearly everywhere on the boat, and it is set into the roof of the hall below where the cafe is located, so you can walk underneath it to see the hull. We took a walk through the grounds of the Old Naval Military College afterwards, but it was at closing time so we didn’t go in.

Then this week, we attended our first West End play – Spamalot, based on Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail. We were especially excited by the fact actor Warwick Davis was in it (Prof. Flitwick and Griphook from Harry Potter; Marvin from Hitchhiker’s Guide; among many other roles). I think most of the audience members were there to see him, because he got the biggest applause when he made his first appearance on stage, and also go the biggest applause at the end! The play was very good and a lot of fun – a lot of familiar parts from the movie, with some satirical jabs at musical theatre, and some modern jokes thrown in (“as Prince Harry would say, ‘what happens in Camelot, stays in Camelot!’ ” and “let’s go to Madame Tussaud’s and take a hair drier, and melt Justin Bieber’s face!”) The acting, dancing and singing was all very good, and it was a very relaxed, friendly show due to the intimate nature of the theatre – the Playhouse Theatre is probably half the size of the Civic Theatre back home, if that. There were a few instances where actors struggled to keep a straight face – and one or two instances where any hope of keeping a straight face went out the window – but the audience loved it and it made us laugh all the more! Now the question is, which show to see next?

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