With an 11:05am train to catch and still some packing to do, I was up at 7:45am and Joe at 8am. Getting 90% of our packing done, we went out and stopped at Pret but since their filter coffee machine was broken (whimper!), we went to Starbucks instead. Joe was happy, LOL.

In quick order we went back to the room, finished up our packing, brought the luggage downstairs and walked to the train station (that last one wasn’t in such quick order – it was an uphill grade for a good part of the walk). We were there by 10:30ish but everyone else in the group had already arrived. Our train was already there but they were still cleaning/preparing it, so Joe went to buy another Starbucks (there was a kiosk at the station)  and while he was gone, they started letting us onto the train. I could barely carry my own luggage, never mind his, so while everyone else made their way onto the train, I stood at the station and waited for him to get back. He got back a few minutes later and we were able to get on the train too. At least we were able to put our luggage on the luggage racks today…when we went from Manchester to Leeds, someone else used up all the space and we took up twice the usual space, with luggage on several of the seats.

We had a good time on the train – with free wifi and electric plugs, I was able to catch everyone up on John’s blogs and some of the res of the gang clarified who said what when he was talking about anonymous “Singer 1”, “Singer 2”, etc. I’ll never tell, though, LOL! Of special note were Barb’s multiple attempts to take pictures of the rapeseed plants (preferably with a church in the shot – as we rode 155mpg – good luck!), Joe’s bursting out laughing while watch videos on his iPhone (with headphones) and Marcia getting startled every time we passed another train (I can’t repeat the noise she would make…ask her, LOL!)

We arrived on time at Kings Cross Station and went to the meeting place John had designated (he had arrived in London yesterday so he could pick up Darlene and Matt at the airport earlier today, bring them to the hotel and then meet us at the train station’s main entrance now). Except there was no John. We waited a little while and when he still hadn’t arrived, I turned my cell phone on, in case he tried to call or text me (I has given him my cell number before we left, in case he needed to contact us in an emergency). There was still no sign or word from John though, so we called his temporary UK cell he has gotten – it was out of service. So we called his “regular” US cell, in case he had gotten it to work – got his voice mail. So he called Caroline, thinking perhaps she could contact John on a number we didn’t have – but her phone wasn’t answering either. So Joe called the hotel, figuring if Darlene and Matt had landed on time, they would have checked in and we would know that John wasn’t stuck at the airport, waiting for delayed planes…except the hotel didn’t answer their phone either! ARGH! We all agreed that if he didn’t show up by 2pm, we would go on our own. Fortunately, he finally arrived at 1:50ish – he said the information sign at St. Pancras, the neighboring train station, said our train was delayed so he had gotten a bite to eat. I didn’t know information like that could be so wrong from station to station, but that’s what he said.

The original plan was to take the tube from the train station to Gloucester Rd. Station (the hotel was only a half block from there) but 8 of the 9 of us decided to split taxis instead – our luggage was getting the best of us! Joe was the one holdout who decided to take the tube – bye honey, I love you but my luggage weighs almost 3/4 of my body weight, my legs are still MONDO sore from walking the 275 steps yesterday and I’m taking a taxi! Peggy, Marcia, Marge and I shared a cab and the price wasn’t bad at all, once it was split 4 ways.

When we got to the hotel, Joe was already there, as was Darlene (Matt too but he was already at a matinée of Macbeth – as it turned out, Matt had become the hero of the day. Although he had visited England many times before and, in fact, lived in London for a while, Darlene had never been overseas before so when her plane landed, she was counting on John to meet her – and after all, he had left Leeds a day early to ensure being there “to meet Matt and Darlene when they landed”). Except John wasn’t there to meet her plane. He wasn’t waiting at Matt’s plane, either. Fortunately, Matt, whose plane was landing shortly before Darlene’s, had the soundness of mind to go to her gate, “just in case.” Good thing he did. Yay Matt!). The other taxi, which held Steve, Carol and Barb, had arrived a few minutes before us. Joe had checked in while waiting for me to arrive and totally lucked out – the guy at the front desk was Hungarian and noticed that the last name on the reservation was spelled incorrectly (Joe is Hungarian in his dad’s side and it’s a relatively common Hungarian last name). So he started talking to Joe and lo behold, all of a sudden we had a room on the 17th floor, with a great view!

We unpacked most of our stuff and walked to Bobo’s Bubbles, the laundromat I’ve visited for the past 2 years. Just like last year, the washers were fine but as hot as those dryers were, they took freakin’ FOREVER to dry stuff, LOL!

We got back to the room a little after 5pm and, after getting a little more organized, went downstairs to get a better idea of what shows were playing (we knew that a bunch of the Elevator Gang were going to see “Love Never Dies,” the sequel to Phantom of the Opera, but we were going to have other plans). List in hand and mental list of “hopefuls” in brain, we took the Piccadilly line towards the West End & TKTS booth to see what we could get.

When we got there, the computer system for TKTS was down. But with 1.5 to 2 hours before most of the shows opened, we were willing to wait it out for a while. Luckily, they were back up in less than 10 minutes.

Our choices for the evening

Advance Sale Discounted Tickets. Night of 1000 Voices is on the list?!?!?!?!?!

We decided to get tickets for Les Miserables because the last time we saw it (also in London), I fell asleep, partially because I was jet lagged (it was the evening of the dates arrived) and partially because I just couldn’t keep track of the storyline. I was hoping that, with a good night’s sleep behind me and, having sung a bunch of songs from the show in various Sing Live concerts and hearing most of the rest of the songs on Sirius-XM’s Broadway channel, that I’ll be able to know what’s going on this time.

We only had an hour and a half to eat so we went to a Pizza Express near the theatre. I got the Margarita Leggera (that’s what I got at the Pizza Express in Leeds so many times last year, when it was one of the few places within short walking distance to our hotel) and a Peroni beer, which Joe got a pepperoni pizza. It still wasn’t anything near GOOD pizza, but still better than Florida pizza, LOL!

My pizza has a hole in the middle, so less carbs, and a salad in its place

Joe's pizza matched his shirt!

We got to the show and OMG, would you believe that I actually LIKED it? I really think it was because I didn’t have any of the hindrances of the last time we saw it, circa 1995. I was so happy and proud of myself!

When the show was over, we walked to the Tube station and who did we bump into but everyone except Matt – he had gone to see The 39 Steps but everyone else had gone to see Love Never Dies, which they all said they enjoyed.

We got back to our stop and all hung out in the lobby as we made plans for tomorrow – it sounds like a bunch of us will start with a 2-hour walking tour, then we may split up to do different things, based on the group. We’ll see…

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