On arriving at Cambridge station platform 3 at 16:01, the only person there was Jonathan Dimbleby (using a mobile phone). There was a late rush to board just before the 16:15 non-stop train left (1 minute late). I bought a can of Pepsi (there being no Coca-Cola available) from the trolley service - for 75p. Ouch!
I'd booked my room on Sunday, using Lastminute for the first time (£75). Before that I'd tried phoning the Travel Inn (Whitbread; all rooms £69) in County Hall but no-one answered. I phoned the hotel on Thursday morning just to be sure the room was booked!
Room facilities (at this relative cost) have come on since I was last in a hotel room. The wardrobe had just been fitted with a safe, operated by charge card. The Philips TV was also a radio, alarm clock and had pay-per-view programmes plus a games console. There was a hair dryer and a trouser press.
I was in two minds about whether to get to the theatre by taxi or foot: it was largely cloudy with the potential for rain once the sun set. From looking at a map I reckoned it should take around 20-25 minutes to walk there and set off about 19:00. Partly to go via wider pavements and partly to avoid any Friday evening drunken revellers around Covent Garden (the more direct route), I went via Kingsway, Aldwych (spotting the Duchess Theatre, with Copenhagen on, which I was thinking of seeing the following day) and the Victoria Embankment, arriving at the theatre at 19:20.
To kill time I carried on up Northumberland Avenue and at last found the famous Sherlock Holmes pub at the corner of Northumberland Street and Craven Passage. It's also a museum for the collection of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London. There were crowds of suits inside and out - ditto at the other end of the Passage at the Ship and Shovell. I decided to return after the show, as most drinkers would have dispersed to their suburban homes by then.
I walked on through the Arches Arcade to Villiers Street, through Embankment Place arcade round to the theatre.
There were a lot of people of all types about even though there was some drizzle. Beforehand I wondered how safe I'd feel and how many drunks there'd be. The general view seems to be that theatreland and similar parts of central London are pretty safe: the key is probably the mix of ages and venues.
|[The Cambridge Drinking Circuit]|