At least this time I had uninterrupted sleep and ventured out to Covent Garden Market after 11. There was a special Christmas market in operation with many temporary wooden huts as stalls on the east and north sides - all with a pine smell. There was some exotic stuff, such as Bavarian noodles and a Dutch or German glassblower with intricate objects, but all under the heading of nick-nack presents rather than every-day stuff. There was a huge crowd browsing through these and the permanent shops.
At noon is strolled along the Stand to Somerset House hoping to see the first Hermitage display [more of this later] but the queue was two hours' long, even in the heavy rain. I resolved to buy tickets online for another time. A temporary skating rink was being erected in the courtyard for the Christmas period.
Instead I went back to Porters and had a lamb and apricot pie (with a big head of puff pastry) and claret, followed by steamed syrup sponge pud and several cups of coffee (£17.75). There were only a few others in this early - it seemed to get busy around 13:00.
To pass the time I went around the corner to the Porterhouse for some Red Ale and read for a while. The place was only about a third full till about 13:30. The side alley, Exchange Court, runs down to the Strand and I went this way to the Playhouse Theatre.
The first part, Space Panorama, consisted of a part-monologue, part-mime piece about the Apollo 11 mission, part serious, part poetic, part gentle satire on NASA. It was very evocative.
The main part, Thunderbirds FAB, had me puzzling for the previous two months. The more I thought about it, the more I thought I'd seen it c1985 at the Arts Theatre, Cambridge, though I eventually remembered it as Thunderbirds Are FAB (rightly or wrongly). The programme notes confirmed that the show was there then.
The "story" was a mix of Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet, with International Rescue versus the Mysterons. The two performers rushed about madly, with quick costume changes and especially changes of hats to indicate which Thunderbird they were. The hats were made by the bloke who made the original models for Gerry Anderson.
It all made hilarious sense, in a confused way! It poked fun at all things Gerry Anderson and the encore of Stingray was particularly well received.
For most people the highlight is the Thunderbird 2 take-off, especially the trees - it has to be seen! The programme included cut-out pieces for doing it at home.
Next I went via tube and foot to High Holborn, hoping to find Red Lion Square and the Dolphin Tavern but failed. I went to the Pizza Express by the NT. I'd been feeling increasingly iffy since the pint of 6X but began to feel better afterwards and went back to the Strand. I had hoped to go to the Coal Hole there but it was closed, so I went to the Porterhouse again for an Oyster Stout, in the hope it would further settle me.