The bus to London from Leeds was about another 5 hour ride. The coaches really are quite an easy and pleasant way to go. I booked all my bus trips through National Express after being recommended them by Kay in Bristol. I only experienced one delay, and that was the same day as train strikes so the system was definitely under a bit of added pressure that day.

I arrived in London during the evening and headed to catch the underground Circle train for the first time ever. It wan’t the best of timing my arrival, as all trains on the main line at Victoria station were cancelled due to some issue that police were investigating. So a lot of extra traffic was heading for the train at the same time. I just decided to wait an extra 15 minutes till the next train and managed to get on one that wasn’t as packed!

My accomodation was an easy 4 minute walk from the station. After carrying my suitcase up 3 flights of stairs and catching my breath, I went and picked up some supplies from the local shop. I had planned on having mostly a working day on Wednesday. I pretty much just left the house for the waxing appointment I had made for myself. I found a spot right near where I was staying and the woman waxing me was amazing! Pleasant to chat with and she did a good job.

I had plans for the next few days so keeping on top of work was high on my to do list. I just chilled and was a bit boring. Breaking up my working hours with a little bit of Netflix viewing.

On Thursday though, it got a bit more exciting. I got up and got ready to head to Chelsea to catch up with Marie. We hadn’t seen each other since 2019, when she had to uproot herself from Melbourne and move to London to quickly get married. Well after a 5 year long distance relationship, I guess it isn’t that quickly. I also got to meet her 4 month old baby Edward. Now, everyone knows I am not a big baby person. However he was a very quiet and well behaved babe. I was very happy to see Marie looking well and so happy herself.

It was really nice to get to catch up and chat about Jayne, especially as Marie missed out on spending the last year with Jayne. We all went to high school together, and when Jayne and Marie were living in London years ago they reconnected. Through Jayne and hosting some events, and musical watching nights – Marie and I got to reconnect too. We knew each other at school, but never really had classes together or hung out much outside of school. It’s been really nice to connect and become friends all these years later. I also loved that she made the 40 minute train ride into London from where she lives to come spend the day with me.

We caught up at a cute vegan food place that Marie had found, before we headed to the V&A Museum. It was so nice to just wander about, chatting and catching up on all the things. I now have another person who is encouraging me to spend more of my days on this side and part of the world.

I had tickets to see Les Misérables in Soho, an early birthday present from my folks. Marie and I decided to head to that side of town and she arranged for Steven (her husband) to come meet up with us there. We sat and had a snack, I had a coffee, while Edward had a feed and chatted. It was nice to get to meet Steven as well. Having only heard about him over the years as a distant person. It was really nice to see them all happy and very cute together as a family. We then said goodbye and parted ways as it was time for me to head to the theatre!

Another one of those things that depending on your level of knowledge about me, is that Les Misérables is my favourite musical! Seeing it in London has been on my to do list since I first heard the Original 1985 London Cast recording. I was introduced to Les Mis by one of my teachers when I was in about grade 4. That was it, I was done. I wanted to be Éponine. I still connect with her character and emotions so much. This show was incredible and the staging absolutely amazing! I have seen the show three times previously in Melbourne (two different productions). Each time is an emotional experience. This is the one soundtrack and pieces of music that evoke more emotion in me more than anything else. I have a physical reaction to the score and the performances by the cast were stunning! This was one of the best birthday presents I have ever received.

After the show I headed back to my accomodation and called my folks to tell them all about it! I gushed to them for a bit, before heading to bed. The next morning I got ready and did some work before going to meet Annabel. If you’ve been following along for a while then you may remember her. Incase you don’t, we met at Outlook Festival in Croatia at the end of July. We also caught up briefly when I firstly arrived in the UK.

I went and caught the tube to Euston and met up with Annabel. She offered some suggestions for things to do and one of those was to go visit Richmond Park and see some deer. I said yes to seeing deer! So we made the multiple trains and walking to get to the park. It’s such an incredible space and I can understand why Annabel comes here often. The deer roam freely and we did come across lots of Bambi’s. Apparently there are two deer breeds in the park but we only saw the one on our visit. I also got to check out the different UK bird life. There were plenty of ducks and geese about!

Originally Annabel thought she was going to have to work on Friday, but it turned out that she didn’t so we decided to make plans for my last night in London. We jumped on TodayTix and it turned out that she had never seen Wicked and wanted to. Currently in the cast as Elphaba was a performer she adored. I love Wicked and had also considered going to see it again. On my first night in London I downloaded the TodayTix app and was umming and ahhing between Wicked and Hamilton. So while waiting for the train back to near where I was staying we booked some tickets to Wicked, with pretty decent seats and a reasonable price. We just popped by my place so I could put the clothes I had washed on to dry (make my packing life later on easier), also did some top up charging while there.

We found a vegan food place near the theatre and decided to head there via Hyde Park. Stopping to feed the birds some crusts that Annabel had in her bag. There was an incredible Winter Wonderland amusement happening in the middle of Hyde Park. There were so many rides and it looked mental! It would be a good place to go on a date I reckon, obviously good for families and young people. We went and fed the ducks before heading to feed ourselves.

After we ate it was time to head to the theatre, grab a drink, and find our seats. This was my third theatre show in a week. Such a good way to spend week time. The show was magical! I was so glad that I got to experience watching it again with someone for the first time. It was interesting to see it with a London cast as it was performed with English accents. Obviously I am very familiar with the original US cast recording – I have listened to that many times while driving. (even having a random car load of people stop next to me at traffic lights for a sing along one night). However I saw the production twice in Melbourne and the songs were sung still with Americanised pronunciations. Not Australian. So hearing it Englishised was cool.

After the show Annabel and I headed to the station and caught our separate trains home. It was so amazing to catchup with her again. It has been an absolute joy getting to know her and adding another friend to my collection. I just went home and started to pack, getting ready to check out the next morning.