As a treat for my birthday my hubby arranged for a weekend break away in London to see Sister Act at the London Palladium, followed by a meal in 'Floridita' a Cuban restuarant and dance club that plays live latin music. We continue to push the boundaries, although on the previous three occasions when we have been to the theatre in London I have been so tired I have struggled to finish my meal.
We travelled down by car and it took a little over 2 hours to reach our hotel without any dramas on the way. I had felt surpisingly well on the journey considering what a very poor day friday had turned out to be with bad headaches and low energy. First problem of the day, at checkin we were informed we couldn't have a room until 2 o'clock, no big deal you might think but we had travelled down in casual clothing expecting to change at the hotel into something a little more dressed up for the theatre and Floriditas. Once we explained the situation the receptionist said we could have a twin room which was available if we didn't mind single beds, well beggars can't be choosers so we gratefully accepted. Second problem of the day, hubby noticed on the reception desk that the central line underground we had planned to use to get into central London was closed for maintenance work . The receptionist came to our assistence once again telling us that london Underground was laying on a free bus service to take passengers to the next available tube station, in our case " Willesden junction " on the" Bakerloo Line", a direct link to " Oxford Circus " and the London Palladium.
After changing, and a brief rest we went on our way to catch the bus at North Acton tube station, and after a short while we were on the underground and on our way. During the journey I could feel the spoons running out and I thought here we go again, give me a break somebody! I could see by the look on my hubbys face that he could tell I was starting to falter, he told me to close my eyes and try to relax. I tried using my meditation techniques I use at home and by the time we arrived at our destination the worst had passed and I managed to locate a few spare spoons from somewhere lol.
We had 45 minutes to spare before we needed to go to the theatre so we used it wisely by having a drink and rest break at the nearby Libre a small restuarant, more spoons located thankfully. On arrival at the theatre we were informed that we could exchange our tickets for better seats and to make our way to the box office. My hubby cheekily asked at the box office if they had any seats on the front row, " yes sir" came the reply " would you like those?"
" yes please " replied my husband who couldn't believe our luck.
Two seats on the front row of the stalls right next to the orchestrial pit what a scoop! Fabulous seats, we were both delighted with our good fortune, good fortune that would desert us later that night. The show was everything we had hoped for, full of energy, full of laughter and full of great music, it was a joy to behold. At times I was totally mesmerized by the conductor of the show, you could see from such close proximity the effort he was putting in to control the orchestra and it was paying off, wonderful to see and well done to him for delivering a night to remember.
After the show we made our way towards the restaurant on the edge of Soho, it was a slow walk, the buzz from the show was beginning to fade along with it my remaining spoons but we made it there eventually. Well what can I say about the Floridita restuarant, very smart looking establishment, very polite staff, first impressions very good and that always puts you at ease.
Hubby had a champagne cobbler cocktail which he said was very nice. I didn't want to try anything alocholic, I have fallen out with all alochol big style since coming down with CFS/ME, instead I had a mango and gingerbeer cocktail which was most refreshing. We where later shown to our table situated directly in front of a large speaker with Latin music thankfully not playing too loudly in the background.
The menu was very inviting and after consulting with the waiter I settled on grilled chicken topped with a green tomatoe and chillie salsa, with a blackbean side order - Cuban Favourite. Not surprisingly hubby opted for 16oz sirloin steak, medium of course, with green pepper sauce, yucca chips and mushrooms. We didn't have to wait long, very efficient service and delicious food. The steak was finished off without any complaints, my only complaint being there was too much chicken for me but as ever hubby was at hand to help finish it off.
The restuarant come dance club quickly began to fill up and the background noise was beginning to get to me as it had done on a previous night out with friends. I so wanted to stay and listen to the live band and watch people dance to the Latin beat but hubby could see the signs in my face long before it became evident to me. He suggested it was better we left because we still had some way to go back to the hotel especially with having to wait for and catching a bus.
We made it slowly back to Willesden Junction tube station and waited for only 5 minutes for our return bus back to North Acton tube station. This is where our good fortune ran out, the driver didn't stop in the same place we got on at, and when he did stop the bus ,he didn't announce that this was the stop for North Acton and by the time we realised he was on his way again. So what should have been a 10 minute return journey turned into a nightmare journey of nearly 2 hours by the time we had visited all the stops along the central line all the way out to West Ruislip.
Now before you start to shake your heads the driver was hopeless 3 other passengers missed their stops due to the driver not announcing where he was stopping and these appeared to be locals not tourists like me and my hubby. It was a very uncomfortable and tiring journey only made bearable by 2 young gay guys who got onto the bus. For 20 minutes they seemed oblivious to others as they argued at the top of their voices non stop about their love lives and who was being faithful and unfaithful. It was amazing to hear the goings on of these two young lads, the highlight for me was when one of them with a very strong Irish accent asked his partner to swear on his mothers life that he had been faithful to him, classic stuff even his partner laughed at him for that one.
They were still at it as we all eventually got off the bus at North Acton - priceless, just priceless, young love it's wonderful isn't it.
Overall, out of the 4 occassions we have been to London to watch shows since being diagnosed with CFS/ME, I managed to cope with this one the best. I even managed to enjoy my meal, instead of being too exhausted to finish like on previous occassions. So I will take this one to the bank and hope to build on that in the future, knowing full well that at any minute the spoon catcher can unexpectedly appear and selfishly take everything for himself!