Tuesday, September 6th–London, written Wednesday, September 7

Computer problems; over to a computer repair shop in Chelsea by cab; getting slightly lost on the way back to the Globe Theatre; trying to contact my London podcaster friend; dinner at the Swan; "A midsummer night's dream"; back home by the Tube

Best Western Cromwell



Tuesday was a bad day in several ways. In the middle of the night, when my laptop's screen still had not faded to blank as it usually did when I didn't use it for over an hour, I went over and closed the lid on it as I'd done hundreds of times before. After I woke up and tried to restart the laptop I couldn't. It kept saying I needed to enter a password to log in, wouldn't accept the pin I'd been using or the password HP had reset it to the last time I had this problem, and kept telling me I wasn't connected to the Internet even when someone from the reception desk sent up an actual cable to connect to the network socket here on my desk.

Since I have a support agreement with Hewlett Packard, the manufacturer of my laptop, I called them after turning roaming back on for my home iPhone. I talked with at least three people there who were pretty unhelpful telling me I needed to be online before they could help me, even though I kept telling them that the laptop said I had to be logged in to even access the wifi and didn't connect when directly plugged into the wall network socket. I was rather angry and upset when I hung up for the last time.

I went online via the hotel's wifi on my Kindle Fire and smart phones and found several computer repair shops in the local area. I called a couple of them and learned they were basically mobile services with no physical shop to go to. One thing the last person at HP had suggested was trying to log in to the Internet via wifi or a network from some other physical location so I thought I'd better find a place I could actually bring my laptop into, and I eventually found one not to far over in Chelsea. It's not a far walk from here but I was not feeling very well yesterday, including being a little more dizzy than usual, so I took a cab over about noon. I paid the 30 GBP express service fee and left my laptop there. I was very clear that I needed it back sometime Wednesday, working and repaired or not, since I'm leaving for Paris Thursday morning, and took another cab back here to the hotel.

I hadn't heard anything around 3:30, shortly before I needed to leave to catch the Tube on over to the London Bridge station for my 5:15 dinner at the Globe before "A midsummer night's dream" so I called the PC repair shop before I left and stressed I really needed my laptop back sometime Wednesday (today).

I really should have stayed on the Tube all the way to the London Bridge station. The station before that is Southwark, which I mistakenly thought was near the Southwark Cathedral, which I also mistakenly thought was before you get to the Globe, and got off at Southwark. Because I thought I knew where I was going I left my earbuds back here at the hotel, and apparently kept missing turns because the Google Maps on my new Samsung smart phone kept repeating turns and when I checked my progress I kept having the same distance to go and at one spot had even got further away. Not long before 4:45 I gave up and caught a cab directly to the Swan restaurant at the Globe.

Tuesday morning before I left I had left one last message for Alan, my London podcasting friend, telling him I still hoped to see him before I left but my time would largely be taken up waiting for my laptop to be repaired. Right after I got to the Globe I had a few minutes before my dinner reservation and checked my phone and Alan had left me a voice mail message earlier, so I called him and also got his voice mail.

I remember that last year I thought dinner at the Swan was kind of pretentious and worth it more for the ambience, with a lovely view of the Thames, than for the amount of food they serve for the price. It's not the most expensive meal I've ever had, though. I had forgotten that their pre-theater, set price menu is rather limited with only three appetizers, three main courses, and three desserts. I had a very nice cold pea soup, some lovely broiled or grilled hake with tapenade and something with peppers I couldn't eat and an OK cherry tart for the dessert.

I'd done OK with my ticket for last night. I was on the 2nd balcony, about 8:30 on the clock face with 12 being the back of center stage. I had also chosen a seat to the left of an aisle so I could stretch my right leg when I needed to.

The set for "A midsummer night's dream" was basically very basic, and at it's most complicated looked rather like a kind of seedy nightclub. They also had three smaller tables almost stage height among the groundlings which the actors often used. For some reason most of the area above the groundlings was filled with large white balloons.

On the whole it was an excellent performance, with several twists. Bottom was the only male among the workers rehearsing their play, and they made Demetrius at least bisexual by turning Helena into Helenus who was very good. As in some productions of "Dream", they used the same actors to play Titania & Hipployta and Theseus & Oberon in different costumes. When the actress was being Hippolyta she had a sort of Russian accent; when the actor was being Theseus he wore a wig and sunglasses. For some reason he often sounded rather drunk when he was being either character.

The setting was sort of seedy 20th Century London nightclub; I rather thought Titania's fairies were sort of cheap knockoffs of something from the Notting Hill Carnival but the rest of the audience loved them.

On the whole I thought it was an excellent production, with wonderful and interesting live music and all the actors were great.

The belt I've been wearing has a detachable buckle to make it adjustable, and as I was walking up from the Globe to where London Bridge Station really is to catch the Tube back here the bucke kept detaching and my pants kept falling down. I decided the teeth on the latch weren't gripping correctly and I needed to perform a minor surgery on the belt to give the buckle somewhere better to grip.

I got back here shortly after 11. I think as usual I stopped for a sandwich at the Tesco Express across from the Tube station, since I had eaten dinner so early. Afterwards I called Michael since he had said he'd be home that evening.

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