Final Trip of the Year – London for the Dick Whittington Pantomime at the London Palladium

My, how the year has flown by. I have come up to London for the final time this year to see the big Qdos pantomime at the London Palladium – Dick Whittington starring the big names in showbiz – Julian Clary, Elaine Page, Paul Zerdin & Sam, Gary Wilmot, Ashley Banjo and Diversity, and Charlie Stemp, who we saw earlier in the year in the excellent ‘Half a Sixpence.

We travelled up from Poole by train, not a good experience as the first train had no heating then we had to have a replacement bus from Southampton Central to Southampton Airport Parkway as they were doing engineering work in the tunnel.  Finally we reached Waterloo and had a quick tube transfer and short walk to the Liverpool Street Travelodge.  We intended to have a quick meal there before making our way to the Palladium. Unfortunately there was a choice of pizza, chips or both as there was a problem with the catering, so we opted for a pizza.

It was easy enough to catch the central line tube to Oxford Circus station, which is just round the corner from the theatre.  We were up in the gods but had a fine view:


Once the pantomime started  the time flew by. A London Qdos pantomime is really the creme de la creme of pantos, as was Cinderella last year.  All the cast are brilliant.  Julian Clary is always a laugh and he had some amazing costumes and general banter with cast and audience alike.  Diversity are always in sync with inventive dance routines.  Paul Zerdin, who we saw at the Tivoli in Wimborne, steals the show with Sam and one of the children at the end had us in stitches.  G’ary Wilmot makes a very good dame and how he remembers all the words to his songs – specially the tube station song, I’ll never know.  Nigel Havers plays his part well and they all seem to have a great laugh along the way.  Charlie Stemp played Dick Whittington, with many a play on his name, which went straight over the children’s heads, but caused many a laugh with the adults in the audience.

We thoroughly enjoyed the show and would recommend you book for next year!

Final 2017 Afternoon Tea at Hotel du Vin

We are finishing December’s travels enjoying the delights of the Hotel du Vin Festive Afternoon Tea located in the ‘olde worlde’ back streets of Poole.  The Hotel had a welcoming Christmas Tree in the foyer, which grandad and I admired.

We thought the presentation was good as we had sticks of candy floss as well as delicious sandwiches, scones and a selection of cakes, gin sorbet and seasonal mince pie. All in all a great way to finish our year of afternoon teas. 

Just our pantomime in London on Thursday and then my 2017 year of amazing adventures comes to an end.

Jack and the Beanstalk Bournemouth Panto

Thursday evening I was lucky enough to have been given a free ticket for the Bournemouth pantomime ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ by a friend who won some at her work ‘do’, so thanks Kathy.

We settled in to enjoy a great evening. Being an older bear I had only heard of the two leading actors Mark Monaghan who had been in Emmerdale recently, who played the baddie Fleshcreep (in the style of Terry Thomas I thought) and Rachel Stevens of S Club 7 and Celebrity Master chef who played a rather ditsy fairy with beautiful dresses and of course sang the popular S Club 7 hits. The Prince and Princess were presenters of children’s TV ‘Milkshake; programme . Dame Trott, in true panto tradition, had some great frocks and the dancers from a local stage school added a splash of colour with their supporting song and dance routines.  The whole show was held together by Simple Simon aka comedian Noel Brodie, who I admit I hadn’t heard of but he was very funny and had good interaction with the audience.

It was a highly enjoyable show, so thank you to BH Live and all involved.

On the way out we were lucky enough to see Noel Brodie so I couldn’t resist the photo opportunity!

He has got his own show at the Pavilion on 5th January, tickets via BHLive, which should be a laugh + you get a discount if you show your panto ticket – that’s a bonus!

Penultimate Weekend in London to see Lee Mead’s Christmas Show

Caught the South Western Train up to Waterloo mid morning and then made our way to the O2 where had a bite to eat at Starbucks and then watched ‘Wonder’ at Cineworld. It’s a heartwarming film about a boy in the USA who has a genetic malfunction which means he is disfigured. He has endured many operations and is now due to start school. Basically it covers his struggle to settle in and the effects on the family.  It was an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon.  On our way out I met a familiar face!


We then made our way on the underground to Monument tube station and it was just a short walk to Premier Inn Bank (Tower) where had a delicious meal and settled in to watch Strictly Come Dancing, one of my favourite programmes.

After a good night’s sleep and an excellent breakfast we wended our way to Covent Garden and had a mooch around the stalls and the locality, purchasing some Christmas presents along the way.

We had a lingering late lunch to keep out of the bitter wind and showers at a Bella Italia off Leicester Square (using my Tesco Club card voucher, which was a bonus!)

We turned up in good time at the Harold Pinter theatre ready for Lee Mead’s Christmas show. We had a chat to a lovely lady who donated £5 to our fundraising efforts, which I paid on to our Just giving page.  We really enjoyed the show – Lee has a beautiful voice. It was a mix of Christmas songs and favourite numbers from his shows and guest artists including Natasha Barnes from the West End musical ‘Funny Girl’ and Four Hymn, a group of four rousing Salvation Army singers. Stirring stuff!  A great evening was had by all and on the way out Lee had arranged for a shower of snow, courtesy of one of the men behind the scenes, very festive!

We had to rushed to get our train, which we just missed so we had a coffee and caught the 11.05 arriving home just before 2am. A quick hello to the dogs and it was straight off to bed ready for work the next morning