The title says it all! Mostly because I couldn’t come up with a more clever one. Today I had to catch an early train to London to drop my flute off at a repair shop (just for an overall tune-up).
I knew I would have to stick around until 5pm so I planned ahead and packed gym clothes and researched local climbing centers. I set out for the center that I had in mind and after getting a bit lost and meeting this cat:
I found it… and it was closed. Fortunately, however, I was in London, and there are about 10 climbing centers spread out over the city. I ended up going to the next closest one in Vauxhall, cleverly named the “VauxWall.” Mid-day on Friday turned out to be a relaxed time to climb and I was one of about five people in the entire gym.
It was an amazing gym with three climbing rooms, a weight room, a sitting area with couches and lockers, and a little cafe. I felt like I could live there and I did end up staying for quite a while (I did resist the urge to apply for one of the positions they are hiring for though). I climbed, chatted with a few other climbers, and got a compliment on my “Pink Floyd The Wall” shirt, which, yes, I did wear on purpose.
I left with enough time to spare and went to the Southbank center to buy a ticket for the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert. Since I was by myself I was able to get a student ticket in the 5th row of the front stalls for £8! I stopped by the flute shop and got my clean flute back, and a couple of biscuits (they had a few to spare). The LPO concert started at 730pm so I bought some dinner at the Southbank market and found a cozy spot to work on coursework until then.
No photos during the concert but I did take this one to show how close I was to the stage and to show the organ pipes up at the top. The theme of the concert was “From darkness to light” and the conductor, Susanna Mälkki, was making her debut with the LPO. The first piece was Liadov’s From the Apocalypse. The second piece was Prokofiev’s Piano Concert no. 2 performed by Beatrice Rana. She is an amazing 22 year old pianist who earned international attention when she won the Montreal International piano competition at 18 years old. The final piece was Sibelius’ Symphony No. 1 in E minor. I’m planning on going to their concert next week Friday as well because it features selections from “Tosca,” which we just covered in the Italian Opera course.
A day spent running around London can feel like a week of adventures. After the concert, I had smooth travels back to Egham to round off a long but productive day. Most importantly, my flute is all cleaned up for the intensive orchestra rehearsal weekend. Our final concert is next week Wednesday so we have multiple rehearsals and sectionals all this coming weekend (with social events interspersed… orchestra social events are usually just going to a pub).
Bonus picture! (this has nothing to do with what I did today but a few days ago I went to a Royal Holloway choir mid-day concert and it was my first time in the school chapel)