The Gallery - Rewind

For my 18th birthday, I was determined to celebrate in style. After much discussion it was decided that myself and my best friend, Karen, would go to London for the weekend.  I celebrated my actual real birthday on the Thursday with family and friends (including my first legal trip to the village pub) and then set off on Friday morning in my blue Austin Metro to drive the 250-ish miles to a hotel in Paddington.  

Being Northern and not escaping to The Big Smoke very often, we had an itinerary to end all itineraries!
  • Friday - drive to London, book a West End Show
  • Saturday daytime - Shopping: Covent Gardens, Slone Square, Harrods, etc.
  • Saturday nighttime - Stringfellows
  • Sunday - a bit of sightseeing, drive home

We did it all and more!  We managed the drive down to London in just over four hours and booked in to the hotel.  We jumped on the Tube and landed in Piccadilly Circus ready to scour Shaftsbury Avenue for a show worth seeing.  Karen had recently seen Bus Stop, staring Jerry Hall so that was our first port of call but it was sadly fully booked.  An Ayckbourn play, Man Of The Moment, was being shown at The Globe (now the Gielgud Theatre) starring Peter Bowles, Michael Gambon and Samantha Bond so we booked tickets in "the Gods" (the upper circle) for the grand sum of £7.00 each.

The play was amazing - so much better than I could ever have imagined.  The additional staging (a real swimming pool on stage, for example) that could be afforded in the West End made all the difference.  After the curtain came down, we headed off round to the stage door for some obligatory celeb-spotting.  The stage door manager informed us that Michael Gambon had already left but Peter Bowles was on his way down shortly.  

I had been brought up on an 80s television diet of Only When I Laugh and To The Manor Born so I 'knew' Peter Bowles better than the rest of the cast.  We waited and I was rewarded with this picture. Happy 18th Birthday, Nickie!

Peter Bowles

Writing this post has brought back so many memories of this weekend that I think I might continue the story (if you want to hear it?).  I know exactly where all the photographs are and it really was a defining moment in my life.  Six weeks after this weekend away, I met my (now) husband and that completely changed my life in another way.

STOP PRESS:  I wrote about the rest of my 18th birthday weekend!  Enjoy.

If you want to read more "Rewind" posts, they are linked on Tara's blog in her weekly Gallery series.