School Trip

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A trip to London today! My old school’s ex-pupil Association had arranged a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the Royal Opera House! 😁. Our train connections were good and we even had time to drop into Fortnum & Masons beforehand for a few Christmas gifts!

It was a well-supported event with around 20+ ex-pupils, partners and friends making the trip into the capital for our bespoke event.

Many of us met at the Prince of Wales hostelry in Drury Lane at 12.30 for a light lunch before taking the short walk to our destination. The Pub was an unexpected treat – great food, great service and very reasonable prices. It was good to see some familiar faces from my days on the School Committee – Cortland (my successor), Valerie (ex-magazine editor and a mighty fine support act during my time in the Chair) and Bob (who’s really developed the social aspect of the Association in recent years).

At just before 1.45, we took the short stroll to the Opera House en-masse. Gosh! It was so mild outside for October! πŸ‘πŸ‘.

On arrival, there were already a few other Members waiting, and we were soon assembled ready for our tour.

James, in full flow!

Our personalised tour began at 2.30. James (from Brazil) was our Guide and he did a splendid job. After equipping us with personal headsets, so we could hear his commentary, we began front-of-house, but were soon ‘backstage’ exploring areas that aren’t usually accessible to the general public.

It all felt very special and we learned a lot. It was fascinating to see behind the scenes where I think for me, the most memorable part was experiencing the size and scale of what goes on – it felt like a ‘small town within a single building’. Amazing!

The final part of our experience was to actually sit in the Opera House as a member of the audience. There was an orchestra rehearsing and even given how high up we were in the seating, the sound quality was perfect.

Nice view across Covent Garden

Photography was not allowed backstage (for obvious reasons) but once we were back in the public areas, there was no restriction.

With the perfect blend of facts, hands-on opportunities and humour, the 70-minutes-or-so passed in a flash and where we all felt it had been a very worthwhile event.

In a way, it was a pity that Ann and I had to leave immediately afterwards (train connections!) so we missed out on the communal cuppa afterwards. All-in-all then, a really enjoyable day and even if Opera isn’t your thing, it’s a very worthwhile experience. If opera IS your thing, it’s a brilliant gift! πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜‰. Thanks for organising this, Bob! πŸ‘

We got home around 6pm.

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