After a fitful night for Spud and a deep sleep for me, I woke him with a cup of tea (provided). It had rained in the night but was trying to clear. As our seats were standing in the yard, we fervently hoped it would succeed.
After showering, we went down to breakfast.
Open to the public during the summer months, the B&B is actually student accommodation for the London School of Economics, with the emphasis on ‘economic’ – £41 each for a London room, 3 1/2 minutes from where we wanted to be, and with a cooked breakfast thrown in. Talk about good value! The party in the bar across the road stopped before it got too late; scenery included TV production trucks & trailers on the doorstep. We could see into one trailer from our room and Spud only just stopped me from wandering into it thinking it was some sort of diner: I could see people at tables and what I thought was a waiter, wandering up and down with mugs of tea.
Our room was basic and clean; no TV but the shiny white towels and shampoo sachets made up for that. Who needs TV when the whole of London is on your doorstep? Not us.
We had until 10:30 to check out but we wanted to fill every minute so we were out by 9:20 and entering the Globe at 9:25. The Hub had paid for the tour and exhibition and a tour was just starting. It was fascinating and I couldn’t help but be the annoying person in the party who puts up their hand and asks a million questions.
It was one of those few times in my life when I really didn’t care what people thought of me: I wanted to know stuff and I had the opportunity to find out; I wasn’t going to waste it.
Did you know the Globe – with only legally required health & safety additions – is made entirely of wood – even the pegs which hold it together? That it moves and seasons and is a thing of great beauty? That thunder storms were made by rolling cannonballs around in the attic? That, as far as possible, costumes, props, the building, are as authentically Shakespearean as they can be? That the names on the paving slabs in the outer yard are those of everyone who contributed to building the new Globe? Well now you, me and about thirty other members of our tour group do.
We had to be silent at one point because the musicians were rehearsing on stage (and they all signed my programme!). It was fun to see the difference between the rehearsal and the performance later on.
At the end of the tour we were encouraged to make a donation. Anything was welcome, from £1 for a red rubber bracelet to signing over your first born child as an indentured servant. It was worth our £2 because the nice lady at the donation table warned us to queue from twelve at the latest if we wanted to be certain of a place in front of the stage.
Then we hit the shop. Last time I was at the Globe, all I could afford was a pencil with a Shakespeare head; this time, I was armed with the Hub’s credit card.
I had warned him that if they had notebooks, no matter the price, he was buying one for me. I was on notebook number 60 last week but this week’s number 61 is red and flimsy and one on which I would never normally have spent £6, but it has ‘Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre’ indented on the cover and I had to have it. The Hub also bought two postcards (one for Spud; one for me), a pack of playing cards (for Spud), a t-shirt (for Spud), a badge (for Spud*) and a souvenir book of the history of the Globe.
*I have to say, Spud seemed to enjoy my birthday almost as much as I did.
We headed back out and round to the exhibition entrance. More fun was to be had. We went into a booth and Spud played Lady Macbeth, recording his performance and playing it back to our great hilarity. I don’t think Shakespeare would have approved of the accidental inclusion of the word, ‘mate’, but we won’t tell him if you won’t. Here’s some of what we saw: