Last Saturday, 21st June 2008, was the Golden wedding anniversary of Mary and Jim Clark, the parents of my wife Doreen. As they are both staying with us at the moment, we decided to make this a special weekend for them.
So Saturday morning kicked off with Croissants and Buck's Fizz - and let em reassure you that while one glass of the stuff is OK in the morning, two can leave you feeling extremely merry for the rest of the day. It's also not the greatest idea in the world to have that second glass while watching croissants warming in the oven, but fortunately they didn't burn.
We then headed into the city centre, and while I went to pick up the show tickets we'd ordered they went to order lunch in John Lewis in Oxford Street.
Sidebar - you think it's tough trying to get show tickets in London normally, try getting them for a Saturday matinee that is suitable for ages 9 to 80. Fortunately, I managed to get some for the Sound of Music at the London Palladium. Even better, we got upgraded from the Upper Circle to centre seats in the Royal Circle. It doesn't sound much, but when you have your father-in-law to consider it's a lot less steps.
So after lunch we make our way back to the theatre. This particular production opened two years ago after a TV show to pick the person to play Maria, which was imaginatively called How do you solve a problem like Maria?. The person who won that has since left the show, but the person who came third was starring in this performance. No other real star names, but that wasn't a problem.
Be honest with yourselves - who doesn't start to well up with tears at the sound of Climb Every Mountain?
All right, most of you, but sung it was the way it was on Saturday I'm not ashamed to admit I had a lump in my throat. That song is the climax of both parts of the stage show, sung in each case by the Mother Superior, and the person playing the part here played a blinder. Forgive me for not remembering her name - the one fact I do remember is she "did a Marnie Nixon" for Minnie Driver in the film of Phantom of the Opera. Actually it was a uniformly excellent cast, and we all enjoyed it immensely.
There was an added resonance to where we were sat. When they were married, my in-laws took the night train to London and stayed there before going to Jersey for their honeymoon. They decided to take in a show while there - Sunday Night at the London Palladium. Turns out they were sat in the front row of the Royal Circle directly in front of where we were sitting last Saturday.
We left the theatre, and made our way to one of the local Garfunkels restaurants for dinner. London residents alike will tell you where not to eat in London - the Aberdeen Steak House - but Garfunkels is a nice place if you want reasonably priced food.
Sunday was also busy for other reasons. I ran my youngest son, Stuart, up to the local Scout camp for a Cubs open day, then headed to church while Doreen and her parents did some shopping. The theme for the service was "going into the green fields" - this is not the place to go further into that, but I was reminded of a few lessons I need to keep remembering these days about letting go and letting God.
In the afternoon, Jim and I tackled the weed patch that covers part of our front yard - mainly cutting down to size and spraying with double industrial strength weed killer - before going to pick Stuart up, taking said cuttings to the local recycling centre (or dump as it should really be called) and catching up with the latest episode of Doctor Who. No spoilers here folks - you'll just have to watch it for yourselves.
So, dinner and a show, driving and gardening, and a good time had by all. It's good to have times like these before the storm hits.