dreaming the dream


It's official: I'm no longer a teenager. I'm not sure how to deal with this fact. I feel that there's something quite momentous in turning 20. It's properly grown up. I can't cope. But celebrating my birthday meant a weekend at home and a trip up to London for the day on Saturday. 
You may have heard about the current installation at the Tower of London which is commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War: Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red. If you're thinking about going to take a look, then you really must. Nothing can prepare you for it. It's hard to grasp the enormity of it until you see it; you arrive at the Tower and see just how many poppies there are in that area, and then you walk round and the poppies keep coming. The way that they are incorporated into the Tower itself, flowing out of it as blood would, is truly beautiful, and the varying heights of the poppies themselves create undulations which are perfectly reminiscent of a real field of poppies blowing in the wind. The craftsmanship and hard work that has been put into it is astonishing; it seems such a shame that it will not be around any longer than a few months. My parents have purchased one of the poppies, so I look forward to seeing it up close!
On our way to dinner at the Palm Court in Covent Garden (the cutest little restaurant ever, with the tastiest food and the loveliest staff), we came across this chap singing. I think that his act was called Imagine Jack. He was such an entertainer - as you can probably tell by his stair perching antics - and had a beautiful voice. Absolutely perfect for this place!
As is probably obvious by now, a trip to London never seems complete without a visit to the theatre. I have been wanting to see Les Misérables for years, and so decided it was probably about time that I got round to it! It's my mum's absolute favourite, and it's one of those shows that you seem to know the music and lyrics to even though you may never have seen it before. Carrie Hope Fletcher has been playing Eponine for a fair while now, and I'm glad that I managed to see her - she has such a beautifully powerful voice. Simon Shorten and James Gant were understudying the roles of Jean Valjean and Javert; I simply cannot explain in words how wonderful these guys were, and I can't believe that they're the understudies - I'm not sure I could've coped if the firsts had been there! I was going to try and write about the show but I'm fairly sure it's all been said before, and it's far far better than anything written words could ever convey. I'm not one to get hugely emotional at things, but this was something else. The music and vocals are so powerful, and can't truly be appreciated until you hear them live. It is emotionally draining, but it's by no means a downer of a show - there is a really wonderful atmosphere and positive message. I genuinely can't write anything that will do it justice. I only hope that it continues for another 25 years and more.

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