Thursday, May 1, 2014

London Day Nine, 2014

Chris was up before anyone else to ensure that he had a good spot on the London Marathon route. I had a choice of either following Chris or Gee, so on this sleepy Sunday, I decided to follow Gee. We took our time getting ready and then headed out to claim our spot along the route, stopping by Pret A Manger to grab a quick croissant.

On the way to Marathon.

Then we walked claimed our spot by the embankment. I was impressed by the dedication of these inspiring athletes who were running for the charities of their choosing. Even the physically handicapped took the challenge seriously and were accompanied on the route by volunteer guides. 

Runner @ The London Marathon

I wouldn't mind volunteering next year as a guide; however, I feel that the runner or runners I'll be accompanying will probably end up dragging me behind them.

Mo Farah 

I waited until I spotted Mo Farah and then headed to the Royal Covent Garden Opera house to find a spot on the red carpet. I registered with the organizers and found myself 147th in line for a prime spot on the red carpet.

Rachael with her new book and paper doll

It didn't really matter as I had a good time chatting with some other fans and after a two hour wait they permitted us onto the red carpet. Lucky for me I found a spot next to Sarah and her ten year old daughter Rachael. Red carpet regular, Sarah made her disdain of autograph collectors abundantly clear. While waiting, I gave Rachael a copy of A Day with the Duchess and a paper doll. She's my first UK reader. Anyway, unlike the red carpet crowds I've experienced  at home, this red carpet crowd was civilized, polite and there was no pushing and shoving.

The red carpet

The guests started arriving at around 5pm and a wave of Olivier guests began walking the red carpet at the same time, making it difficult to distinguish the celebrities from the non celebrities.

Then my camera's batteries began to drain and that was somewhat perplexing because I had just changed them. At this point I was beginning to wish that I had brought my SLR camera on this trip as well.

Barbara Windsor

The first one to come over was TV personality Gok Wan, who  promptly signed and index card for me. Soap Opera legend Barbara  Windsor, of long running drama Coronation Street, was next. When I told her I was from Singapore, she said, "You don't know who I am." But when I corrected her, she smiled. "Singapore sounds so exotic!"

Then I heard my side of the red carpet shout, "Martin! Martin!" It was Martin Freeman! I began to shout too and Martin came over and signed for us.  

Samantha Barks

Les Mis star Samantha Barks came over next but she skipped me and signed for the others. Stephen Mangan, star of episodes signed as did Ben Miller of TV show Primeval and Gavin Creel of the hit musical The Book of Mormon.

Stephen Mangan

Martin Freeman

Kristin Davis, Gemma Arterton, Mark Gatis, Kathleen Turner and Broadway legend, Bernadette Peters, kept to the other side of the red carpet. I really wasn't too upset about Bernadette because I've met her before.

James McAvoy

James McAvoy steadily made his way down our side of the red carpet signing autographs and posing for selfies. I took the opportunity to give him a copy of A Day with the Duchess. He thanked me and signed and index card.

The star that almost everyone was waiting for was Tom Hiddleston. There were rumours that he might not show as he was filming a movie in Canada. But when he did, both sides of the red carpet went berserk, calling out to him.

Tom Hiddleston and me

I told him that I had come all the way fromSingapore for the Oliviers and he smiled and said, "You earn extra points for that!" and he signed an index card and then he posed for a selfie with me. What a cool guy! I gave him a copy of At the S.E.A. Aquarium as a souvenir and he thanked me.

With that I left the red carpet and joined Gee, Chris and friends at a nearby bar for drinks before we walked home for a home cooked meal and a good night's rest.

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