Glancing at this photo you might wonder how it can possibly conjure a sense of joy. There are flames, black smoke and some heavy-duty ironmongery. There’s also something that looks rather ominous in the middle together with a shot of someone with a cymbal in front of his face. Look more closely at the bottom right corner and you’ll see those things sticking up are people’s arms. The arms are in the air because everyone is waving, singing, dancing and having a whale of a time watching Muse at the Emirates stadium in London. The guy with the cymbal is Muse drummer Dominic Howard.
Normally I might choose a nature photo or a holiday scene to symbolise joy but there are a number of very special things about the picture I’ve included here. The Muse show was one of only two at the Emirates and the tickets were part of my son’s surprise birthday present which included spending four days in London. It was an action-packed four days which included a river cruise to Greenwich, seeing a musical in the West End, watching the England football team play the Republic of Ireland at Wembley, wandering around Chinatown, watching the entertainers in Covent Garden and a trip to Abbey Road. Muse were the icing on the cake and we spent a balmy May evening singing, dancing and generally having fun which was a vast improvement on the previous summer. It was good to know I wasn’t too old or too post-chemo bald (!) to be a concert companion. Although our blood relationship is mother-son, its brilliant that we are such good friends and have been for the last 20 years – love and friendship are the true meaning of joy 🙂
I was away last week hence my absence from FEC-THis. Although the FEC-T part of my treatment is over the H is still ongoing and boy is it proving to be a challenge. There are days when I contemplate cutting off my own hands and legs just to stop them being so painful. Fortunately common sense gets the better of me and sore as they are, my hands and legs are still useful appendages. It’s possible the inflammation flared up again not only due to herceptin but also because I walked a lot last week and climbed numerous stairs while enjoying some time in London.
J and I went to see Muse at the Emirates Stadium. It’s the home of Arsenal FC, a team one of my best friends supports. J said the Emirates was “too posh” to be a football stadium… personally I think all football stadiums should be like Arsenal’s 🙂 Muse were excellent, they played a selection of new songs as well as some of their older material and the show included amazing lighting, chimneys that emitted flames in time with the music for certain songs (locals have been reported as thinking the stadium was on fire!) and a floating light bulb with a trapeze artist drifting above the stage. As I haven’t been to any events for almost two years being in such a big crowd was a little daunting at first but I soon adjusted to the environment, singing and dancing along with everyone else. As part of J’s birthday present it turned out to be a good choice of gift because he enjoyed it and was singing Muse songs throughout the week.
As Monday was a Bank Holiday we took a boat trip on the Thames from Westminster Pier to Greenwich. I’ve never visited Greenwich before (how is it that I’m over 40 and haven’t had chance to do that until now…?) and really enjoyed it. I want to make a return visit to see the Maritime Museum and Observatory. There are some photos from the boat trip below as well as a couple from the Muse concert.
After the boat trip we just had time to change into some smarter clothes before heading off to Mama Mia at the Novello Theatre. When I asked J a few weeks ago what he’d like to do in London for his birthday he suggested seeing Mama Mia because “it’s the ultimate feel-good musical.” He was right. Whether you like Abba songs or not the way they’re put together in Mama Mia along with the comedy in the storyline just makes you smile, laugh and sing…. then sing some more. The Novello is a small but beautifully decorated theatre and although drinks were a little on the pricey side, it was a good night out. We were both singing bits of Abba mixed with bits of Muse over the days that followed… anyone listening would think we were very odd 😉
Our final event in celebration of J’s 20th birthday was a trip to Wembley to see England play the Republic of Ireland. Although it was a cold evening, the football was lively and there was a good atmosphere in the stadium. Our seats were close enough to the pitch to be able to see the players quite well and even though it was just a friendly match, there’s something special about watching your home country. The result was a 1-1 draw and to me that seemed fair. After walking to and from Wembley and encountering numerous steps my knees and ankles were pretty unhappy… but I wasn’t going to let them ruin anything.
All in all the events celebrating J’s upcoming 20th birthday were a success and I’m so glad we had this precious time together. It’s not all over yet because I have another little event planned for him tomorrow lunchtime and I finally managed to finish decorating his birthday cake this afternoon ready for the big day on Monday. I can’t post a photo of the cake because he might see it here and that would ruin the surprise!
Muse – fire from the chimneys!
London Eye capsules
Matt Bellamy doing his thing
St Pauls from the river
30 St Mary Axe “the Gherkin”
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
The Shard & City Hall
Tower of London