In the midst of this, we had a magical evening. Now to be clear, this was planned to be a great night out but in my experience such planning can be hit or miss. And there were additional unexpected events which added to the magic.
The planned portion was an indulgent evening. We had booked front row tickets to the musical Matilda (based on the Roald Dahl book of the same name) with dinner prior at a restaurant nearby. We had been looking forward to this evening for quite some time.
That afternoon in London it started to rain. It was an uninspiring start. Because of this we hailed a black cab outside Hamleys to take us to the theatre area.
As the driver went to turn into the street we needed he realised it was closed. “You’ll have to walk from here” he said, and we all tumbled out into the drizzle.
We quickly gathered that the reason for the the road closure was a Christmas shopping night around the Seven Dials area. The Seven Dials is where seven little cobblestone streets meet and there is a large pillar with sun dials in the middle of the road junction.
The rain stopped and the magical evening started.
The road closures created the atmosphere they always do for me: the glee of strolling calmly along roads across which you would usually dart.
We headed down the street for an early dinner at the restaurant and then headed back to the shopping night.
The first magical thing happened to my husband. At this point in December 2013 he had mostly been away from Australia since February. There were many things he missed from home and one of them was Coopers beer which is almost impossible to find when you’re off Australian shores.
So, as we strolled along the roads that night we walked past a newly opened Industrie store. And on a bench just inside the door he caught sight of an icy cold bottle of Coopers. It had a halo of light around it. Well not really, all I knew is that my husband disappeared off the street in front of us and when we entered the shop he was happily nursing a bottle of Coopers Sparkling Ale.
It was his golden ticket.
After this beer was polished off we returned to the street, ducked into another shop where the girls each received a cup of rich, warm hot chocolate delivered straight from a saucepan and then found ourselves standing in the middle of the Seven Dials junction.
There were a lot of people milling around and we had only been standing there for 60 seconds or so, considering our next move, when from nowhere a sound system started. “I don’t want a lot for Christmas” came the first bar and out of the crowds there appeared 3 then 10 and then finally 30 dancers. It was of course “All I Want For Christmas”. And we were right in the middle of this flash mob.
It was absolutely fabulous.
The whole crowd stopped and stared and probably stood there with stupid grins on their faces just like the one I was sporting. It was ridiculously festive.
As the flash mob ended a time check resulted in a swift entry into the theatre for Matilda, and the last magic of the night.
We were front row. The show was perfect despite being in range of the fearsome Miss Trunchbull’s flying spittle. Our three girls were spellbound. I also loved it, being a fan of both Roald Dahl and Tim Minchin (who wrote the music and lyrics) it was pretty much a sure thing.
For the rest of the holiday our youngest daughter, Petunia, would often whisper in my ear “Some people say I’m a little bit naughty”.
Which is, of course, true.