...was excellent. Dim Sum at the Imperial China on Lisle Street (wonderful, even if we did order enough for five!). Then, a walk down to the Embankment to the theatre, for an excellent performance. London theatre tickets are dreadfully expensive but you always feel as though you've seen a really professional performance.
By the time the matinee finished it was four o'clock, and we walked back up to Regent Street for Alice's trip to Hamleys. The only unfortunate thing on the way was that I called Bodeans, who told me they were full. Anyway, we split from Jacqueline and I duly spent the next two hours following my eight-year-old daughter around five floors of toys.
Highlight for Alice was probably the Build-a-Bear. She loved it but through a grown up's eyes it is an absolute con. Not only did she end up paying £30 for a £10 bear, but they have this notion of an "adoption certificate", whereby you enter your name and address to get some printed certificate. So, not only do they fleece you for the bear but they will sell your details on to junk mail companies! I wasn't able to stop Alice buying the thing but I did draw the line at giving them our personal information.
Anyway, come 6 o'clock Alice was totally spent up, and we met back with Jacqueline (who had been to Selfridges but claimed not to have spent the earth).
On to Bodeans - they have an upstairs bit which is more fast-food than restaurant, but serves roughly the same food, so the surroundings may not be ideal but the food would be good. Upon arrival, we popped downstairs and, as if by magic, they were able to conjour up a table for us in the restaurant. Excellent way to round off the day.
Back to Waterloo via Tottenham Court Road station. Very strange because as the train pulled into the station, Jacqueline said to Alice, "Look who's getting off the train". Of course it meant nothing to me but when Alice got on she was totally gobsmacked. The woman who'd just got off the tube was an actress who was in one of Alice's favourite TV shows, Tracy Beaker. As I say, I was none the wiser, but Jacqueline and Alice clocked her immediately.
Reminds me of the time when we walked past Richard Wilson (aka Victor Meldrew) on the stairs in Fortnum's - again it was Jacqueline who told me who it was (though that time he did at least ring a bell).
One final flurry, completely by chance Alice met up with a mate of hers on the train, who'd also been up to London for the day. They spent the hour-and-a-half journey playing happily with Alice's new-found Hamleys acquisitions.
Unfortunately, all too exciting for Alice. Our long day and late night couldn't combat the excitement, and even at eleven o'clock she was refusing to sleep and coming back into the lounge. Spoilt the day somewhat, to be honest. I need a couple of hours to chill at night, and this needs to be in a child-free environment.
Still, a memorable fortieth!