OK so I got back a few hours ago and my heart-rate still hasn't returned to normal.
I almost missed the start of the play, despite reaching the the Piccadilly Circus area two hours early due to the fact that a very nice chap (who sadly was lacking something in the upstairs department) started chatting to me outside the theatre as I was having a quick cigarette. This happens to me a lot, it's probably due to the fact that I'm lacking something in the upstairs too! It must show in my eyes or something; fellow nutters must recognise it and conclude that as we share a connection of sorts, it's absolutely fine to start chatting away with me as if we're bosom pals. I actually don't mind, in fact I probably feel more comfortable talking with a crazy person than I do conversing with the 'normal' population! Anyway, back to the story; the play started at 2.30pm and at 2.25pm I was still outside trying to politely ditch this man, just then a lady approached me and asked whether I wanted a ticket to see the play; it turned out she had been stood up by a friend and didn't want the spare ticket to go to waste. I explained that I already had a ticket and was just about to go inside, but as the man I'd been speaking to had previously expressed interest in seeing the play during our conversation, I suggested that the he take the ticket instead, which he did. Feeling rather good about myself I legged it up the stairs to the gallery; I bought a programme and had just about managed to take of my jacket and sit down when the lights dimmed.
What a play! I loved every minute of it! A cracking tale of the art of deception, the danger of treachery and of course the thirst for power, with a few brilliant one-liners thrown in! Loved it. I couldn't have wished for a better seat; I could see and hear everything perfectly, plus I had the entire bench to myself so I could really spread out, relax and enjoy the show. And when everyone took their final bow I could clap as enthusiastically as I liked without worrying that the people sitting next to me would think me insane.
Now comes the best part of all; meeting Joanna.
Oh it was marvellous! I might have been the last one in the theatre but I was definitely the first one out; frightened I would miss I practically ran out of the building and around the corner to get to the stage door. It's a good job I didn't waste any time too because she was out on the street just ten minutes after I arrived! Had I gone to the bathroom or got stuck on the stairs I might've missed her! Anyway, I hung around on the opposite side of the street and waited until the crowd around her had cleared before approaching her, programme in hand. Now, before I go on any further I must point out that I am an extremely nervous individual who can get flustered in the most ordinary situations; put me in a situation that is as far removed from normal as can possibly be (i.e. meeting a woman whom I adore and idolise to a ridiculous degree) and I basically turn to jelly. I say jelly and not stone because I don't freeze, I wobble, I wobble in every possible way, shape and form. I was already shivering from the ridiculous level of cold we're having in London at the moment, but when I stepped up to Jo the shivering basically turned into a seizure of sorts and the chattering of my teeth became audible. And it's because of this that the first words I spoke to Miss Joanna Lumley were; "Hi. Ummmmm...I w-w-was um w-w-wondering um wh-wh-whether you um w-w-would ssssssss..."
The 's' went on for a rather long time. After about ten seconds I gave up on trying to say the word 'sign', buried my head in my hands and wished with all my might that the ground would open up and swallow me whole. However, Jo was very good with me; with a heart-felt and sympathetic "Awwww, sweetie!" she took my programme and upcapped her pen. When she asked for my name (I later discovered that I was the only one to have received a personalised autograph out of the ten or so people who had waited outside the stage door, which made me feel very special indeed!) I replied "Helen" in a voice about twenty octaves beyond my range. By this point I was already feeling completely overwhelmed by the situation, so when she handed me back my programme and practically whispered in that incredible soft voice of hers, "There you go, my little one," I almost died.
Joanna Lumley called me her little one.
I finally found my voice as I walked away from her to return to my quiet spot on the opposite side of the street, telling her that she had been marvellous on-stage. She smiled, thanked me, then got into a little smart-car and was driven away. I was so overwhelmed, so relieved and so utterly happy at this point that I couldn't help but cry. Today has been a good day, the best day! And so concludes this post.
P.S. I'm sorry for the length of this saga, but really there was so much to say and you are the only people on Earth who I can say all of this to and have you understand and appreciate it. I'm shutting up now.