Strictly, this should be two separate entries: one for the show on Thursday night (15 Jan) and one for Friday’s walks; but they all seem to me part of one large portrait of London. I think perhaps Londoners underestimate the attractions of their capital city and its endless diversions; and it starts one considering how one sees one’s own city.

Any visitor to Leicester Square and Covent Garden on the nights we were there can’t fail to be amazed by the theatre scene in London. The sheer volume of people on the Tube is quite remarkable and the life of the West End throbs with an energy that is unfamiliar to Paula and me, afficionados of the Sydney arts as we are.

It’s very easy to be critical of your home and terribly adolescent – one learns nothing from trying to compare cultures and cities except at the superficial level we essayed last night. Unless you live, eat and work in a place, you don’t have the reality of the experience: the best you can so is listen to the stories of the locals. It’s one reason that I have always wanted to do an exchange, and why Paula and I would love to spend a month in a Paris appartment, shopping in the markets and seeing life arsteeer levels.

That being said, one is very sympathetic with the Australian diaspora of the Sixties and Seventies and their failure to return home. Who can deny them the right to strut a larger stage, as it’s only the Blanchets of this world that flit across continents cultures with any ease.

Les Mis has been running for fifteen years and has changed cast and venue, but still has energy and freshness. I thought the Australian cast was impressive but this crew was close behind, especially the Valjean, whose acting and singing were outstanding. The show retains its power to move and inspire, because we all need redemption.

So it was with a degree of inspiration that we set out Friday, determined to see London at street level. We started at the Museum of London, planted on the Aldgate Walls and a hundred metres from the site of Wesley’s conversion. Half the museum is closed, but even the section that goes from God to the Great Fire takes a couple of hours.

It’s hard even now to describe the three hours we spent walking through the City. On the one hand, we might have learned more with a guide; on the other, exploring on your own has advantages. St Mary-le-Bow has Arthur Philips memorial, a badge and flag from the Order of Australia..

We ended up at St Katherine’s Dock, resisting the temptation to museate (six) through the Tower and the Bridge. We had thought to “do” the V & A after dinner, but a bottle of wine with Ebbie and Baby Scarlett, joined by Robert after work, put paid to that. Hay’s Dock made enough for one day. Tomorrow will be busy.