So what caused this? Well, last night we went to see Georgy Girl - it was excellent by the way - at the Crown Theatre which is part of the Crown Casino complex here and, to make it a complete night out, Pisces suggested we go for a meal beforehand at one of the many restaurants on site. So far so good.
Now I'm not a gambler but if others want to that's fine by me but consequently, of course, that means that I've never felt the faintest desire to go to the casino. But others I know have been very enthusiastic about having a meal there and Pisces had a membership which entitles you to discounts so why not I thought.
We were lucky enough to get a parking place very close to the entrance - the car park is huge and there were a lot of cars there already so this was good. We walked in and there was my first problem. The only access and way out from the next level is via escalators. While going up is feasible my current knee problems makes getting on the down one impossible. Naively I assumed there would be a lift somewhere - and it turned out there was but as I did not find out until later it was a long, long walk which, while it might not present a problem to someone in a wheelchair, was effectively inaccessible to someone who can't walk more than a couple of hundred metres. Of course, this assumption came back to bite me when it was time to leave.
But for now we were in front of the glitzy entrance - and we had to go in because it turns out that's where all the restaurants are. I managed the inevitable steps - there was a ramp I discovered later but it caused more problems than it was worth and I'll get back to that, too. My first impression was of cramped spaces, crowds and oh, so noisy. Pisces then realised he needed to renew his free membership - he'd lost the card apparently. Okay. He hurried off criss crossing the vast floor space between crammed in game tables and leaving me trailing way behind, realised he had no idea of where he was going and finally asked for directions. Oops, we had to retrace our steps then wait in a line to get things updated. By now we'd been in the place for about twenty minutes and I was hungry and my knee pain was killing me.
He took off again and we finally found the restaurants - not a vegetarian one in sight, of course - but eventually we found a place with some vegi options and I was at last able to sit down. By now I was in so much pain I could barely think and Pisces guiltily realised that maybe he'd been a bit thoughtless. We ate and made our way to the theatre (this time he got directions before he took off) and got to our seats. The show was great with wonderfully nostalgic songs and music even if it was fairly obvious that the costume designer and choreographer certainly hadn't lived in London at the time.
Then we had to get back to the car which involved going back through the casino. This was when I found the ramp. Great. I wouldn't have to negotiate the steps again - except it delivered us into a maze of poker machines - and I use the term maze deliberately because there was no such thing as a straight through path. By the time I escaped it I'd probably walked at least ten times as far as I would have if I'd struggled up the steps. Also the whole place was now buzzing with a Friday night crowd which made it probably ten times more crowded and noisy than it was before (note to the management that adding deafeningly loud announcements over the casino wide loud speaker system is probably not a brilliant idea as it certainly didn't seem to be encouraging people to come to where you were spruiking a particular game, at least not that we could see as we went past on the way out). By now I couldn't wait to get out of it.
I spotted the way we originally came in but Pisces had already shot off in completely the wrong direction - this time, though, I was not about to make the mistake of following him and eventually he came back and finally we were on our way out. That was when I realised that the escalators were really the only option for going down to the outside parking area. Yes, the pleasant young men on the door informed me there are lifts but they are about a five minute walk away. Nooooo!
Pisces decided to make a run for the car - by now it was bucketing down and we hadn't thought to bring one of the umbrellas from the car in with us, der - and to come and pick me up from the taxi rank.
So I stood there among a dozen or so (fortunately) happy drunks, in a haze of cigarette smoke, for the ten minutes or so it took him to get the car and come back.
So would I go to the theatre there again? Definitely. Would I ever go to eat there again? Definitely not. Was my lack of enjoyment all the fault of the casino? No, it wasn't. My health and pain levels at the moment make going anywhere problematic and if I'd been fit and able to walk the considerable distances that are involved without pain I may well have been less irritated (although I've never been one for noisy, crowded places). I'm sure many people like to gamble and enjoy the experience and atmosphere it generates - the crowds there made that obvious - but it's not for me.