After the Precious screening Friday evening I wandered off into the night and eventually found my way back to the May Fair Hotel off Berkeley Square. I walked down Regent Street, London's Madison Avenue, and was impressed by The Gap display window for LFF opener The Fantastic Mr. Fox. The crisp fall weather is fair and breezy with the occasional drizzle, not too cold.
After breakfast Saturday morning with LFF PR maven Annabel Hutton, who's looking after the 25 international press (including me) the fest flew in with some of its UK Film Council money in order to boost its global profile, I saw a woman in the lobby carting off Precious reels to the BFI.
After posting, I took off for Waterloo Station to take the train to Salisbury. My pal Elaine took me to see Stonehenge at magic hour, and then drove me back to her and Nick's cottage in the Hampshire countryside. We picked raspberries in the garden, peeled and chopped apples for pie, ate roast lamb with mint sauce for dinner and sang along with SingStar (Queen, Roxy Music, Tina Turner, The Pretenders). Of course I popped up in the middle of the night.
[Trip photos on the jump.]
After breakfast I took the train back to Waterloo Station, walked past a wine and cheese market to a footbridge across the Thames, and stopped in Charing Cross station to plot my route back to the hotel.
Then Focus Features' James Schamus walked up to me, looking for a Vodaphone office. Small world! He's also in for the LFF, to promote Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock and the Coens' A Serious Man; I tried to talk him into sending me an advance copy of his Tuesday keynote speech, which may be published by the Harvard University Press.
I took the tube back to the hotel, posted, and then returned via tube to the National Film Theatre for A Prophet director Jacques Audiard's master class. More anon.