Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Top 10 Things I Love about London

1. Londoners start all conversations with "you alright then, luv?". This threw me the first couple of times I heard it: Did I look ill? Had I got a bleeding nose? The first time I was asked this I answered with 'yes I'm fine thanks' at which point the salesperson turned and walked away and I had to chase after her for service.

2. It's really SMASHING how they have somehow procured Julie Andrews to do all public service announcements from the 'Mind the Gap' reminders, to the closing announcement at Harrods, to the tube information messages: "The next station is Piccadilly Circus. This is a Piccadilly Line train. And Remember- A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down!".

Or "The next train will leave in 2 minutes. And please note - The hills are alive with the sound of music!"

3. It really is so considerate of Londoners to tell you which way to look when crossing the street. 'Look left' or 'Look right' is conveniently painted directly on the road in front of the curb at your feet. Perhaps they could start adding other helpful messages in obvious places like 'brush your teeth' or 'exercise' or 'don't be a WANKER'.

4. The street performers are amazing. Such talent!

5. The City of London has recently installed 30 pianos, complete with song books, in outdoor public places like parks and squares. These pianos are for anyone to play and are meant to encourage spontaneous music and creativity. What a great idea! Jacob and I played a rousing version of Heart and Soul on one of these pianos that we came across in a square in Soho where we are staying. Such fun!

6. The tube makes it dead easy to get anywhere, if you don't mind a few stairs along the way. Like a few hundred. Oh and by the way, if the tube doors are closing, do not try and force your way onto the train. It's not a good idea. Not unless you want to make a fool of yourself in front of several hundred people, and inflict large bruises on the backs of both arms. This did not happen to me. Nope.

7. The shopping is FANTASTIC! I mean really SMASHING! And if you purchased something at, say, Next, on Oxford Street, and then, a couple of blocks later, have worked out a rationalization to buy the things you put back on the rack at the last Next store, not to worry there's another Next store on this block and another on the next. How thoughtful! How convenient! Not that this applies to me.

8.The theatre scene is BRILLIANT. For example, one could be forced to endure the likes of Jude Law as Hamlet if one had ones wits about one and purchased tickets before they were all sold out. (DAMNIT!). Or Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean) as Fagan in Oliver if one had the foresight to buy a ticket before that, too, was all sold out. What kind of a WANKER would do that anyway? Not me. Nope. However, all is not lost as there are about 645 other musicals and plays running and all of them look SMASHING! In fact today I am off to see the Wicked, the wonderful Wicked of Oz...I'll let you know how it was.
9. Pubs allow you to spill out the doors onto the street and curb with your drinks, without the threat of an irritating man with a clipboard appearing and shutting the place down for the next six months. They have realized that when you allow people to do this, NOTHING BAD HAPPENS.

10. There is always something interesting virtually right in front of you. Sometimes you need to look for it, but more often that not, there are 800 amazing things happening within a few metres: architectural wonders, street performers, street art, public art, interesting people, many different languages being spoken, and historical facts. As Zoe said to me yesterday: "It's so interesting to know that people live in others places and not just Canada". YES! Mission accomplished:)


  1. Is M actually there or is she visiting Goneril and Regan?

  2. I am so enjoying your descriptions of London. Obviously you haven't been to Chiswick or lived in Quicks Road in Wimbledon, where I suspect there are few pianos.
    Take the kids to Dirty Dicks if it's open - a delightful pub in Bishopsgate whose decor mainly consists of dead animals. Miss Haversham is said to have lived nearby.
    Enjoy every sandwich.