Random Notes on London: A Cranky Visitor's Perspective Was in London last week for mostly business. That meant I could book myself into a reasonable hotel and hire a car to ferry me back and forth from the airport. London is a lovely city, but it isn't home. Some random cranky thoughts.
  • Bank Machines: People line up for bank machines on Oxford Street, just like people line up here to deal with a real human teller. I'm telling you: if you want to make money in London, start installing third-party ATMs. You'll make a killing.
  • Air Conditioning: There isn't any. It's no fun browsing the 4th floor of the Boots or Borders when you're socks are squishy from sweat. Note to Her Majesty: Heat rises.
  • Selfridge's: What's the point? I can't afford any of the fashion there. I don't even want to finger the Alexander McQueens or the Stella McCartneys. My Dad did send me on a hunt for an issue of "Exchange and Mart", which I found at Selfridge's. Cost? One pound, possibly the cheapest thing there.
  • Single Rooms: London is the only city I know of where if you book a single room, they give you a dinky single bed in a proportionately small room. Ironically, the "en suite" bathrooms in these rooms tend to be larger than the rooms themselves, tempting me to sleep in the bath tub.
  • $30.00 Continental Breakfasts. Two croissants. Two pots of jam. One pot of coffee. Still hungry and feeling used.
  • Fried Eggs: Did you know they actually deep fry them? In pots of boiling oil? Ugh!

Still, there are things I love:

  • Bathrooms: The Portaloo is no longer necessary. There are plenty of coffee shops and the "toilets" are invariably clean. Don't ask for the location of the "washroom", though.... They'll look at you funny and then step back as if they can suddenly smell your humaness.
  • Neal's Yard: The seemingly original homeopathic source. Jars of organic rose petals and colt's foot (plant, not horse), essential oils in amber bottles--everything you need for when you need "remedying" (the latter being a word rarely used in North America).
  • Men's men who treat you like you can take it: I'm not talking about women haters or wife batterers. I'm talking about men who unabashedly flex their testosterone without checking to see if there's a lady in the house. Political correctness be damned! If I can be a girly-girl, then there's room for my exact opposite. I love the smell of sweat in the morning.
  • Real women with real bodies: English women are quite frankly more like me. Few are rail-thin and few are beautiful in the North American big teeth sense. But they always seem comfortable in their skins. I think there's a link between this and the lack of gym facilities available in the city.

Tomorrow? Gardening News....


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