London Journal – Day 10 – About A Fridge

Now that we’ve caught up to the present, I think I should comment that just because I have shown you a lot of pictures of famous places, don’t think that I have visited them all. I have spent most of my time just strolling neighbourhoods, exploring the city, going to pubs, café, restaurants, markets and shops. I really haven’t written about most of this. This is real life, the day to day routine which goes into living somewhere.

I have been asked directions by locals and tourists. I was welcomed to London by an Australian who, after hearing me explain to a local that I couldn’t help them because I was just visiting, said “And how long have you been here?” “Just today, I’ve got a month, though.” “Oy, you’ll need it. I’ve been here three and I still don’t know where I’m at.”

I have been helpful when I could, and honest when I couldn’t.

I have a few observations for you.

1) Young children sound more plaintive with English accents. Also French. This might go a long way to explaining why French and English children are spoilt so. It also might explain a lot about German and Slavic children’s lot.

2) As much as the English have a well earned reputation for politeness (see the “works” signs photos) they are brutal on each other in conversation. “Daft cow!” is not just rumour, you really hear that. I was listening to a few chums at a pub, and they were one-upping each other with bawdy, rude put downs. No “Your mamma” jokes though. These were all strictly personal attacks.

3) Stand on the right! Repeat after me, stand on the right. Oh, and keep left!

4) Here is a handy comparison table for you, so you can tell whether you’re in Milwaukee, New York or London:

Milwaukee New York London
Thin Visitor Native Native
Fat Native Visitor Visitor
Health care Private $ Private $ National
Public Transit Dying Thriving Thriving
Cash Dispenser Tyme Machine ATM Cash point
Parks Great Great Great!
Walk/Drive on Right Right Left
Stand on What? Right Right

It is 11 °C (52 °F) right now and I’m sitting in the courtyard of my building typing this since this is the only place with a real table and chair. I will include a photo of my regular typing situation sometime soon. Needless to say, however, after an hour or so of this my hands are getting cold. So, I am going to wrap with news of today and some last few photos.

Oh, and before I forget. Tango Por Dos last night was a treat. My seat was in Dress Circle (balcony) but was still very good. I like watching dance from above, it really can be nice. My seat mate was a lovely older woman from Ireland who comes to London every month or two for one or two nights and just sees all the cheap shows she can. This was the third or fourth time she has seen this troupe, they come here every year at this time.

After a breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon (the last of each, must stop at Tesco or Sainsbury’s) I found a little cafe, Café Téo, on Baker Street for a really cheap cappuccino. Must remember them. Then on to the Wallace Collection. Wonderful stuff, great building. Brilliant!

Then it was back to Mayfair, armed with the knowledge of just where Carlos Place is, and I found Hamilton’s Gallery just fine. Well worth it, too. I really liked Watson’s photos.

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Then it was back to Leicester Square and this time a seat for A Prayer For My Daughter at the Young Vic (as compared to the Old Vic) down at Waterloo. I took advantage of the public loo, and was then heading back towards Piccadilly to catch a train home, but I was button-holed by a young bloke with a clipboard in front of the Odeon. He asked me if I had a moment, and I figured why not. “Are you an American?” “Yes.” “May I ask, Clinton or Obama?” “Obama.” “Brilliant, I’m an Obama guy! Do you live here?” “No I’m just visiting.” “Oh, there you’ve broke my heart.” and that was that. I think he was selling eye glass insurance or something like that.

A I left him and put my sights on Piccadilly, I notice a couple of men standing next to a small fridge. In Leicester Square, a fridge. Could only mean one thing. “Is this the Irish fridge then?” I asked the nearest one while I got my camera out. There was a young guy with a hand truck, and another with a big camera. Then there was Tony Hawks and a friend, and his fridge.

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Now many of you may be wondering what I’m going on about, but others of you are smiling and chuckling. Tony Hawks, (the writer, not the skateboarder) is a writer for several comedy and other shows in England and has written “Round Ireland with a fridge” and “Playing the Moldovans at tennis.” Both are accounts of seeing out bets made under the influence. I won’t recount the books here, but you can find them at your library or bookshop.

I shook his hand, let him stage a photo-op for my benefit, and told him how much I have enjoyed his books. I heard him read “Moldovans” on Chapter A Day on BBC2 the last time I was here and went right out and bought it. He told me that they’re planning a film version of Round Ireland, which is why he and his fridge were on the Square with a camera crew in tow. I bade him well and strode off towards Piccadilly. “Ay, aint that the bloke with the fridge?” asked a guy passing by. “Yes, that’s Tony Hawks.” I replied. “That’s brilliant, that is.” he beamed.

Back home again. I stopped at Café Téo for some cheap soup and such for lunch.

I had to come in off the patio due to rain. My hands are finally warming up. Thank goodness the notebook kicks off so much heat!

Ta!

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