We arrived here in London on Wednesday from Barcelona. Woah momma, what a difference a day makes. Hard to summarize the differences, but the British and the Spanish could inhabit two different planets. My initial reaction to London was that everyone reminded me of my tightly wound and tightly buttoned Grade 12 English teacher, Miss Jullion. Who, in turn, always reminded me of Mrs. Havisham from Great Expectations. This effect has lessened as we’ve been exposed to more of the populace. One initial impression: the British owe a great debt of gratitude to those on the Indian sub-continent they colonized, for without them they would have little food or kindness to strangers in the societal DNA.
Today we switched hotels from the impossibly swanky Renaissance Chancery Court, which felt like staying in a boarding house for investment bankers, and moved to the Marriott Regent’s Park, which is an incredibly kind hotel and perfectly suited to our style. We toured the Science Museum, which Oliver loved. Admission to public museums in London is free. Which is good, because everything else, if you are spending Canadian dollars under the hood, costs an arm and a leg. I think I paid $5 for a Diet Coke today. Which is sad, because I don’t even like Diet Coke.
As I type this, I am sitting under Picadilly Circus, which is making children memories of a trip with family 31 years ago flood back. I strongly recall wondering why there were no lions, togers or bears in this Circus.
Questions for my UK-literate readers: (a) what is a “quid”, (b) why are the aforementioned Circuses call so, (c) why is the husband of a reigning Queen called “Prince,” while the wife of a reigning King called “Queen?”.
One more day on this Island, and then back to our own.