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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

knightsbridge march 14

back a week and just beginning to feel acclimatised.

london wonderful and i keep ogling my well dressed countrymen: the gents all look like thrusting execs or eminences grises CEOs of venerable institutions by royal appointment.

none of my stuff has arrived, incl my HTML bks so i'm prevented fancying my posts up with silly typefaces and my usual bells and whistles. good discipline.

to boot, im not at all used to the laptop's small keyboard so am intolerant of anything wordy or not of interest to myself, another relief for any readers out there. plus, the brit keyboard has a few keys - like the @ sign - placed elsewhere, further hampering my lighting fingers.

snapping fotos like galore which im' posting to flickr whenever the one insecure wi fi out there behaves itself, which is not often. longest stretch was last friday so i suspect i am in the land of the weekly (and weakly) wired.

spent weekend with with country cousins in deepest Ramsbury in the depths of Wiltshire. I'd feared it built up and ruined but not a bit.

as i type, my fotos arent up but when they are: The big house with the cedars is no longer in the family but the coach house is.

Wonderful time - no internet anywhere and stern looks of disapproval at its very mention. I tramped the countryside til all cobwebs were obliterated. Bracing weather.

the queens english: All manner of glottal sounds coming from my countrymen but am surprised to find that a posh clipped accent such as mine of the old school still commands respect and alert service.

  • look left, look right: am daily committing vehicular hara-kiri with my incompetence at crossing roads: I mistake the green light for the go for pedestrians, halting suddenly and causing those behind me to collide with many an oath. The green light for cars i take to be the OK for me, striding out to the screech of brakes from equally irate motorists.
  • My spendthrift habit of buying locally in posh Knightsbridge is over. I now search out little grocers run by Indians and farmers mkts with their wares displayed on the pavement.
  • Cigs horrendously costly - $10 a pack - so bang go my plans for an early emphysematic grave.
  • Starbucks also costly and full of smart young things, so i avoid, preferring the greasy spoon caffs of my youth.
  • Cell phones everywhere and they talk as loudly and irrelevantly as elsewhere. Buying my bus ticket to Swindon, behind me in the queue was some middle eastern swinger, talking loudly in his lingo and drifting around as he babbled. At one point, he came over in full flow and leaned on the counter next to me as i gave the pert blond my details. "I'm sorry old boy" i told him with straight face, "fascinating to hear your intimate details but i'm trying to book a ticket to Hungerford. He politely moved away sans pronouncing a fatwah on me.

    I find I have a fiery cousinette several times removed - what would she be? daughter of the daughter of the sister of my father's brother. Same age and feisty Brit equiv of The Spitfire. My intro to her was sipping a sherry with her parents when from the floor above came *the* almighty clatter of skilful drumming and clashing of high hats. Went up to say hi and there she was behind a full kit, whupping hell out of the skins.

    Rural heist: one of the fotos is of Ramsbury Manor, the long shot of a stately pile across the lake etc. Owned by property tycoon recluse Harry Hyams and very recently burgled of £millions of art treasures. Drama in the wolds.

    Bus travel: a delight, plus they DO still have the old doubledeckers with the open rear end for hopping on at opportune moments.

    bus stops at the west end have LED indicators of how long til yr bus is due, updated every 5 seconds and highly erratic. last night my bus was 3 mins then 6 mins then 4 mins then 11 mins then 2 mins away. natch, even as i relaxed for the 2 mins, up it roared and i noticed just in time to hop on.

    fares are a flat £1.50 and the driver gives change - but another caveat. some stops have machines tucked away where you put in exact change for the ticket. at *those* stops, you cannot offer cash and i had to descend, buy my automated ticket and await the *next* bus.

    personal space: none of that rubbish here, thank gawd. londoners know that commuting is a contact sport and buffet and brush against each other with nary a murmur. One practically has to draw blood or send someone's shopping tumbling across Oxford Street before uttering a muted apology.

    £1.50 for an hour's internet cafe work ($1.80 to the quid, aarrgghh) and they're full of australiennes writing home and pert-faced fillies surfing the shopping stores.

    Scholars are all in uniform and stand giggling and jostling at the bus stops, passing round their cigs and joshing the opposite sex as is the wont of today's youth.

    No use asking anyone the way, theyre all plugged into their iPods and deaf to the world.

    TV as rubbishy as in the US. In fact, too much of it *is* from the US, hence the ghastly vocab one hears all around.

    The Jerry Springer over here is a coffee-coloured lady called Trisha Sanders who does her best to hide her posh accent as she shepherds her victims into ever-more idiotic rants and indignations.

    The participants havent quite got their act down to Jerry's hick victims but theyve been well coached and no doubt been shown clips from JS so they know how to misbehave.

    But they share the same grotesqueness of the JS crowd and i was interested to note how i could accurately place the brit types whereas i was always at a slight loss with the rural types in the US shows.

    I need now track down our equiv of the saintèd doc phil.

    movies: all the stuff i saw with anna is only now coming over here. Current promos are for that "failure to raunch" movie with buff matt mcconna-wotsit and the unfortunately over-proboscised sara jessica 'varker.

    politics: Coverage of course of what's going on over there with y'all and in Iraq etc, but minimal coverage or visual torture of portrayals of the gnome who is regarded as worse than ineffectual and whose simian features and halting delivery of his scripts must be kept to a minimum lest the nation rise up and refuse to renew their TV licences.

    music: not heard of any of the current pop groups save for Arctic Monkeys, but my knowledge of the hip hop aristocracy is current thanks to the Spitfire which impressed my young cousinette no end.

    tempus fugit: I see old pals everywhere but have given up hailing them after realising that they're all 20 years younger than the originals. how come i'm the only one not have aged a jot?

    recycling: each floor in this block has a chute into which we shove our rubbish. for the comfort of residents, we're asked to do it between hours of 9-7:30. i asked about bottles - same. As a result, the foundations rock with the jangle of empties. i'm beginning to discern the sounds of champagne bottles from the vodka, scotch from the campari.

    Ms Julie: just as i decide to end this particular post, thru the letter box comes a lovely card from Milady of the Seedlings and Sprouts. So thoughtful. Such a classy lady, such a classy family. One of the aspects of BI I'll truly miss.

    OK, that's all for now on life across the Pond.

  • Comments:
    What is your email address, yappiechappiepappy?
    busker@gmail, for anyone else who needs it. i thought i'd changed it on the blog but obviously not.
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