OK, so I'm home now, and recovering from Jet Lag. We spent almost 25 hours from when we arose at 5:30 a.m.; London time on Wednesday, until 1:00 a.m. Parkersburg time when we got home, and almost immediately to bed.
Except for some dozing on the trans-Atlantic flight, that's about a full day awake, And while I was awake enough to drive safely home for an hour after the motor coach dropped us off at midnight, I'm not sure I was in any shape to do much more on the deserted roads. I found I kept thinking about London, singing Salisbury Hill to myself and humming the theme from the Prisoner 1960s TV show!
Anyway, as i do four loads of laundry and get my life back in order, I'm thinking of some simple truths that I should share:
1) I LOVE THE LONDON UNDERGROUND TUBE SYSTEM! So much fun, almost like a theme park ride.
2) Did I mention how much I like the underground subway? OK, I'll knock it off. Did you know that the British use the term "Subway" for a pedestrian underpass walkway? That's why Petula Clark's big hit "Don't Sleep in the Subway Darling" makes a lot more sense now. We only saw a handful of homeless people in London, but that's where they were sleeping... in the underpasses!
3) We saw a couple of sleek, quick sports cars zipping around London, like in the opening of "The Prisoner" though we never found where they shot the open... we DID see Big Ben, which rang a couple of times for us.
4) The number one attraction in London and England right now is the London Eye Ferris wheel, which is what it was designed to do by British Airways. Only the Japanese have a larger wheel!
5) Lots of people make a pilgrimage to Abby Road crosswalk to see where the photo was taken. B ut few realize that the Abby Road Studios where most of the Beatles music was created, is immediately to the left of the photo, in fact, it appears that the Beatles are walking away from the studios in the photo. No, the public may not be admitted. But almost every day, someone is hit as they pause and prance in that cross-walk posing for a picture.
6) There's a shop at the tube station closest to Abby Road that calls itself "The Beatles Coffee shop" and sells all sorts of items with Abbey Road image, Beatles images, etc. The name of the tube station is "St. John's Wood". It's about a half hour away from Big Ben.
7) Big Ben refers to the cast iron bell, not the tower at Parliament. But everyone thinks of it as Big Ben.
8) While traffic lights are almost the same, the British have a better sequence. That is, everyone here knows the Green, Yellow, Red...Green, Yellow, Red rotation that means Go, Caution, Stop.
In England, the sequence is Green, Yellow, Red, Red & Yellow, Green. This translates to Go, Caution, Stop, Ready, Go again. In other words, the show the yellow light WITH the red as a "ready, set, go" and the result is that traffic moves faster and more efficiently.
9) I am told there is very little crime in England, especially London, because there are so many CCTV cameras and the public knows it. Armed crime is extremely rare because the average citizen does not have a permit to carry. Isn't that interesting? Our country was founded on the right to bear arms, yet crime is so much more common here. Makes one think, doesn't it?!
10) The British describe themselves as lazy. Tardy to work, two hours on, two hour lunch, two hours on in the afternoon, hour and a half for tea, another hour and then commute home. I must admit that I didn't see anyone doing this, but our guide says the country pulls together when a crisis or a threat arrives, but otherwise, they are very laid back.
11) Lady Di is a thing of the past. No one talks about her today. I saw only ONE photograph of her. William and Kate are the thing!
12) The Queen's double jubilee is a big deal. She is the second longest reigning monarch, and will probably set a new record in 2016. A Rock concert and viewing stands are being set up outside Buckingham Palace.
13) The British people own the castles and palace that the royal family live in. They allow them to live there virtually at no cost. The closest thing we have to a royal family and the fascination and respect for them is the Kennedy family in the US.
14) There are more black jackets, pants, shirts, socks, tee-shirts and so on on the streets of London than anywhere else. And it makes sense when you think of how rainy and cool is often is.Why not grab all the solar radiation you can to stay warm?
15) The Latitude of England is about the same as Greenland, but the warm gulf stream allows it to remain temperate.
16) The east of England is chalk, then mud, gravel, marble and granite in that order. The west side is superstitious, spiritual, and mystic, the east side is practical, more serious and all business.
17)The British are convinced they drive on the correct side because when meeting in battle, the sword and lance would be on the right side facing your opponent. And that has carried down to today. However, they have marked every crosswalk with "Look Left" or "Look Right" to aid foreign visitors and minimize pedestrian accidents. How helpful!
18) The Beatles frequently used common place names, location and expressions solely because they had the right number of syllables and not for any special significance. John Lennon would frequently scan the paper (which he read constantly) for ideas and images, which frequently pop up in his work. Paul McCartney would write more frequently about daily life of the common man.
19) Most people in London walk between parks, businesses and location, though taxi, underground, bike, scooter and cars are commonplace.
20) Fish and chips means Fried fish and potato wedges, usually with mixed vegetables or peas and slaw/lettuce.
21) Pepsi is not as common as Coke, and runs one pound and 60 pence for 500 ml.... less than our standard bottle or can, at a higher price. Milk is available, but the definition of skim, low fat and whole milk have different percentages over there.
More as I think of them.
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