Postcard from London

I just came back from two weeks in London. Here are some of the things that stick in my mind.

  • The streets are paved with… chewing gum. This doesn’t stick in my mind so much as stick to my shoes. If it is not cleaned off – and is usually isn’t – it eventually turns black…
  • Their cellphones are much nicer than ours.
  • The service is cheaper, too.
  • Most of the stores on Oxford Street do not have air conditioning (funny, but I never missed that when I lived there…)
  • Broadband internet is both cheaper and faster than here in the U.S. Why is this?
  • Most British businesses are now owned by foreign ones.
  • However, the reverse is not true, because many foreign governments will actively prevent this. How odd.
  • From observation, the European Union = Britain being gang-raped by the rest of Europe; nobody I asked could come up with any advantages for Britain being in the E.U.
  • The worst drivers used to be Indian men driving old Volvos; now it’s Women wearing burkhas. Sorry if this offends, but I call ’em as I see ’em…
  • Public transportation is a mess. This is a result of decades of systematic underfunding, and the Government persisting in the illusion that should be run at a profit, and consequently selling off everything that isn’t nailed down in bygone years. As a result it is also horribly expensive.
  • The London Underground has gone Olympics-crazy and has decided to upgrade the stations. Nothing wrong with that, but it seems that it is trying to do them all at the same time… which means that an awful lot of stations look like combat zones.
  • Traffic planners have put French-style traffic lights on most major roundabouts, which is bloody stupid in my opinion.
  • Also from the “bloody stupid” department, too many road junctions have been replaced by mini-roundabouts. This brings to mind Churchill’s definition of Communism – “Replacing an unequal share of blessings with an equal share of misery”.
  • The Motorways (freeways) are infested with speed-trap cameras. Safety or revenue? You decide…
  • The link between Monument and Bank – smack in the middle of London’s financial district – is down, which means coming out of one station, walking a quarter of a mile and then walking down stairs to the platform (cos the escalator is out). Still, it gives the bankers some much-needed exercise, I suppose…
  • Jeremy Clarkson for Prime Minister!
  • Jesse’s Café in Walthamstow market makes a great breakfast!

Now Reading: IOUSA: One Nation, Under Stress, In Debt, by by Addison Wiggin and Kate Incontrera

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