Ahhh London, the variety, the quaint pubs, the inordinate amount of stair cases in tube stations, the amazingly dressed people, the sweet smelling tramps, the friendly London folk who always approach strangers by asking ‘do you speak English?’ the constant rain, the Sunday Observer with ALL the supplements, the comedy shows, the concerts, the buskers, fried English breakfasts. The fact that you can buy ANYTHING, except perhaps vegetable or any other form of food that isn’t beige and fried.
I was there to assist my dear friend Will pick a suit, for whom I am best man at his wedding. And Harvey Nicks was our first and only stop. We actually worked out that London was costing him 45 quid an hour, although I suspect it was more because we didn’t factor in beer costs. We were there for 48 hours. My costs were not as much but still eye watering. I went a bit silly.
Despite (or maybe because of) the economic gloom it is unfair in England to give any tramp less than two quid. For two quid you can just about buy a Sunday newspaper to line your cardboard box with. But you probably would not be able to afford a cardboard box. On saying that though, there is a better class of tramp in London. Some of them have through bred dogs. And they drink cans of Stella, not Tenent’s Super. Now that smokers have been forced out onto the pavements of London, the city is fair game for beggars, they’ve never had it so good.
Previously, had they tried to enter a pub to harass the punters, they’d have been chucked out on their grimy ears. And we all know that in a recession, booze and fags are the only products that experience a growth in profit. So pubs appear to be booming. And beggars have fair hunting.
Oxford Street also seems to be showing little sign of being choked by crisis (because there are idiots like me spending money they can’t afford). Top Shop was barely navigable due to the swell of people, which I always thought was only reserved for the Christmas period and unlucky timing on my part. Primark (the cheap as chips fashion store that forces 8 year old kids to work in sweatshops in Thailand 12 hours a day) was positively primeval. I actually witnessed 3 incidents during which security had to be called to pull apart women who were fighting in the aisles.
Whenever I arrive in London I am always so excited. So blinded by choice. I’m so happy to finally understand 60 percent of the language spoken on the street, to understand the advertising, to switch on a TV and then switch it off again because at least I can understand how shit it is. But I have to admit… after a few days of constant rain, I always look forward to going back to a country that has a climate – rather than weather.
This has been an interesting month, I have achieved much. Firstly I took my Czech exam for my beginner’s course. I got an ‘A’ for comprehension and speaking but a ‘B’ for writing.
I started motorbike lessons. They make me scream with glee like an 8 year old girl. I am learning to ride on a 500cc bike. Gadzooks!
I also completed the Berlin 25km race last weekend. There were 9000 competitors. I came 100th in the women (and I was racing against crazy Africans), 14th in my age category. My half marathon time was 1:51. My 25km time was 2:11. Which my running friends all seemed impressed with.
Am probably going to run a 10km race in June… otherwise I’ll just get drunk and stay that way. Prague can do that to a girl.