Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A tree grows in London (and other happy observations)

I've done a lot of grumbling here, haven't I? It aint all doom and gloom despite my posts to the contrary, so for today, here is a list of things I do like about London so far:

1) Portion sizes. From restaurant dishes to grocery store packaging, everything here comes in a smaller, more manageable size than what we're used to in the States. As someone who feels compelled to finish what I've started, I appreciate this downsizing immensely!

2) VAT. I imagine I'm the first person ever to appreciate being taxed. But the fact that tax is already included in the price, so an item costs what it says it costs? My addled brain so appreciates the decreased demand for my sorely lacking math skills!

3) Green spaces. All of the guidebooks say what a green city London is, and they're right. There are an inordinate number of parks around here, all of which appear to be well kept and well placed. This suburban girl so appreciates the sight of trees!

4) A to Z Guides. Little spiral bound books containing street indexes and maps of every inch of the city, detailed enough to help you find the most obscure of locations but small enough to fit in a purse? Larger versions to keep in your car? Simply brilliant. How do more cities not have these?

5) "Express" versions of supermarket chains. More than a convenience store, but less than a full grocery experience. Just enough stock (including fresh meat and produce) to get you over the hump, with none of the long lines or overwhelming choices of a larger store. Perfect for "carry home whatever you purchase" customers like me!

6) Online resources. I can enter a street address into a site like this one and get any kind of information I might need, from local parking rules to the location of the nearest pharmacy or public toilet. How cool is that?!

7) Double decker busses. I mean, come on. How could you not love double decker buses?

8) British wordplay. Our relocation agent had a bunch of colorful phrases and expressions we'd never heard before. Some, like "I hope he's as fast to jump in my grave," took me a bit off guard. But others, including my personal favorite tickety-boo are destined to become part of my daily vernacular as soon as I can figure out a way to slide them in there without sounding absolutely ridiculous.

I'm quite certain that I'll be adding to this list as I get to know my new surroundings better. But for now, the fact that I already have eight things which genuinely excite me about London? Pretty darn tickety-boo, if you ask me. (No? Damn. I'll keep trying.)

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As fast to jump in my grave"?!? Even I think I need a little explanation on that one.

Glad to hear you can find the good in little things -- sometimes, that's the only thing that gets me through a day!

Kristy

5:22 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Krsity, she used the expression every time another driver cut her off (happens a lot around here). A car would pull a nasty maneuver and she'd say that she hoped the driver would be as fast to jump in her grave (i.e. he was trying so hard to get ahead of her that he could just well take her place when it's her turn to die, too). Took me a while, too... :)

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love love love double decker buses. I wish we had more of them in the states.

3:48 AM  
Blogger Denzylle said...

If you like the d/d buses, you'll be sorry to have missed the beloved Routemasters which were phased out in 2005 and replaced by the horrendous Bendy Buses. The Routemasters are the old 1950s buses which were open at the back so you could jump on and off between stops. Sadly, they are mostly now in private ownership - I even saw one in Atlanta.

If you have the time to do a sightseeing trip (good way to get an overview of what's where in London), don't take the tourist sightseeing buses, take the Heritage Trail which still uses the remaining one or two Routemasters. Besides the charm of the old buses, it's all for the price of an ordinary bus journey instead of the inflated tourist prices. Buy day tickets and you can get on and off as you pass various places. See this 'site for dates and times:

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/Default.asp

9:41 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

See, it is an adventure. Isn't it jarring that while we speak the same language, everything still can be so different? Enjoy these differences!

About wordlplay, thanks for the explanation (above) on "as fast to jump in my grave." What a great saying! And my mom says tickety-boo all the time. I've been known to utter it a time or two.

Dana (Canadian, not British) :-)

12:12 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I think the double-deck buses in themselves might be enough for me for the first few weeks. The buses AND tickey-boo?? Reason to think of relocating myself. ;)

(p.s. YAY - reading this post made me smile.)

7:27 PM  
Blogger jordan said...

a possible answer to why there aren't more cities with A to Z map books: if they had them in the States we'd call them A to Z instead of A to Zed - where's the fun in that? Much cooler with Zed.

6:59 PM  

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