The London Eye from Victoria Embankment
Going along with the Queen's Jubilee theme that's even hitting me here in Michigan I thought I'd share something I received in the post. Joe's gran who lives in Florida, sends me newspaper clippings from her local paper about all things British - this time featuring the Queen. Amongst columns about the Queen's lifetime, where in Tampa Bay you can grab yourself a good cup of tea was a Q&A about "Visiting London". Here's how one Florida journalist writes about London - my responses will be in brackets [all images are my own].
What is the most important thing to remember in London?
[So you think he might mention seeing all the glorious historical landmarks, to look after your personal belongings on the Tube or about buying a map, but no no] "Look right. The British drive of the left hand side of the street, which means traffic is coming at you on the right. There are LOOK right signs everywhere [really? I can't ever remember seeing them?!], but it's easy to forget" [seriously over six months in America and I forget traffic comes from the left].
What is one thing Americans do better than the British?
[Are we seriously going down this route?!] "Serve salads. A simple tossed salad is hard to find". [WTF?!].
Westminster Abbey and the Clock Tower which is home to Big Ben
What is one thing the British do better than Americans?
"It's been said that Britain is a "nation of shopkeepers". Londoners do seem to have a sense of retail courtesy not always found here in the US." [Nah you'll find rude people in England too! I really would have thought us British did public transport much better].
What is surprisingly cheap in London and what is surprisingly expensive?
[Firstly too many surprisingly in one sentence!] "Public transportation - the Tube (sub-way) and buses - is a bargain. Dining out is expensive, but if you're willing to "cook" ... there are markets where you can buy much less expensive sandwich fillings, fruits and snacks". [Just get yourself to Marks and Sparks!].
Piccadilly Circus Tube
Along Birdcage Walk heading towards Buckingham Palace, St James's Park is to the right.
What is an absolute must-do in London?
"After all the shopping and sightseeing treat yourself to afternoon high tea, which is served with sandwiches that have their crusts cut off [oh la la], pastries and warm scones with clotted (Devonshire) cream. If there on a Sunday, go to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens ... it's a great stroll (if it's not raining, of course)". [Oh you had to get a dig at British weather in!].
Speaking of the weather ...
"It rains. Lots. But that gives you a chance to watch British TV. The BBC channels are commercial-free and you'll hear lots of different British accents" [oh goodie - we're known for our accents not how good the acting is or what the shows are about].
The Sherlock Holmes Museum - Baker St.
How do you find these assumptions and perceptions of London and Britain? Did the journalist get it right? How do you see the UK/London?
Article and quotes taken from Fred W. Wright's Visiting London; Q&A which featured in the Tampa Bay Times; Life Times April 25th 2012.