Monday, January 23, 2012

London Jottings - 3"

Today… (Stay with the concept. It heightens the experience.)

Our London apartment has a shower, which is not separate but is a combined shower/bathtub kind of arrangement. You stand in the tub, and you take a shower.

I am finished showering. I turn off the water, but as I have accidentally stepped on the stopper, there is about three inches of water sloshing around in the bottom of the tub, not draining out because I accidentally stepped on the stopper.

I reach for a bath towel, which is draped over an electric towel warmer. The towel is not warm, because the towel warmer switch has apparently not been turned on. I decide to flip on the towel warmer switch to warm up the towel.

As I reach for the electric towel warmer switch, a vestigial synapse in an underused part of my brain because it relates to science sends a not entirely formed thought to my conscious mind. Something about…

“Electricity – water. Death. After some uncontrollable jerking around, with the possible involvement of smoke, rising ‘Execution-style’ from the top of one’s head.”

I back away from the towel warmer.

It was a very close call. I almost never think on vacation.


Shopping at a nearby Convenience Store to procure provisions for our apartment, I noticed, gracing the pharmaceuticals shelf, a recognizable Pain Reliever in its trademark packaging – the familiar small, yellow box with the product’s name printed prominently in black lettering. There was only one difference. The box said,


Not Anacin. Anadin. The same packaging. But with a “d.”

I found this to be highly peculiar. Until, while walking back to our apartment, I passed a Financial Services concern whose overhanging sign read,

Royds Of London.

What the heck is going on!

Language Barrier

I found myself continually asking our British-accented cab driver to repeat himself because I could not understand what he was saying. Whenever I did, I was required to repeat myself because, inexplicably, the cab driver could not understand what I was saying.

For Shame

Dining at the home of good friends, I was confronted with a pork roast. Did I hew firmly my principles, proclaim my dietary limitations, and only eat the potatoes? I most cowardlyly did not. I instead mutely consumed the two pinkish slices delivered to my plate, smothering them in applesauce and cranberry sauce, to keep God from seeing I was swallowing curly-tailed meat. I did not hear from the Almighty. But I did hear from my stomach, which wondered, “Are we under new management, or what?”

Respect For The Elderly And Infirm

Riding the Underground (subway), a man with white hair, looking as old as I am or older, got up and offered me his seat. I must have generous mirrors at home. I think I look terrific.

Hello, Goodbye

The sun momentarily appeared in the slate-grey sky, apparently lost on its way to Spain. It then realized its mistake, and disappeared for a week.

Art lesson: When you see the murderous skies in British paintings, we are not witnessing the outward expression the artist’s darker nature. That is actually their sky. At least in winter.

You Can’t Be Too Careful

A nearby couple was polishing off their drinks and their pudding (dessert). The man waved over their waitress.

“One more for each of us, please,” requested the customer.

The waitress nodded and headed away. A minute later, she returned to clarify the order.

“Was that one more drink, or one more pudding?”


Fortuitously, our apartment was a five-minute walk from the “Old Bailey”, the criminal courts I habitually visit, to sit up in the gallery (the gallery looms above the courtroom) and watch what, for me, is the dramatic spectacle of ongoing trials. Wigs and all.

An extremely high profile murder case had been dragging on for eighteen years. The judge was scheduled to “sum up” to the jury, before sending them off to deliberate. I went to the courthouse to see if I could get in. I couldn’t. The gallery (about thirty seats) was already full, primarily with the families of the victim and the defendants, who got priority. Justifiably so, of course, though I still thought they could have reserved a seat for the person who came the furthest.

The next day, I returned, as the “summing up” had expanded to a second session. Again, I did not get in.

A few days later, my persistence sent me back a third time. This time

I got in.

That story, tomorrow.

In the meantime...

Headline in a major London newspaper:

Sword Swallower Stabs Himself

(Another headline…I will spare you the first part, but the headline continued with the words…

…Because He Forgot We Drive On The Left


JED said...

These are great, Earl. This post reminds me of Laugh In

Can't wait for the next post to see how that long trial ends.

Zaraya said...

Dear Mr. Pomerantz; I am glad you are enjoying yourself and sharing your trip with us in these Jottings.