It was a good weekend, thank you, and a pleasure to spend time with children and sister. Also started to carry out my resolve to get to grips with London buses. As I explained to my daughter, catching them is easy enough, it's knowing where to get off that is the problem. Especially if you need to ring the bell in advance and can't rely on recognising just round the corner from where you need. However, all went well and I will, in future, take my A to Z so that I know where I am at all times.
Usually, the pleasure in a city is in knowing roughly where you are (which you always do in London), but getting enjoyably lost. I do like wandering around and finding your way back by chance and a bump of direction. When I visit my sister by train, I usually walk back from Waterloo to Liverpool Street - not much scope for getting lost there, when most of the walking is along the river, but when I get to St Paul's or Tower Bridge, I never quite follow the same route twice through the City.
I trust that I will sound a little calmer this week than last, although I'm not relying on it. There is still an absurd amount to do, which would be fine if I hadn't promised to keep shop for at least half of every day. I have, at least, been cracking on with War and Peace; I'm about two-thirds of the way through and, at present, Napoleon is closing in on Moscow.
I spent an annoyed hour this morning, trying to find out the dates of a couple of gold pocket watches that the Sage has to value. All attempts at Googling, or Yahoo!ing have failed. Easy to find silvermarks (which he pretty well knows by heart anyway) but gold is another matter. It would be easy for me to order, online, books on the subject, but just pictures of the date letters (very confusing to try to work out the shape of a letter from its description) must be out there somewhere. And the word 'date' gives the wrong impression altogether and attempts were made to direct me to websites of a different nature.
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I just adore London....but not the Tube. Normally I walk everywhere - must try taking a bus next time but then I'd also not know where to get off...hmmm...glad you had a good time. Did you eat any scrummy foody things?
And thank goodness for Google - it is the answer to most of my queries these days. How did we live with out it? Remember those old Encyclopaedia Britannicas? I used them for all school projects.
I'm glad I'm not the only one - it used to be that you could ask the driver to let you know when to get off, but I don't think I'd have the nerve nowadays. Getting to El & P's flat is only 3 stops on the tube, but involves a change of line, which means you feel you are walking most of the way.
A particularly nice veggie curryish dish on Friday night, steak on Saturday to make up for the unaccustomed virtue. Introduced to a gorgeous shop by Daughter which I'll mention when I find the bag.
I still have our Encyclopaedia Britannicas from about 1964! I used to browse through them for hours. And read the dictionary. What an odd child I must have been.
Oh, and did you know you have to buy the bus ticket before you board nowadays? Or get an Oyster card. I am absurdly in love with the Oyster card.
Once, when Olivier and I were travelling in South America, we were standing in the middle of the bus, hanging on for dear life (those drivers are COWBOYS!) when we thought we spotted a familiar landmark and decided to get off.
There, in Quito, it was the custom to yell out to the driver (from wherever you were sitting or standing) and tell him where to stop. And he would swerve across the road and screech to a halt.
Well, we wanted to get off at the next corner, so we started yelling..."Izquierda izquierda" thinking it was the word for 'corner'.
Everyone looked at us as if we were quite quite mad..and the driver raised his eyebrows and continued. We continued yelling hysterically as he passed out corner.
Eventually he stopped for someone else and we stumbled out and had to walk back a few blocks.
Once in our hotel room we dived into the little dictionary we had, trying to fathom out why he wouldn't stop.
And we realised we'd been telling him to turn left....the word izquierda (left) sounded similar to esquina (corner) so we messed up. Very humuliating but we did have a good laugh!
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