Tag Archives: England

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Do you remember the interstitial sketch from Monty Python where John Cleese would say, “And now for something completely different?”

That seems like the perfect way to start off today’s post. Because today I am moving away from South Africa to tell you about the few brief days we spent in London. And I am not going to talk about the very important but nevertheless depressing things that I have talked about for the last few weeks. No mention of rape, or murder, or bombings, or anything like that.

No. Today’s post will about something completely different: bagels.

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Words are funny little things.

I know, because I spend most of my days wrestling with them, trying to manipulate them into what I want them to be, often to no avail. Have you ever tried chiseling someone’s likeness in a a hunk of jell-o? It’s something like that.

But I love them, and I can’t rightly abandon them, because my blog would be oh-so-boring without words. It would be nothing more than photos of cupcakes and me making out with my husband. (I realize it’s not much more than that now, but it has the potential to be more, thanks to words. Or so I tell myself.)

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It seems like my trip to London happened ages ago, and not just a few weeks back. I was there just before Halloween, and the weather was so blissful and warm that I was walking around in a t-shirt. A t-shirt! Say what you will of global warming (and the ultimate demise of frogs, polar bears, and humans) but at least it’s made fall in Britain downright pleasant.

I spent some time down at the Occupy London protest, and walked along South Bank and across the Millennium Bridge. Don’t worry, though – I still managed to waste that sunshine by spending plenty of time indoors, too, wandering through museums and shopping. Here are some of my favorite snapshots from the trip.

  1. One-Eyed Falcon, The British Museum.
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    Wanna know how it happened, kids? I'll tell ya. It was a Red Ryder BB gun, with a compass and this thing that tells time.

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  2. Bashful Aphrodite, The British Museum.
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    Oh, please, stop acting so surprised. You obviously posed for this.

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Last night I penned this:

It's true.

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From my trip to London last spring, in much quieter times.

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Like most of you, I’ve been following the news about the riots in London. I’ve seen the photos. I’ve searched through news articles. I’ve poured through the twitter accounts of my friends across the pond, all in an attempt to figure out what the hell is going on over there. And there’s so much I want to say, but I’m not sure where to start.

I’m tempted to begin by yelling at the tribes of young, embittered idiots who are running through the city and destroying everything in their path, like a pack of deranged locusts. Though instead of corn, they’re seeking out electronics. I want to slap some sense in them, and remind them that they are from the country that invented manners (and a healthy disdain at a lack of said manners), and their behavior is completely unacceptable. I hope that in a few days’ time, they’ll look at the burning wreckage of their city, and they’ll understand that they’re the ones who will have to live in it. It’s the societal equivalent of rubbing a dog’s nose in its mess.

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I should warn you right now: I am feeling miserably sentimental.

Seriously – my brain is a squishy pile of emotional goo right now. I can’t quite identify the source. But going through my photos from our London trip, I am finding myself with the overwhelming desire to pack up my bag and hop on the next flight to Heathrow. Yes, this would be ill-advised. Yes, this would be expensive. No, I do not think, in any way, shape, or form, that this would be a good idea.

And yet, and yet, and yet.

Sometimes my heart and my brain can’t agree.

Rand and I left for London directly from New York. We were gone for more than two weeks. During that time, the oft-neglected plant that I’ve had for years managed to cheat death once again. We were gone so long, I forgot what our house smelled like (inexplicably, it’s melted crayons, garlic, and cinnamon. Do not ask me what I’ve been up to in the kitchen). And right now it is very, very good to be home, for the brief span of time that we’ll actually be here.

So why do I miss London so acutely? Why do I want to go to a country that’s so gray and miserable, and full of strangers, and so damn far away from home?

For once, the answers come easily …

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I love cake.

More than anything in the world, really (with one glaring exception). I am obsessed with it, in a way that few people will understand. Occasionally, I will rifle through old pictures, and find photos of cakes I made long ago. I remember them fondly, like old lovers.

I long for them in the middle of the night. When I daydream, my thoughts fall to them. And I must make a conscious decision, every time I am at the grocery store, to buy groceries and not an entire sheet cake or three.

Recently, a friend of mine got married, and I started dancing around in anticipation of the cake, and other numerous goodies that were on the dessert table. And after standing an excruciating few minutes in line (DEAR GOD THE HUMANITY) I was finally able to get to the front, where I might have piled an obscene number of sweets onto my plate.

Later, I sat amongst my friends, frosting smudged across my lips, drool dripping from my mouth, and slowly slipped into a mild diabetic coma. It was glorious.

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The other day we were hanging out with some friends – some American, some not, and we realized that none of us were really sure what countries are included in the phrase “United Kingdom”. Nor did we know what’s a part of “Great Britain.” England, we pretty much figured out (they’re those wussy guys who tried to tax us, right?).

The point is, along with which colors indicates positive and negative charges on a pair of jumper cables, these are things that we all should probably know, but don’t (For the record, red is positive and black is negative). I figured it was best to set the record straight (for myself and others) before we actually head out Glasgow and London next week. So while our British reader (Hi, Will!) sits back and cringes, the rest of you should pay attention, because we might all learn something. (more…)