Chivalry in British men is dead

So I’m in my 35th week of pregnancy. Commuting to work has given me a nice guage on London chivalry.

Bus this morning? One middle seat between two men both late 30’s. One obese one fairly fit (for British people). Tried to sit down between the 2 of them they’d seeped onto my potential seat leaving me maybe 2/3 of the seat free. I made a motion to sit, but realising i’d end up on both their laps I stood up and looked at them both. Obese guy looked asleep. Thinner guy had sunglasses and preceded to ignore me. A sigh of disgust at these 2 and I stop down the bus to the middle where within seconds a young woman offers my pergant self a seat.

Women 1 Men 0

Tube this evening.

Crowded platform, crowded tube. I squeeze in and stand in the middle, all seats taken proceed to casually scroll through my blackberry. Minute oases and the only woman sitting immediately offers me a seat. The men? All under 50 all in visual decent health, most staring off blankly. A few look up to their surprise that the seat exchange happened at all.

Women 2 Men 0

Based on my one day scientific analysis, I can safely conclude that the sterotype of the kind proper chivalrous English gentleman no long exists.

Or he doesn’t ride public transport.

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Spring is (almost) in the air

Its still a bit cold, but you can feel spring just around the corner. This weekend has been a nice change from the grey bleak English winter. Blue skies and sunshine. Its always a bit surprising when the sun comes out. Its like its brighter than back home. I end up squinting like a 10 year old child going outside for the first time in days after playing video games for hours on end.

this place in Exmouth market, you can see the sun streaming in through the windows. I actually saw a few people switch tables to avoid the sunshine!

Exmouth Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device


Yumcha in soho, a café that believes in liberating tea from the pesky confines of bags. What’s impressive is that to choose your tea, they offer it to you in little jars to smell. A clever way to get you to try something new.

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Beas of bloomsbury

So maybe this year I should try a few other coffee shops in London. In the past 2.5 years I’ve been in here, London has seemed to experience a new love for coffee. Tea stays strong, but the love for good coffee is growing (ask any Expat and good coffee doesn’t equal costa, nero or pret) independent coffee shops have popped up all over the city. I’ve been biased to the Aussiekiwi places, probably influenced by the coworkers. But as they all seem to be heading back home, and I’m on a pure decaf diet now, its time to expand.

So, here I am in bea’s of bloomsbury. British run. Actually more of a bakery, really, the selection of cakes is extreme. Weird thing is, all the tables are reserved! This is the first coffee shop I have ever been to that takes reservations.

Forced to linger by the door for a few minutes while a table frees up I notice all the patrons are having scones and …. Tea!. Busted, my expectations on the coffee imediately drops.

A few minutes later though, I’m seated (and told that I have to free the table in 45 min for the next booking). a decaf latte arrives, dressed with a pretty little fern leaf (the showy finish every good coffee place likes to do) I’m surprised. Coffee is excellent.

Maybe next time I should graduate from newbie status and make a reservation.

note: a good article on the coffee culture;

Back in the UK

And back to a simplier time where people haven’t been subjected to sophisticated technilogical advances like shredded lettuce. Come on UK Subway, your lettuce looks like it was ripped apart by a monkey wearing oven mits. Everyother civilalised country knows that lettuce, like cheese, is way tastier when shredded. A sub may hit the spot post flight home, but can we not catch up to north America 20 years ago?

Ps, stop asking me what salad I want on my sub. Its not salad, its toppings.

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Tea snobs.

No surprise that there is a huge snob factor with the tea, but even after 2 and a half years there are still things that will shock me. Business trip in Brussels, breakfast at the hotel. 2 British colleagues ask for tea. They get nicely serving piping hot earl grey tea, and the conversation goes like this:

British 1: earl grey tea?! In the morning???

British 2: I know, can you believe it?

British 1: no! This is outrageous.

British 2:: only on the continent.

British 1: I mean seriously, earl grey in the morning???

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I miss corn!

Good solid autumn Canadian corn. This corn here in UK is awful. Chewy rubbery a bit brownish? How dare they even call it summer sweetcorn. Especially after being back home in Toronto last week and having amazing peaches and cream ontario corn on the cobb at my parents house. The things I end up missing.

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Morning paper

I know the Uk goes against their stuffy stereotype and happily puts topless sunshine girls in their newspapers. But as the guy beside me on the tube is looking at that page now, it seems a little unsettling at 6.40am. Anytime before 9am seems too early to me. Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device