Summer is coming to an end

It’s around 7pm and on my walk home from work I can see the sun setting. After a slightly annoying day at ye old office a walk through Hyde park hits the spot, and I welcome the visual spectacle. But it does mean those really long summer nights are coming to and end. For the last few months I’ve enjoyed sunsets after 9pm (well when it’s not pouring down new historic rainfall amounts) and lots of daylight.
This weekend the mayor is hosting the annual Thames festival self described as the offical end of summer festival.
I can only hope we get that Indian summer meteorologista are talking about.
Fingers crossed.
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Sweet or salty?

I know everyone speaks English but sometimes you really can feel like a foreigner. Last night we went to see that Bourne (incredibly loosely based on the book) movie. I bought some popcorn like I often do, but here in jolly old England I was asked ‘sweet or salty?’ The lady looked quite confused when I said ‘no, and no’. She actually looked quite baffled and asked again. ‘Sweet or salty’ ‘Um, … Normal?’ Confused pause. ‘Sweet or salty!’
‘Uh, salty I guess …’
She handed be over the largest small I’ve ever seen and I marvelled in the fact that the popcorn wasn’t bright yellow and oozing with butter ala Toronto.
It was however as expected, salty. WAY to salty.
I think next time I’ll go for the beer they were selling in the adjacent kiosk. Yes, beer in a movie theatre
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Tourist day 2

In between the england vs isreal football match and Canada vs whales rugby match we take John and his friend Chris to London’s must see spots. Today, tower hill and tower bridge.
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The strike continues

The tube entrance at King’s Cross. This is the wait to get on the two running lines. The line goes a block long. Meanwhile across the street the buses are full and stops are rammed. But if my coworkers can catch their black cabs in to work from south Kensington … Well then surely I can make it in on time too.
No smiles for me today
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Strike again

So far I have to say, loving the tube strike. It gave me a great excuse to sleep in, and for once living at kings cross worked to my benefit. King’s Cross provides loads of bus options and the themeslink (over land rail) is still running and 2 or the 3 remaining functional tube lines run throug King’s Cross . Not that I dared try to take the tube. I’ve seen the scary amounts of people who come off those commuter trains, I’m not fighting with them. No, I took the rail down to blackfriars in the city and enjoyed a nice 30 min walk to work. The sun is shining weather is crisp, and I’m getting a bit of exercise.
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Update your damn website

I’m coming home from Berlin and I’m on the standsted express and it’s late. We get to tottenham hale were I can connect to the Victoria line and get home quite a bit faster than if I stayed on the express all the way down to London Liverpool. But it’s late it’s 11.45 so I decide to check London tube online for their last tube time, I.m that clever:
Tottenham Hale 0528 0544 0555 … … 0057 … 0720 … … … 0020
You can imagine my shock and anger when I get through the turnstile and hear that the last train left 15 minutes ago. Seriously? How? I read your damn schedule and checked!!! I go talk to the unhelpful man in the booth who tells me that it’s Sunday, trains finish early. I show him the online schedule still loaded up in my handheld and he frowns and says, oh … That schedule is wrong. Wrong?! How?!? How can you be wrong about the last train by 45 minutes?!? I’m pissed and I tell this guy how ridiculous this is. I’m trying to get to kings cross and had I known your schedule is WRONG I would have stayed on the express train all the way to Liverpool street and taken the tube there (which generally runs later) or taken one of the many short bus options. Now I’m stuck in zone 3 waiting for a series of2 night buses at midnight because you incompotent monkeys can’t get your schedule right!!! I know I say this all the time, but I am SO writing them an angry letter.
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Quiet morning

This is an odd site on the morning rush to work. I usually need to elbow a few old ladies and hip check the odd pregnant lady to get a seat. Not this morning, I seem to have happened upon a district line train less than half full. Has daylight savings kicked in?? What’s going on?!
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The Italian Shop

I new deli slash sandwich shop slash cafe opened in Belgravia the other week. It seems I’ve found London’s version of my much loved Toronto Bay street establishment, Mercatto’s. Except perhaps that this place takes the Italian vibe beyond shelves stocked with Italian products, and further stocks their shop with (pretty, this is belgravia after all) Italian staff who yell orders at each other in full on pationate Italian.
They make a tasty rocket and tomato salad too.

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Tab day at the Sandwich Shop

I stopped by what has quickly become my favourite lunch time stop: Buckingham Coffee Lounge. Tucked behind a shopping complex with the likes of mainstream eateries such as Nandos, Eat, Wagamamas and the ever present Marks and Spencer, my little sandwich shop is delightfully simple. No Rocket + Brie & Cranberry compote baguette to be found here, just straight forward simple British sandwiches. Which of course means obscene amounts of mayonaise. But if I’m careful in my ordering I can avoid the typical gloopy english sandwich and get something quite tasty, and for under £ 2.50! Lately, I’ve become a bit of a regular, and as a result I’ve noticed that I’m not alone. The same 4 staff members who work there every day are starting to know me, but not as well as the hoards of cabbie drivers who seem to come by everyday. I’ve noticed the black cabs lined up outside before, but never paid much attention to how often these guys lunch here. But today the staff was extra chatty with them, since I learned today is tab day. At least half the place was setteling their weekly tabs with the shop. Quite the trusting policy especially given that we’re in central London and all the papers on the coffee shop tables are splashed with headlines about the 11 year old boy shot dead in a drive by shooting (err.. ride-by, it was from a bicycle. The killer is beleived to be 13). But in this little sandwich shop, London feels very friendly.

In this photo, you can see the green sign for the shop, and all the black (and one token red) cabs lined up outside.

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Back in the U.K.


You know what I love about the British.. their sense of humour. It’s so dry and just plain amazing.

There are these two old British guys at work who sit upstairs, I used to sit near them and know them quite well. I ran into them at the end of my lunch. Now I have on a coat, a scarf, rosy red cheeks and a half broken umbrella and those two are just out in their regular suits. So I question them and they proceed to, as the British call it, take the piss out of me. Please picture this with molasses thick British old man accents:

me: No jackets?

Num 1: oh what? No, I wanted to get some fresh air..
Num 2: …yes, it’s just so dreadfully hot these days.
Num 1: … mm, yes, just stiffling actually.
Num 2: well, it is August, we must expect it.

me: oh yes, hardly. It’s freezing out today! And the rain makes it worse

Num 1: oh what? this? Just wait until November
me: Oh right, when it will be dark by lunch?

Num 2: No, that’s when the real rain starts.
Num 1: You’ll be happy it’s dark. You won’t be able to see the rain.
Num 2: hmm yes, only way you can bare it.

So amusing.

For the Brits who read this

This photo is for the few Brits out their who read this. This is Toronto’s version of the tube. Notice how wide and spacious it is, almost luxurious. It’s 9.30 am and hardly a crowd (unlike the Victoria line that dies down for about 12 minutes around 11 before picking up the lunch time crowds) And the crowning achievement … Air conditioning!!
(we won’t discuss the limited service map or that there only 2.5 lines …details details)
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The joys of our neighbourhood

This is King’s Cross after all. But what’s with the paper bags? This is London, I believe public drinking is legal … If not those chavs on the bus, construction workers at the grocery store and football hooligans on the tube (on Saturday morning I might add) have some explaining to do! Seriously, why hide it? Although I admit it looks a bit artistic. Have artists moved in? Maybe the neighbourhood really is gentrifying!

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Potter Spotter Part 2

Continuing on the Harry Potter mania, there was a full gaggle of muggles at platform 9 3/4 today:

They were all fully decked out in capes, and the chaperones had wizards hats. How odd.
King’s Cross is busy today in general. I don’t know why, but today seems to be tourist day and my normally empty train is packed with poorly dressed fat Americans. Admittedly the weather is beautiful, but that seems to be the norm this past week.

Sunday Roast with some Canadians

i love that London is a transport hub for people. You get lots of random people passing through on their way to somewhere else. Today my old clasmate Scott was on a few day lay over on his way to a 4 week trip to Africa. We met him for some Sunday roast at a unassuming pub near oxford circus. This roast had the biggest Yorkshire pudding I’ve ever seen!!! Not your normal little cupcake sized bowl, no this was a huge slab of Yorkshire pudding goodness:
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BlackBerry Blogging

To continue our reputation of “the house of the future,” I’ve decided it was about time to set up mobile blogging on britlog. Through the miracles of modern technology, Sylvia and I can now post to the blog from our BlackBerrys. Here’s Sylvia blogging on the street:

This will ensure we can post all of our rage as it happens.

Adverts on the tube

This is typical. An advertisement for something I don’t get. I don’t know who that is (am I supposed to?) and I just think the question is a bit rude! Maybe I should be reading one of the several dozen trashy gossip magazines they have here. Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device