Monday, 5 April 2010

Back in London...


The joy of walking straight off the Eurostar and into a bookshop, open on a Friday evening, on a bank holiday no less. The delight of handling books whose existence I had so far had to take on trust from Amazon and Radio Four.

And oh, the smell of Costa Coffee, the anticipation of a latté worthy of its name, tasting as nature intended, and lasting longer than a couple of sips.


No sooner had I formulated these patriotic thoughts that, standing on an escalator, I was jolted out of my British reverie.

"Excuse me," said the City Boy. I know London, lived here for five years: I recognise that tone. I've used it many times myself. It's the tone that says, look, I'm British, so I'm going to put a veneer of respectability and politeness on this, but you and I both know I am supremely irritated by your being in my way, because I am in a hurry go to and do Something Very Important.

He was lucky I was even trying to stand to the side, luggage and all. Where I come from, no such logic exists. People just stand where they like on escalators and if you're really in that much of a hurry, well then, you should have got up earlier, shouldn't you?

And much as it pains me to admit it, life at this reasonable pace may be a greater mark of civilisation than whether you open your bookshops on bank holidays or serve big enough lattés.

(Which doesn't mean I have to like it.)


Laura and Ben said...

Oh, but it is lovely to go back to England and spend a weekend enjoying the things you miss. We're going home on Thursday for a few days and I have a strict itinerary planned - there are scheduled breaks for both cups of mocha (my latte) and KFC - and there is also a shopping list as long as my arm!

On the whole, I think I prefer living in Belgium. I miss things about the UK, but I don't miss a whole lot more.

Claire said...

KFC! Thanks for the reminder!

Must also pop into a Nando's or two while I'm here...