The Glories of the Old World – Part #2

Posted: August 7, 2013 in Tim Braun
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When last we left you (no doubt with bated breath) we were at Westminster Abbey attempting gravity tests at the grave of Sir Isaac Newton.  It worked.  Gravity, that is.  But you know what else worked at Westminster Abbey?  Line cutting.  THREE times we were blatantly cut off by the most unlikely people.    Young, old, it didn’t matter. They just walked right into the middle of the line and acted like they belonged.  Is this a London thing?  To be fair, I don’t think any of the cutters were English OR American (thankfully) and I won’t go into any nefarious details of their ethnic background.  But you have to have some guts to cut in line to go into a church.

The next problem we had were finding the delicacy deemed as macarons.  For some reason my daughter was obsessed with finding these.macarons  And by the way, for you grammatical grammaticians macarons is spelled correctly, even though Microsoft Word flags it like it’s a pence in a pound bag (see what I did there?).   Of course grammaticians is not a real word, but that’s a fight for another blog.  For some reason all this time I thought we were looking for macaroons.  Wrongness.  That’s a different cookie entirely because those darn French have a different name for everything.  We looked everywhere and finally located those finicky morsels of almond and sugar in the 63rd floor (approximately) of Selfridge’s Department Store.  They were OK.  I’d take a Hostess HoHo any day of the week.  Check that box off the vacation list.

You know what London has a severe shortage of?  Two things – ice and rubbish bins.  Why don’t they give you ice in any drink or at least have it readily available?  It can’t be an issue with expense since they’re serving water anyway.  They just need to dial the fridge back a few degrees and BOOM.  For some reason though they’re allergic to serving it, which kind of makes ‘iced tea’ a bit of a joke.  More like ‘tepid tea’.  Yum.

rubbishRubbish bins also are a scarcity over there.  Why?  Were people stealing them for their own use?  I can’t tell you how many times (because I don’t remember) I went to throw something away and there was not a rubbish bin to be found.  Contrast that to me sitting on a Washington, DC park bench yesterday and seeing no less than 12 trash cans (rubbish bins for the Colonists) within plain site.  We Americans know how to throw some crap away, eh?  Do Londoners just keep shoving their trash in their pockets until they get home?  Do they have rubbish bins in their homes?  Do they just flush everything in their water closet?  See how I’ve picked up all of these English words?  And you thought I couldn’t write in English….

Another English peculiarity – monkey nuts.  First of all, let me just say that monkey nuts are the slang for peanuts across the pond.  But I can’t monkeynutstell you how long it took me to figure out what they were.  Here I was, standing on a beautiful old bridge looking over the River Thames and gesticulating at the culture just being shoved down our throats, when I hear a throaty old man yelling ‘Get your monkey nuts here….’.   Twas an Anglo moment to be treasured.  I think from now on I’ll just use that phrase as my standard goodbye.  It will leave people wondering and just wanting more.  That’s how I always want to leave – with people wanting more of me.

So we saw lots of stuff there.  I won’t go any further into the London Eye, the soccer games, Big Ben, the Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Parliament and everything else we saw….instead I’ll leave you with a commercial that I saw over there that may be the best ad I have ever seen.

Cut to a very sexy woman getting ready to go out, all very slickly shot and very appealing. As she applies mascara in her bathroom, a trickle of blood emerges at the corner of her eye and the voice over says ‘we wouldn’t ignore blood from any other part of our body’.


She is then seen brushing her teeth and, as she spits into the sink, there are spots of blood as the voice over continues ‘so why do we ignore it from our gums’. The ad concludes as the woman is walking out the door; she is seen looking into the mirror as she lifts up the side of her mouth with a finger where a missing tooth is revealed.


Then the product slogan comes on:

“For people who spit blood when they brush their teeth…..Corsodyl”


Is that not the best dental ad you’ve ever heard of?  If I lived in London I bet I could write a blog a day if I lived there and never run out of material.

Anyway, next up is the third and final part of my journey to London – meeting “The Most Interesting Man in Great Britain”.  Come back again soon!  Monkey Nuts!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Excellent post! Riveting! I laughed and I cried!


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