Thursday, January 20, 2011

London Vignettes: Mid-January 2011

Uniquely London
Today I had seven hours of classes (a student's work is never done) so this blog entry will be a little briefer than usual. Here's how London presented itself to me today:

  • Two more people asked me for direction in Belgravia today - and again I was able to assist. I must have acquired a definite air of a local.
  • Después de la clase, salí del Instituto y  gira hacia la izquierda a Hyde Park Corner...(we did directions today).
  • But then (there being only 30 minutes to get to the next class halfway across London) I hailed a black cab - that uniquely London form of transport. I have found a website run by someone called 'Bob The Brit' and here Bob tells you all about black cabs. Bob says that cabbies have to pass a 'Knowledge of London' test: Drivers are required to know the details of 320 routes covering 25,000 streets within a six mile radius of Charing Cross. 
  • It sped me on my way past Buckingham Palace, the brooding pile at the edge of Green Park.
Buckingham Palace. I didn't stop in for tea, I was late for class.
  • On the monument in front of the Palace (a Winged Victory, perhaps?) there was a gent in suit and tie, and bowler hat, standing on the balustrade holding a soccer ball. I have no idea why.
  • Along The Mall, grey-coated guards were marching back and front in front of an imposing looking building, wearing another special London feature: the busby (although apparently not unique to Britain).
The Busby. Also worn by Hungarian hussars.
  • We circled around Trafalgar Square, where we spent so long in traffic that I was able to contemplate the sheer size of those lions in Trafalgar Square.
One of the 'big guys' in Trafalgar Square
  • Passed the Beauchamp Hotel in Bloomsbury and wondered how a word like that ever came to be pronounced "beecham".
  • Home after late class on the No. 91 bus. Have learnt to take the bus home. Red double-decker. Here is 'Bob The Brit' on the subject of red buses.
Mine is the No. 91

Another day in London Town.

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