Lots of folks have been asking us what it is like living in London. Honestly, we are just at the very beginning of our adventure here, and many of our experiences have been colored by the frustration of our Visa situation. However, after a fortnight, it seems as if I ought to be able to at least give a few thoughts and tidbits. Here, in no particular order, are some observations, notes and experiences I can share.
This is, indeed, a hot water heater! It is used to both heat the house and provide us hot water for washing. Since it goes on whenever we use any water, I am still not sure if it holds hot water in the tank or just heats on demand.
This is the control panel for the hot water heater. To the left, you select where the water goes (radiators, faucets, both or neither), the mid section is how hot it goes. And the left dial there lets you turn the radiators off and on by timer.
Unlike the Germans, who are understandably exceptionally uncomfortable with Nationalism in any form, the British love, love LOVE Britain, the UK, England and all its wonderful Anglo-exquisiteness with not the least bit of irony or sheepishness. Everything loudly proclaims its point of origin if it happens to be in the UK. A few examples from the kitchen. In case you were concerned, that isn’t just any old flour, that is BRITISH FLOUR you are sifting, there, lady!
Some things are acceptable to get elsewhere, however. For instance:
Cab Sirrah for the win…..a little acidic, maybe, but good for the sauce it made.
Weird English Phrase of the Day: Dessert here is “Pudding” or “Pud” for short. All dessert. The Cornish Clotted Cream I bought proudly declares that it will “Crown Your Pud!”
Milk-products here are AWESOME. EXCELLENT. FABULOUS. The BEST I have ever had- and I am a foody. Butter, cream, double cream, milk, cheese, butter, clotted cream, yogurt, butter. Seriously, you guys. SERIOUSLY!!
Caveate: The ice cream is a bit variable. Most stores have very limited supply and assortment. I maybe just haven’t found the right places to look, yet, but a line in Good Omens makes me think perhaps this is just SOP for England….
He brightened up. “Do you know,” he said, “my cousin said that in America there’s shops that sell thirty-nine different flavors of ice cream?”
This even silenced Adam, briefly.
“There aren’t thirty-nine flavors of ice cream,” said Pepper. “There aren’t thirty-nine flavors in the whole world.”
“There could be, if you mixed them up,” said Wensleydale, blinking owlishly. “You know. Strawberry and chocolate. Chocolate and vanilla.” He sought for more English flavors. “Strawberry and vanilla and chocolate,” he added, lamely.
— Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
When I was a kid, we lived in a beach cottage built in the 1920’s by its owners. It had clearly been someone’s Do It Yourself project on many occasions. While at that age such things meant little to me, I remember my parents discussing the various idiosyncrasies of the house often. Baseboards didn’t line up. Black Mold everywhere. Dry rot. And nothing level in the whole house. This place makes that place look well planned and immaculately maintained. Here are just a few of the quirks:
Why would I staple a bleached out washcloth to the wall?
Because these vents are everywhere….. The house has clearly had some issues with fungus and damp. And at some point they decided the best way to deal with it was to simply drill large holes through the walls, cover them with a bit of mesh and call it done. Actually works ok in the bathroom. NOT so good in Audric’s Bedroom.
Notice anything about that shower? Like, perhaps that the angle it points is roughly Wallward? To shower, you have to hold it in your hand.
Why use one color of ineffective caulk, when you could just smear on two?
the Linen Closet…. Fresh!
Windows were replaced with double-pane throughout the house, but not the ones on the inside….. That is some old school glass, that is.
Pretty sure they hired a team of drunk 12 year olds to paint the bathroom
Wasn’t room for cornice allll the way to the wall, you see.
Hard to tell, but the paint doesn’t actually cover the layer underneath it- which was made primarily of fungus that has already been creeping through to cover the wall. I have been mopping the shower ceiling daily with bleach.
Mom and Dad sing along with me: Who’ll be sitting on the toilet when the floor finally falls through, who’ll be sitting on the toilet when the floor finally falls through? Who’ll be sitting on the toilet when the floor finally falls through? You know it could be you! (lyrics by my Mom, HB Hall, tune- Battle Hymn of the Republic. Circa 1980).
All that said, we are making progress in getting the place livable and workable and even somewhat cozy…. Not there *YET*. For instance, I am currently sleeping in Audric’s bed, he is sleeping on his sister’s floor and David sleeps on our floor:
One more week before our bed arrives. EVERYTHING takes longer here, from what we can tell. It just… does.
It may TAKE longer, but that does not mean it IS longer. That paper towel roll is on a standard paper towel dispenser from Germany. This is the LARGE roll here- the tube next to it is the standard size for paper towels in England. The mop and broom are, oddly, similarly proportioned. Brits clean with miniature supplies…… Why?
When we arrived at Heathrow, the car company failed to show up. However, we were greeted by a full a capella choir trying to raise money for charity.
There have been non-stop local fireworks since we arrived. Largely, we assume, due to this shop. We rather thought they would stop after Guy Fawkes Day, but…. nope.
This is how you buy your gas and electric here. You can choose whatever vendor you want, then you go down to the local mini-market and refill your cards. Pre-pay. There is a meter in the Harry Potter Room under the stairs that shows what is left. Voila.
This made me crack up. I might have been tired.
Other frequent visitors:
And, because I am always fascinated how various places express this sentiment:
Next time, more on our quest to get my medical care set up, and various other adventures.