London went by so fast! There was a lot that happened in there. When you’re in London, the city just keeps going on and on. Having made small trips to other UK cities such as Edinburgh, Bath, and Cardiff made me I realize just how big London was. All that time when we lived in Islington I could just forget there was a world outside of London. London has a lot of different boroughs and whatnot with different personalities, but the urban-ness never seems to slack off at any point. It can take hours to get from one end of London to another. I liked it, although I can imagine it might make someone feel claustrophobic.
I am no longer in London (!!!), but I’m still going to write about London just a bit. Here is London retold through some random “things”.
Canal boats, I think they are called. I first saw one at Camden Market, then found a whole neighborhood of them on a small waterway near our flats. When I was looking on Airbnb at one point I found a guy and his canal boat, but I didn’t end up booking him. He literally wrote that he might be in different countries at different times of the year. But essentially the living space is probably really long and narrow. Some people put potted plants along the little “porch” area or on top of the boat. I also saw some people just sitting on top of their boat and having a picnic. The one canal boatmen I talked to said he was a student and was living in his brother’s boat. Some tell me they are actually somewhat expensive to live in, maybe that is so. But next time I have the opportunity I would really love living in one of these!
Pancake Day (Feb. 13th this year, day before Ash Wed.) and Mothering Sunday (March 26th, fourth Sunday in Lent)
Pancakes are more of a U.S. thing, but Pancake Day exists in the UK. Originally it was for getting rid of foods before Lent, i.e. making things into pancakes with various toppings. We took advantage of the holiday and got some pancakes half off.
Just recently! Mother’s Day, or Mothering Sunday, is celebrated earlier than the US Mother’s Day and is in association with religious dates. I saw a lot of signs for Mothering Day when I was in Bath and the Cotswolds.
Dated Eggs. Eggs don’t need to be put in the refrigerator in the UK. Unlike in the US, where eggs are cleaned, in the UK the good ones are not. This means that UK eggs retain their outside layer, called a cuticle, that can protect it from germs. In the US, eggs need to be washed to prevent salmonella, which is less of a risk in the UK. There are also other reasons: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/29/english-eggs-vs-american-eggs_n_5403941.html
One of my professors at Grinnell actually told me about Quorn. Quorn is a vegetarian meat that’s not found often in the U.S. I found them easily in supermarkets in the UK. It is actually meat made out of fungi. I bought a pack of chicken-flavored Quorn, and it tasted more like chicken than chicken–it tasted so much like chicken it was almost too chicken-y. I felt like it was more an acquired taste, but it wasn’t too bad.
Many flavors. In many stores. Much too convenient. These to-go sandwiches in boxes are everywhere, especially in stores that appeal to students in a rush, such as Pret a Manger and Tesco. More than once have I acquiesced to the $3 meal, which includes a sandwich, a side, and a drink.