29 November 2011


Late tonight I read this tiny slip of paper that Ruby brought home from school today. It said: Reminder - because of the teacher's strike, school will be closed tomorrow. It was the first I'd heard of it. I think I would remember something like that.



Some guys tried to break into the house next to ours last night. Ugh. So many robbers and muggers!

25 November 2011

Chinese Food

After years of ordering Chinese and Thai delivery a few times a week, I've now been Asian food deprived for 3 1/2 months. We tried Thai once in Clapham, but it was pretty bad. I ordered an egg roll from a Chinese place in Balham, but it was all doughy and tasteless. Tonight we decided to pick up Chinese from a place down the street. We didn't have a menu, but I told Simon 4 different options he could order for me. They didn't have any of them... "Moo shu what? A pancake!?" Simon ordered brown rice for me. The guy at the counter asked if he meant rice with soy sauce mixed in. Simon said he meant unrefined whole grain rice. The guy again insisted that if he put soy sauce on the white rice it would become brown rice.

23 November 2011


As you know, there is no Thanksgiving here. Simon works tomorrow. Ruby has school. When her teacher tried to tell the class what Thanksgiving was she said it was "a Christmas dinner". I've invited all the Americans with kids in the area to come to my house to make those Turkey hand prints. Not many people are coming because most have gone to America.

Here are some things they don't have here in Tooting (or if they do you have to hunt for them): Turkey (except for Christmas). Frozen pie crust in an aluminum pie tin (they have no idea what I'm talking about). Canned pumpkin. Chex mix. Marshmallows that are soft and aren't pink.

Would this taste ok if it were pink?

A 20 minute bus ride away, I found a butcher that sold me a raw Turkey breast. It came wrapped in bacon (huh?!) and cost 31 dollars. 


They call some cookies "digestive biscuits" or just "digestives". ewwww.


But on a brighter note, after years of searching, I found my favorite candy. I hadn't seen it for over a decade. Toffifee! It turned up on the shelf of a 99 pence store. I bought every box they had even though I had to wait in a ridiculously long "queue" at the "till".


By 3pm it is pretty dark outside. At 7am, it's still dark. By 8 it is starting to look like morning.

22 November 2011


London is full of petty criminals. When I went to the library yesterday, 2 thieves had just stolen a woman's purse while she was in the restroom. I guess they walked in and grabbed it. No one stopped them and they walked out of the library with her screaming that they had taken her purse. No security at the libraries, unlike Brooklyn.

The "riots" when we first arrived were just people breaking into stores and taking whatever they could grab. There are all these thieves here that steal ATM pins and set up devices to steal your debt card number. Simon's friend who moved here the same time we did has had his house broken into and the tires stolen off his bike.

I think London could use some style Giuliani police action.

17 November 2011

Monkey Nuts

Peanuts are called "Monkey Nuts". I saw it on a package in the grocery store and did a double-take. No one gives kids PB&J here. I guess "Monkey Nut Butter & Conserve" doesn't have the same ring to it.

This Canadian dude thought it was pretty funny too.


By the way, they also sell "Faggots" in the farmer's market. Simon and I haven't tried a faggot yet but Simon is thinking about it.

15 November 2011

Hard Water

The London water makes my hair look like I'm a sea witch. None of my hair products work here. I thought fabric softener was a scam - something you didn't need to put in the wash, but people were somehow convinced to buy it anyway. If you don't use it here, your clothes turn into cardboard. The drains in the bathroom sink smell like sewage. It's from the minerals in the water coating the pipes. There is white chalky stuff on everything - bathtubs, dishes, glasses. I wonder if the white stuff is lining the inside of my digestive system.

09 November 2011

Driving Test

I need to get a UK driver's license. You have to pass a "knowledge test" and then a practical test to get a license. I'm studying for the test by reading "The Official Highway Code" and "Know Your Traffic Signs".

Here is an excerpt from one of them: "Near-side edge of carriageway or obstruction near that edge (alternative shapes). White markers are used on the off-side edge and amber ones on the off-side of a dual carriageway".

I'm pretty sure I will fail the test.

Prostate exam in crosswalk

Swollen left arm ahead
This actually means NO BIKES

Caution: wide ass

Don't put doll house furniture on your head while you drive.

06 November 2011

Guy Fawkes Day

There were fireworks all over London last night. I heard on the radio that the emergency rooms were full of people who had blown off various body parts. We lit off fireworks in our friend's garden (backyard) while the kids breathed in the stinky toxic smoke and screamed "stinky! farty!". Simon bought 2 big boxes of fireworks from the local grocery store. They told him that after he purchased the fireworks he had to immediately leave the store because they didn't want people to light fireworks in the store. He asked if that had ever happened. They said no.

04 November 2011


Things are constantly being put through the mail slot in my front door even though we put up a "no junk mail sign". Before the sign, it was a new leaflet, business card or menu every few hours, and now it is still a few things a day.

We also get people who knock on the door trying to sell me stuff. Today it was a guy selling fish! (He's come a few times). Yesterday around "tea" time a young guy with a big duffel bag rang the doorbell. He talked with a heavy accent but I think he said he had gotten out of jail and was trying to get a second chance by selling "merchandise". He wanted to know if he could come in and if I had a few seconds he would show me his "merchandise". I did not, however, invite him in, and I'll never know what was in that big lumpy bag.

02 November 2011


Suddenly half the people walking by me on the street are wearing a red plastic flower on their coat. This morning someone asked me to buy one. He said it was to commemorate WWI (I told him I couldn't really remember what had happened in WWI but bought it anyway). Then someone else asked me to buy one and said it was for Afghanistan. I think the whole thing may just a Marimekko promotion. Anyhow, if you find one in a Peter Jones changing room stall, it's mine.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Ruby goes to a public (they say "state") school. Some state schools here are religious, but this one isn't. Today I went on a tour where the headmaster kept emphasizing how diverse the school was and that they were proud of this. He also said the whole school puts on a Christmas pageant and a Nativity play (I'm not even sure what this is exactly). I asked why they did the Nativity thingy when there are so many Muslims and Hindus in the school. He acted surprised as if no one had ever questioned it before and said they had always done a Nativity play, and that parents could just have their kids not participate. Oy Vey.