dmjewelle: (<3)
D.M. Jewelle ([personal profile] dmjewelle) wrote2013-06-01 12:43 am
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[Day 7] Let's Go Visiting People (outside London)!

Hello, after the excitement over the week let's have a more relaxing Sunday by paying someone a visit!

After our typical bread + cold cuts breakfast we took the train to Victoria Station (not the restaurant).

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This sleeping jogger reminded me of Skyfall when James Bond returns to active duty but looking bedraggled and goateed. At first I did wonder if he was, but dad put me out of that delusion when I showed him the pic.

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It was so busy even on a Sunday. London just so full of people! *_* Went to the ticket counter where a microphone was attached to the window so you don't have to yell. You get in line, wait for them to announce a free counter, then walk up to the ticket guy (in our case a very Englishy old chap).

Me: *talks into microphone* Good morning I'm-
*Ticket guy gestures me to speak further from the microphone, probably because I'm hurting his ears*
Me: *distances* Good morning, I'd like to buy 2 tickets to East Croydon.

Ticket guy patiently explains what the 1-day travel card does (ANY public transport accessible just by flashing your card in the next 24 hours!), I put my money on a mini turntable that the ticket guy turns to get the money and pass me my change. Of course me being me, my finger nearly gets wedged between the turntable and the glass separation. The guy freaks out and apologises profusely. My finger heals in between apologies.

Me: It's all right, I'm fine now.
Ticket guy: Well, you certainly won't forget me for a while.
Mum: LOL

Oh, English humour.

Settled into the train where a 2-year-old sitting in front of us displayed the first signs of OCD. Obsessively wiping a train window is not a normal child trait last I checked.

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I like how 'Rampaging soloists' corresponds to Les Miserables' poster.

Behind us a lady brought her dog onto the train. It curled up under her seat. I wonder if most dogs in London are well-trained, or the horrible dogs just don't leave the house.

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To go to East Croydon, just take the train through vaguely Japan-esque scenery through Clapham Junction, busiest train junction in the world ( so it says).

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Reached East Croydon and saw this ad promoting free chlamydia testing. I had to take a pic. XD

Met Alison & William Brewer, friends of my parents when my dad studied in London in the 70s. Alison was mum's childhood acquaintance who was a nurse in London before she married William, an English guy and stayed in UK. She now has a slacker son finishing his PhD thesis on chemistry (something that occasionally requires going to CERN and borrowing their hadron collider) and she and William live a peaceful retired life in UK.

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This unassuming cuckoo clock greets us when we first enter. Unlike other cuckoo clocks, a monkey pops out and screeches & hoots every hour.

They didn't show us what the upstairs looked like, but I got a good look at their son's bookshelf:

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They said their son would probably want to work in theatre if he wasn't poking neutrons. With that many hardcover Terry Pratchett books, I believe them.

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Morning consisted of drinking tea, eating biscuits, staring out at the garden, and listening to William talk about:

- The sudden cold weather in May
- Why mongoloids have round cheeks and roundish faces "Cold winds from mongolia blow down to the mainlaind, round cheeks are an evolutionary measure to prevent wind from cutting into the skin"
- Why asians have wide flat noses "To take in more oxygen"
- Why I don't quite look Chinese "Somewhere, your dad acquired recessive genes"
- The change in media from Token Black Guy to Token Gay Guy and how some actor in Coronation Street complained it was unrealistic to have 3 gay couples in the show.
- Why the welfare system is good for an economy, and how it revived Britain post-war "It takes out your money and ensures money is constantly circulated in the country instead of you hoarding your savings and money staying stagnant"
- Cambridge's education system "Study like crazy for 6 months in very small tutor groups, pick your subjects like an RPG ability tree!"
- Cambridge's postgrad education system "If they see you're going nowhere with your research, they'll pull you aside, tell you to quit while you're ahead, and give you a Masters."
- Why UK doesn't want to be part of the EU
- How when city council wants to repair a road, they'll call in the gas and electricity and water and internet cable people to make sure the road never gets dug up again unless they absolutely HAVE to.
- How TREES can be protected by the city council for various reasons (it looks pretty) to curb overdevelopment and cramming too many houses in one place.
- How working as an accountant can make you hate humanity for their petty greed (e.g. tax evaders of large banks).
- How they renovated their toilets, the cost, etc.
- The degree of certainty his son won't ever marry (99%).
- How the English view people who invent a coat of arms (they're twats).
- The content of vitamin C in potatoes.
- Water content in store ham - the less water, the more ham.
- Rising cost of housing.
- Fat magpies!

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William talked for TEN HOURS, only pausing either at the end of a topic or when Alison spoke. Mum mostly chatted with Alison leaving me to listen to ALL THAT. I only took a break after lunch when I dozed off and woke up to him talking some MORE. How true are the facts he mentioned? I don't know, but if you feel hardworking enough to verify the facts, feel free to comment.

Speaking of lunch!

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L-R: Roasted vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, peppers), baked chicken stew with tomatoes and olives, and roasted potatoes.

Yeah homecooked stuff! :9

They asked whether I wanted to take a walk outside, but it was mainly houses and they didn't have any interesting neighbours so we sat in, looked at the sun, struggled to keep warm (they didn't turn on the heating because 16°C isn't too cold), and chatted until dinner!

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U-D: Tesco cheese naan bread, salad, coleslaw & chilli sauce, Tesco ham & corned beef

Tesco food is lovely in London! *__*

After chatting till 7ish we decided to leave while the sun was still out (the sun only set around 9 when I was there), so they showed us their untouched garden. Mum wanted to bust out a hoe and tidy it up so badly.

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Dandelion! I blew it and watched the little flowers fly! 8D

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Byebye house! *wave*

William and Alison sent us back, showing that British people can drive like Malaysians - except in UK the bus just lets you cut in from the left lane without honking or trying to crush you.

East Croydon is mostly houses. It's also a bit of a black ghetto, though I didn't really notice.

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...OK maybe just two.

William taught me how to read the train schedule and then we left for the platform. While there was a train there, it wasn't *our* train, but by the time I heard the conductor said it wasn't, we'd already jumped ON it, and we ended up at London Bridge Station. Mum freaked out and asked a passenger for help - really nice guy going for his night shift, made sure we got on the right Tube line before leaving. /__\ There was also a guy leaning on his bag and looking really sick like right out from a Clive Barker novel but the less said about him the better.

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From London Bridge it was two stops to Paddington and we were safely back in the hotel.

To close the night, let's have a shot of an English newspaper.

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Look at all those old people looking for companionship! They lead such vibrant lives!

That's it for our (mostly) last night in London!
Next up: Down memory (ghetto) lane, shopping, the biggest regret ever, and homeward!