Posts tagged ‘united kingdom’



Paris is a city I could grow fat in. After arriving on Cheapo Airlines, we quickly established a routine. Up at about 10, we ambled down to a nearby cafe for hot croissants, coffee and juice. Sated for the moment, we would head towards our destination for the morning, picking up a little something for sustenance from one of the backeries, maybe a pain au chocolate or a chocolate macaroon. These little chocolate morsels are to get us warmed up for Brugge and its multitude of chocolate shops. Then we look at something old until midday when we find a cafe for lunch, maybe a crepe, baguette or an omelette and some more coffee. Then perhaps another old thing and some beef bourginon, french onion soup or steak with garlic butter for dinner. It’s tough.

Pros – Delicious food. Cons – Ordering food in a foreign language can be hazardous.

7 /10

Posted by Andy Cocker to , , | Comments Off on Paris

London Town

Over the last week I have found myself walking around London laughing to myself at the ludicrous contradictions of the place. It is one of the most cosmopolitan places in the world but is at times still so very British. Its police have apparently have a shoot-to-kill policy but hardly any of them actually have guns (probably just as well). Its people would probably come second only to the Russians in a drinking competition (and at least they have the politeness to drink their bottles of vodka in the confines of their own home) yet all the pubs must shut by 11 (although this will finally change in a few months time). No one has gone to church in decades yet on a Sunday no shop is allowed to be open for more than six hours.

Whenever anyone asks me where I lived in the UK, I always say London. While this is technically correct, I lived in an outer suburb about as far from everything you would think of as London that you can get. It makes Brighton in Melbourne seem like a buzzing centre of excitement and entertainment, a bohemian, free-thinking metropolis. When we learnt leisure activities in French class, the teacher went round the class doing an oral exercise:

Teacher: Where do you live?
Student: (insert name of home suburb here)
Teacher: What is there to do in (home suburb)?
Student: (list of such activities)

When he came to me and I said Petts Wood, he burst out laughing and answered the second question himself: ‘Rien! Rien! Rien!’. After five minutes of him rolling around on floor laughing it was starting to become a little scary and we were all quite relieved when the bell rang. A few years later when I started learning German with the same teacher I thought it safer to answer Orpington, the very slightly less boring neighbouring suburb. I make a point of going back to visit Petts Wood each time I come to London just to make sure it is still as dead as ever. Somehow it is comforting to know that in this crazy, crazy world of ours, there is such a place even in one of the most vibrant, exciting, interesting cities there is.

Posted by Andrew Coulthurst to , | 3 Comments »