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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Just Another Day in the UK

Hey there, lords and ladies. We’ll get back to the ‘seven days of loony London’ in just a second. First, though, a program note:

Apparently, the computer where I keep my standup clips horked itself to death overnight. I tried CPR on it this morning (not to mention… um, ‘mouth-to-floppy’, as it were), but to no immediate avail.

(Plus, I got a nasty scrape for my troubles. I really do have to remember — no tongue during resuscitation attempts. I should write myself a note or something.)

Anyway, I’m hoping to eventually fix the thing, or get a new hard drive, or a new computer or something — but until then, I’m afraid that the video archives are AWOL.

(Yeah, I know — there are simply hordes of heartbroken fans out there, right? I’ll start the suicide watches now, shall I, hmm?)

Luckily (for me, anyway), the rest of this fine feathered Internet venture is hosted by a good friend and former colleague of mine at Solid Solutions. (Go give him a look if you need a host; he won’t bite. Much.)

So, the damage is relatively minimal, but still quite the nuisance. I apologize for any inconvenience my crappy old computer has caused. Poopstain.

Now, on to sunnier shores. Let’s talk London. Specifically, let’s pick up last week’s adventure, already in progress on a hazy Monday morning. On Sunday night, despite my protests and cajoling, my wife set a wake-up alarm for 7:30am. Seven-thirty on a vacation Monday morning. She does this because she’s crazy. I don’t know how she got that way. I hardly ever drop her on her head any more. Crazy.

Luckily, though, she’s also a heavy sleeper. Apparently, she snoozed the alarm a couple of times (which I never heard, if that tells you anything about my sleeping habits; I could sleep through a root canal if I had to), and then fell back to sleep. So, we got up around ten, instead of the ass-crack of European dawn. Score one for Charlie. Boo-fuckin’-yah, baby.

Of course, that probably wasn’t the best day to go all sluggy, because Monday was the day we’d chosen to watch the ‘changing of the guard’ at Buckingham Palace. Which happens only once a day. At eleven thirty. A shower, shave, and nine subway stops away. Bah.

So, long story short, we made it to the Palace. I think I used toothpaste on my hair, pulled my boxers on backwards, and you don’t even wanna know where I tried to put one of my contact lenses… but we made it, and with fifteen minutes to spare. Already, the throngs were queueing outside the palace, ready for the spectacle. We got a spot stacked four tourists away from the gates, and waited. And waited, and waited. Then we waited. And when that was over? Waiting. More waiting. And then some waiting. You get the idea.

Finally, the thing got under way. Some people marched up, and then marched back and forth for a while, and then some more people marched up, and some of them paired up with the first people, and they marched around together. And then a band marched up, and played some music — probably a march, I’m guessing — and then they finally all marched off in different directions, leaving just two behind in the guard stations. And when they got bored of standing there like a couple of glued-straight statues? They marched. Who would’ve guessed, eh?

Of course, despite the monotony of a lot of it, it was actually pretty intriguing at times. It certainly seems like a lot of pomp and hoopla just to relieve a couple of ceremonial guards at a place that’s also policed by a couple of dozen bobbies, half of them on horseback, plus some rather nasty-looking riot police with even nastier-looking submachine guns. So, I suppose I’m a little mixed on the whole extravaganza. In a sentence or two: ‘Worth doing once. Bring a book.’

All right. Moving on.

After the ‘Parade of the Q-Tip Hats’, we grabbed some Guinness. I suppose lunch was in there, too — I don’t really remember, exactly. I was concentrating on the pints, frankly. Ooh, no, wait — there was one thing. I had a something-unrecognizable-or-other with chips, and took the opportunity to try my first taste of ‘brown sauce’.

See, some people like to eat ketchup (or catsup, if you’re that sort of person) with their chips / fries. Other people — strange, creepy, wiggy people — they eat theirs with mayonnaise.

(You’d think that would be caused by some recessive gene or other, and we’d have weeded out those wierdos by now, but no. The dance continues.)

And then, there’s the Brits. They accessorize their chippers with something called ‘brown sauce’. Now, normally, I’m not the first guy to jump in line to eat something that’s only described by a color. (Or even, as in this case, a ‘colour‘.) I shy away from ‘green goop’, ‘yellow sno-cones’, and ‘that gray crap oozing out of the vegetable crisper’. But ‘brown sauce’ — somehow, it seemed worth a shot. And hey — the first ingredient was vinegar — that shit kills germs, right? How bad could it be?

(And in all honesty, it was actually pretty damned good. I even licked the crusty, browner stuff off the rim of the bottle. It was beautiful. Really.)

All right, enough of that. Back to the touristy bullshit. After lunch, we walked around Westminster Abbey. It’s a church. Big. Old. Beautiful. There are hundreds and hundreds of dead people buried under the floors. Why people think this is okay is beyond me, frankly. It’s a little creepy. You don’t see me plopping corpses in my basement and erecting plaques. It’s just not done. Really, clean it up, people.

After the abbey, we strolled across to Big Ben (big clock; can’t go in — ’nuff said), and across the Thames to the Dali Museum. Now, just in case there’s anyone out there who’s unfamiliar with Salvador Dali… um, well, he’s a damned freak. He’s mental. Loopy. And he paints, and sculpts, and does lord knows what else in that studio of his. His stuff is just frightening, dammit. He’s probably my favorite artist ever. I’m not sure what that says, but I’m pretty sure it should involve Zoloft somewhere. Cool museum.

That same place, if you pay a few extra pounds, will let you into the downstairs, where they’ve got a few Picasso pieces lying around. Another damned crazy artist. It’s like a whole fricking fiesta of fool-headed fingerpainters. Or something. I couldn’t think of any other artistic term that started with an ‘F’ other than ‘fingerpainting’. I’m not really very good at this. Damn.

Moving on. Again.

Next up was the London Eye — that’s the big ugly ferris wheel-looking thing that sits on the edge of the Thames and annoys all the locals. The tourists love it, but it’s a big grody monstrosity right in the middle of London, and I think it really cheeses the locals off. It makes sense, frankly. How’d you like to have one of those big Easter Island statues — only uglier — sitting in the middle of your house, with a constant stream of goobers traipsing through your living room to gawk at the thing? And maybe it’d stick up through your roof, too, so people could see it from the street, and throng around your lawn, snapping pictures and oohing and aahing all the damned time. Wouldn’t like that, would ya? See? See?

Of course, being a tourist myself, it was pretty cool. You could see the whole city from up there — it’s the best view in London, really. But what the hell do I know? I’m an ugly damned American. I got no taste.

Okay, so let’s wrap this puppy up now. We were pretty pooped after all that excitement, so we decided to have a bit of dinner and call it a night. The meal was good enough, at this place called Loco Mensa near the Eye, but that’s not important right now. We ate, we drank, blah blah. Fine. But, walking away from the restaurant, we passed another place — one of those little hole-in-the-wall takeaway Chinese food places. And it was called… ‘Noodle Box‘. That’s Noodle Box. Noodle Box, folks. Noodle Box.

Not that we ate there, or wanted to, or anything like that. It’s just that ‘noodle box’ immediately became my new favorite euphemism for the naughty southern bits of the female anatomy. Noodle box. Hee. I’m giggling right now, just thinking about it. Noodle box. Noodlebox. Ah, yes. Good times, mates. Good times.

All right, I’m done here. I’ve got nothing left. And there’s nothing more to tell about last Monday, either. We went back to the room, got into our jammie clothes, and I drifted off to sleep, dreaming contentedly about noodle boxes. And noodle boxes, if you catch my kippers, there, skippy. Heh. ‘Noodle boxes’. Yeah, baby.

Okay, that’s it for tonight. I’m spent. You wanna read more of this Brit babble, you’ll have to tune in tomorrow to see what happened on Tuesday. I don’t want to give anything away, but there’s a camel involved. Sort of. And a Douglas Adams reference. And two different kinds of friars. You don’t want to miss that, folks. See you tomorrow!

Permalink  |  3 Comments

3 Responses to “Just Another Day in the UK”

  1. Flip says:

    Hi Charlie, and welcome back :) Glad to see you survived your trip to jolly old England :)

  2. Dawn says:

    Hehehe. Noodlebox. You’re an odd one, Charlie. And I have to say, hearing your description of London makes me want to up and visit it some time. Can’t wait to hear your Adams references.

  3. GrumpyBunny says:

    Are you gonna post some pics?

    I really liked London. Hubster is already talking about going back. Haven’t decided when yet.

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