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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!

Livin’ Large in London

Well, hey there, kiddies. My jet lag’s a little better, though I did get up about three hours earlier than I wanted to this morning. Damned London time zone has still got its hooks in me. Soon, I’ll be back to my customary late-morning snoozing. Soon now. Very soon.

In the meantime, though, I thought I’d get on with the business of tell you about my little jaunt over the pond to England. And — as you regulars might expect — I’ve got lots to say about it. So I’m gonna try something here and see how it goes — I’ll whip up a posticle for each day that the wife and I spent in Ye Olde Country, from a bleary-eyed early Sunday arrival to a mid-Saturday afternoon departure.

(Hey, I told you I’d blather about it more than you’d ever be able to stand. I’m nothing if not honest. And wordy. Honest wordy Charlie, that’s me. Woot.)

Before we get this kippers-and-chips show on the road, though, I’d like to send a couple of shout-outs to all the nice folks who’ve written in recently, either in my absence or to welcome me back. In particular, master props to Brenda, Pisser, Shelli, and HR Lady, for playing along and digging through the archives for a larf. And muchos thankos to Monkey, Skip, Steph, and TJ, for the kind welcomes home. And finally, mega squishy yo-yo-yos to mah peeps Special K and Natalie, who were even sweet enough to mention me fondly in their blogs while I was away. I guess absence really does make the heart pitter-patter, eh?

(Yeah, yeah, I know — ‘mega squishy yo-yo-yos’? I don’t know what the hell I was talking about, either. I was running low on verbiage. I got desperate. I’m squishy… I mean, sorry. I’m sorry. Not squishy. Right.)

Okay, so on with the traveleguery, eh? For me, last week started by getting on a plane in Boston at 6:30pm local time on Saturday, and stepping off of said air buggy at Heathrow Airport in London, at just about 8am on Sunday morning. And while I can sleep on planes — and in cars, and on trains, and very probably riding a rickshaw, for that matter — I didn’t get much shuteye on this flight. I napped a couple of times in the last hour or so, but that’s it. So the first day in London was a bit of a fuzzy sleepy haze.

(As opposed to the other days, after I’d gotten some sleep behind me. Those days were spent in a fuzzy drunken haze. Similar, but better. Way.)

But enough of that. Let’s move on to what actually got accomplished on Sunday. Since we’d gotten into town — sorry, that’s towne — so early, we had no chance of checking into our hotel (that’s the Park International in South Kensington, if you’re scoring at home… or even if you’re by yourself). So, we left our bags at the desk and took an aimless stroll around the neighborhood. Actually, we’d hoped for a rather more aimful stroll, but we had no idea where we were, or what was where, or how to get whereever we wanted to go.

What we really wanted at that point was food. And eventually, after twenty minutes or so of walking around like a pair of American boobs — hey, dammit, I said ‘like’… ‘like‘! — we found Dino’s Italian cafe. We sat down for a bit to eat. And we had breakfast with Gene Hackman.

Okay, okay, fine. It’s overwhelmingly likely that we didn’t have breakfast with Gene Hackman. I’ve since found out, with a bunch of digging, that he lives in Santa Fe, isn’t currently working on a movie, and appeared on Larry King Live just a couple of days later. So there’s no plausible, readily available reason why Gene Hackman would be hanging out at Dino’s Italian, where Cromwell Place meets the Harrington Road in London on a midsummer Sunday morning.

But dammit, halfway through our meal, this oldish guy walked into the place, and I would swear it was Lex Luthor himself. He spoke quietly to a waitress — too quietly for me to hear his voice, of course — and took what appeared to be his usual chair, near the counter and facing away from the door. And from us. Of course. Bitches.

So, naturally, I spent the rest of my bangers and eggs straining to hear the guy’s voice, to see whether it would be a proper British clip, or a Cockney drawl, or that distinctive, gravelly American bark I expected it to be. And I’ll be damned if the old guy never said a word for the next twenty minutes until we left. So I don’t know, not really. But I’m telling you, just like I told my wife — it was him. It was him! It had to be! And the reason I’m so sure is, it didn’t look like him, exactly. This guy looked a little older, and messier, and more… regular than I’ve ever seen Gene Hackman. Just like you might expect an actor to look in real life. Hey, I hear Teri Hatcher looks like Andy Rooney off camera. Really. It could happen.

So. Anyway. We had breakfast. (See how much trouble I could have caused us all, by just saying that? Ain’t I a stinker?)

After that, it was a pretty regular touristy type of day. We walked to a museum, called the ‘Victoria and Albert’. I was a little disappointed, frankly. Honestly — a girl’s name, a guy’s name… I figured it was a porn museum of some kind. How could it not be? But instead, there were just a bunch of paintings and sculptures and stuff. Sure, some of them were of naked people — but they weren’t hot, really. It was all very tasteful and dull. Very disappointing. Big place, though — lots of stuff there. You’d probably like it, if you’re into that sort of thing. Just don’t go expecting porn. That’s all I’m saying.

So, that took us up until about four in the afternoon. We moseyed back to the hotel (actually, are you allowed to ‘mosey’ in other countries? Is moseying a US-only type of activity?), checked in, and enjoyed a nifty four-hour nap in our eight foot by ten foot ‘luxury’ ‘suite’. It came complete with a tiny TV (six channels, fifteen-year-old model, broken remote), wall-mounted hair dryer (initially broken, but happily replaced by management), and temperature control (in Celsius, which was frankly impossible to decipher before the nap). But it was clean, the bed was comfy, the toilet flushed, and the showers were hot and wet. I’d still describe it more as a ‘tidied-up box’ than a ‘luxury suite’, but it was just peachy for us. We didn’t expect Buckingham, you know. We’re not picky.

And that’s about all there was to Sunday. We got up from our snoozicles, grabbed dinner at a joint called ‘Bistro Benito’ (what’s with all the Italian food in England, by the way — what’s the connection?), while Greece was shocking Portugal on their home terra in the final Euro 2004 match. And then we went back to bed. Take that, jet lag! You our bitch now.

So, there you go. Day one in our European odyssey. Tune in again tomorrow for another bunch of words about the next 24 hours we spent on the island. Until then, cheerio, lords and ladies — jet lag’s gotten itself up off the mat, and I think we all know what paybacks are. Dammit!

Permalink  |  4 Comments

4 Responses to “Livin’ Large in London”

  1. shelli says:

    Thanks, You are only one of two people who has actually acknowledged my moving of url. Maybe it’

    s not even that as much as taking the time to correct new settings of my blog url.

    Lucky were you now England is using Euro’s? Instead of prior coins..i.e.pounds, shillings,crowns,pences,farthings,quid,bob.

  2. Brenda says:

    Excellent! Now I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next installment. Did you go to Soho?

  3. Adi says:

    Can’t wait to hear more. Sounds like a good time.

  4. tony says:

    hey, I totally forgot about you until you popped up at the top of my blogroll.

    where’s MY props??


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