I can't believe that I have been in England for nearly year
- which, I guess by the way the English count things, a
year is pretty meaningless. Hell, some of their cricket
matches last that long - and let me tell you that there is
nothing more meaningless then a cricket match.
It hasn't been a bad year and the beer has been pretty good - but still this is
the old country and damn if everything ain't old. Not only that, the damn
Brits like it that way. Some developer up and went and build this brand
spanking new town called Milton Keyes - halfway between London and Birmingham -
and everybody over here hates it cause all the streets are straight and meet at
right angles to each other.
To a Brit see, that is simple wrong. Roads, you see, are suppose to follow the
lay of the land and dodge and weave this way and that. Turning for no
particular reason other then that is the way that the road has always gone. Not
only that, but since like 1215 it damn near takes an Act of Parliament to
evict someone and lay a road through their living room. Which is way a man's
house is his castle. So road still bob and turn avoiding structures that have
long since burnt to the ground during some Civil War or something.
The worst part is that road names last at most for two or three blocks… so you
are diving along on Kings Road... bang into one of those round-a-bouts they so
dearly love over here... bang out the other side and you are now on London
Road. A block later and with no warning you're on High Street. So if you happen
to be leaving the area of your birth you had better have a damn good map or a
great desire to get lost. Street signs... HA... they like to put them on
buildings over here... and they can only do if the bloke that owns the place
gives his permission. Actually, the worst part isn't how short the roads are…
it is the house numbering system... or should I say lack of one. See, in
America it is easy to find 120 Main Street... you just drive down Main Street
and look for a door between 110 and 130. Very simple, very orderly, very easy,
very Spock like logical. But here in Britain they have decided to name all
their houses. So you have the Coach House which is right next to the Long
House which is right next to the Epping House etc. etc. etc. It is like a
totally unindexed SQL table and you might as well plan on doing a table scan
and walking the entire street slowly. Good thing the roads are short.
Brits also like their pubs and they like their pubs to be old. My local is The
Grove and it was founded in 1765 or something. Long before the US of A existed
and long enough ago that some of the boys that went off to fight G. Washington,
Napoleon, the Tsars, the Boars, the Kaiser, Hitler and Sadam and a whole host
of other baddies probably had their farewell drinks here.
Funny thing is the Grove is the new pub on the block. Just up the street is
the Compasses - which is at least a hundred years older and about a foot
shorter inside. They must have been small people back then cause every time I
get drunk in Compasses I bang my head on part of the ceiling. Doesn't usually
hurt until the next morning - but it does nothing to help a hangover. Damn,
getting close to 11pm... fucking English drinking laws... got to run.