Monday, May 28, 2007

Rain in London

Today was supposed to be my good-duty day. I went to London specifically to buy Amy (my sister) an England sweatshirt (because she was did not decide until after she left what she wanted for her “souvenier”). Apparently, all of our nice weather was used up in April, because the temperature here has returned to the 50s, and it has been raining cats and dogs for the past several weeks. Thus, of course, it was raining today as I set off to catch my National Express bus to London.

Obviously I took an umbrella with me, but this did not prevent everything I was carrying in my bag/purse from getting wet. This wouldn’t have been so bad, had I not borrowed and brought along someone else’s novel (Naked by David Sedaris, borrowed from Angela) to read. The entire perimeter of the book got completely wet and is not drying in that ever-wrinkly fashion of soggy paper.

I intended to go to Camden market to buy the sweatshirt, because I knew I’d get a good price and there would be a good selection of the kind of zip-up hoodies Amy wanted there. Unfortunately, I happened to walk around Buckingham Palace at the exact time they were changing the guard. This means that the place was swamped with tourists: Germans scrambling for the best view, Chinese with their camcorders, parents herding children every which ways, and police people (women, too) in their neon yellow vests, trying to direct it all from horseback. Thus delayed, I tried to circle around this mob and be on my way. As you may predict, this only succeeded in getting me completely lost. I had arrived in London at 11 a.m. By 1 p.m., I had only reached Oxford Circus (approximately halfway between the Victoria coach station where I had arrived and my destination).

Rather than risk getting further lost and perhaps missing my bus back to Brighton (scheduled to leave Victoria at 5 p.m.), I decided to look around the shops in Oxford Circus for the sweatshirt. I found a few promising items at souvenier shops, and after much contemplation, returned to one I had encountered earlier in my search to buy the sweatshirt. Not more than two minutes after I had made my purchase—which, by the way, cost me five pounds more than my parents had given me to buy the souvenier—I wandered into another shop and found the exact same sweatshirt for nearly fifteen pounds less. That’s thirty dollars!

To further my bad luck, the spokes on my umbrella proceeded to snap one after the other until it was literally impossible to even open the thing. At that point in time, it was not raining very hard, so I chucked the useless instrument in a nearby rubbish bin and continued browsing the jam-packed stores. I managed to successfully navigate my way back to Victoria coach station and arrived back in Brighton at seven-odd in the evening. Unfortunately, by this time it was absolutely pouring, and—because I am trying to conserve my last few pounds here for food and other necessities—I was forced to walk the mile back from Poole Valley Station to Holland House in the rain.

By this time in the evening, I was starving, so I hurried into the kitchen to make myself some dinner. What greeted me, but puddles on the floor from a leaky refrigerator and a sink full of grimy water, soggy bits of people’s leftover dinner, and unwashed dishes. Needless to say, I worked around this to prepare my curry and even received some leftover rice from the ever-generous Fluf.

The final straw happened approximately twenty minutes ago. I decided to go to Tesco Express (a grocery mart located conveniently around the corner from our residence) to get myself some much-deserved dessert. Because it was raining, I was ultra-aware of how slippery the marble steps would be leading down from our front door. Tenatively, I placed one flip-flopped foot (because my sneakers were inside my room, hopefully dripping dry) on the step, and what happened? Out went my foot, and down the steps I flew, to land heavily on the right-hand side of my lower back. What made this fall worse was that because I was only going around the corner, I was holding my keys and my wallet in my hands. Both proceeded to fly from my grasp, and although I managed to find my wallet fairly quickly, my keys were nowhere to be seen.

Luckily, after much searching in the rain and darkness, I managed to recover the keys. (They were sitting by a gutter in a pile of cigarette ashes.) Tesco Express didn’t have the kind of caramel-filled Cadbury’s chocolate I like best, so I returned to Holland House empty-handed and tremendously sore.

What a day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

damn, it's times like these i wish i could give you a hug. i'm soo sorry!

and 'rubbish'. who's talking like an english person now?