A Cautious Man
September 03, 2007
 
Summer’s Gone and the Time is Right . . .
. . . to get back to random thoughts a/k/a infrequent rantings.

Well, we had a great, I mean GREAT week in London. They had a wet summer, but last week was dry, and mostly sunny. The people are great, and their city is one of the greatest urban areas in the world (imho). I have to take my regular commuter train tomorrow, after having been spoiled by the London Underground, as well as by the National Rail trains we took to Hampton Court and Canterbury.

We took the tour of Parliament that is only available during the late summer break. I recommend it. Sure, the MPs aren’t around, but that means that you can stroll into the House of Commons through their doorway, where the statue of Winston Churchill has had his foot rubbed to a shine by MPs about to make their maiden speeches (and by tourists). We stood in the MPs places, and I stood a moment behind the Dispatch Box where the Prime Minister stands during question time. It was cool.

As our guide noted, before we went into the Commons: “It’s like Tom Cruise, much smaller in person than it appears on film.” It was deliberately made too small, so that when ordinary matters are debated, they still seem important, and when important matters are debated, the sides can really confront each other.

We also went to the Notting Hill Carnival, a Caribbean festival which claims to be Europe’s largest street party. Whether it is or not, it’s HUGE. And it’s not just people of Caribbean heritage dancing and partying in the streets. When you see a whole contingent of pale English women samba-ing down the street like Rio wannabes, it makes you skeptical of the right-wingers who issue dire warnings about “Londonistan”.

Anyway, we had a great time, and a great summer. Hope yours was, as well.

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