Escape With Joan: #1 Letter from London

Escape With Joan: #1 Letter from London

Dear Friends,

Men in England have a serious problem.  It’s called “premature” perspiration!  This condition arises whenever a man sees a beautiful woman across a bar, or licking an ice cream or holding a pair of bikini panties at the laundromat. Before three days ago I’d never heard of “premature” perspiration–which seems suspiciously likened to “premature” ejaculation in the British TV ads I’ve seen.  But it’s clear, from the three underarm deodorant ads I saw in one hour from three different companies, that men in England must worry a great deal about how they smell.  I’ve only seen one corresponding ad for women, but British women are warned that unless they use a particular product they will–gasp!–SWEAT!  I find it interesting that the feminine word is used to threaten men and the masculine one to threaten women.

I’ve already been to Wimbledon twice, once with my friend Gabriel Byrne from Ireland (no relation to the movie star) and once a couple of days later with tickets I got from the British Lawn Tennis Association (by calling the “morning of” and asking).  Weather here is more typical of London–cold and wet–as opposed to how it was the past two years I was here–hot and dry.  I didn’t bring a lot of “warm weather” clothing, so I’m often dressed in layers–shirt, sweater, sweatshirt and rain jacket. Thank goodness I brought the rain jacket!

I’ve already managed to have duck with cherry sauce and lamb shanks since I arrived in London.  Those of you who know me know I love both and don’t get enough of either in the States.  I start the day with muesli, Greek yogurt, milk and raspberries or blackberries, which are bigger and tastier here in England.  I’ve been grabbing an egg sandwich with sprouts for lunch and eating dinner out at one of the local restaurants.  At least that was the plan until I found a huge selection of Indian food in the frozen food section of the local grocery store.  I love Indian food, too, and there are a lot of Indian restaurants here in London.  Will see how the “frozen” compares with the “fresh” over the next couple of weeks.  I know when it’s raining outside (which it has done every day since I got here) I’ll be happy to stay home and cook something Indian on the microwave.

I bought eggs yesterday and discovered they’re still covered with chicken feathers.  Guess we’re spoiled in the States, having eggs that have been washed before they reach the store.  I had trouble recognizing the multivitamins I bought because they were so inexpensive–60 for about $2.00.  And yes, I’ve bought clotted cream and put it on fluffy croissants with the most amazing raspberry jelly.  The cream in my tea really is CREAM–so thick you could almost eat it with a fork.

I’ve already been to two movies (catching up, because I was finishing TEXAS BRIDE before I left home and didn’t have time to go to the movies on Friday, as I usually do).  Saw GREEN LANTERN, which is not great but good, and BAD TEACHER, which is, indeed, bad.

Going to the theatre was an experience.  First, the British have a pin number required for all credit card purchases.  This proved to be a challenge for the theatre cashier, because my American VISA does not have a pin.  Two managers had to be called before I could pay.  Second, seats are assigned–you have to choose which seat you’re going to sit in before you go in.  However, the theatre was so empty, I don’t suppose there would have been a problem if I sat somewhere else.  Third, you have to choose between “sweet” and “salty” popcorn–that is between carmel popcorn and regular popcorn.  Fourth, despite having asked for ice with my drink, it came without any.  “But it’s cold,” the boy behind the counter assured me.  “I know,” I replied, but it won’t be in an hour without any ice.  Could I have some ice, please?”  He had to leave the counter to get some ice–there is none at the counter.  The British simply don’t use ice in their drinks.  You must ask for it.  I had a good example of this on my British Airways flight to London where the steward had approximately two cups of crushed ice available for the entire business class section of the plane.  He gave me an extra tablespoon of ice with my drink because I begged for it.

I’m supposed to be resting my ankle and knee from the six tennis matches I played in the two weeks before I left home (I want to move up a level in the fall and needed to play matches to prove I deserve to do so–won five, lost one).  However, I’m sleeping on the third floor of the house, so I spend a lot of time going up and down here, and London is a place where everywhere you go there are stairs–and often no working elevator or escalator.  I’m countering all that exercise by sitting with my stocking feet up on the couch with a wool blanket watching tennis on TV.

Speaking of which, there is the option on BBC1 of watching any of four or five or six matches at any one time.  You simply push the blue button on your remote, choose which of the games you want to watch and watch that game.  Whenever you want to switch, you go to another game.  Believe me, that’s a lovely alternative to the rain, cold and crowds of actually being at Wimbledon.

On the other hand, there’s also nothing like sitting in the front row watching John Isner serve not ten feet away from him–which I did on Monday.  I hope some of the great tennis I’ve seen is going to help me be a better player.  I’ve had a dutchee (sausage on a bun) and strawberries & cream at Wimbledon, but still haven’t had a Pim’s (similar to the Mint Julep at the Kentucky Derby)–it’s just been too cold for a cold drink.

I’m starting WYOMING BRIDE, the next book in my Mail Order Bride series while I’m here, writing in the morning before the tennis starts (at 12:00 for outer courts and 1:00 for “pay” courts).  Which means it’s about time to go turn on the TV and relax with my feet up watching tennis.

I’m headed to the Wimbledon Ball tonight.  Will let you know how that turns out…

 

Take care,

Joan

 

 

 



1 Comment to Escape With Joan: #1 Letter from London

  1. Kathleen

    So glad you are having fun on your trip and getting to see all those tennis matches. When my niece and her husband lived there, they would go too…And I know what you mean about the ice. I had the same problem when I was there. I like a lot of ice in my drinks too…