Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Return from Sin City
Things are finally getting back to normal around here. Dave got back to London last night after an 11-hour flight from Las Vegas, a city he proclaimed horrible and vapid while simultaneously speaking in awed terms about the size of his hotel suite. ("It was bigger than our flat!" he said, over and over.)
He was there for a work-related conference, so most of his time was taken up with that. He didn't lose all our money on the one-armed bandits or any other games -- in fact, I don't think he even attempted to play.
We're not gambling people, which I suppose is a good thing. I've done it once or twice, notably when I was playing with someone else's money, and to me it's just boring. In England we have lots of streetside betting shops, where you can go in and place bets on horses or cars, or probably (until yesterday) the gender and name of the royal baby. They look like sad, smoky places full of unshaven old men. But then, I'm not big on games in general. I could be talked into playing Hearts or Spades or even Canasta, but I'd prefer a good book any day.
Speaking of which, I'm reading one of the Mapp & Lucia books by E. F. Benson, about fictional British villagers in the 1920s, and it's a hoot. I love the way this guy writes. Sample sentence: "She had a melancholy, wistful little face; her head was inclined with a backward slope on her neck, and her mouth was invariably a little open showing long front teeth, so that she looked rather like a roast hare sent up to table with its head on."
I don't know whether or not Benson was gay, but the books seem very gay, filled with swanning, gossipy women, and fussy men who sit around polishing their Louis XIV figurines. W.H. Auden and Noel Coward were said to be fans, if that's any indication.
I went to Tesco the other day for some groceries, and brought along two shopping bags to carry them home. One was a bright orange bag from the Le Creuset store. As I was checking out, the cashier -- a middle-aged Filipino woman -- exclaimed about the bag, and how she loved Le Creuset cookware. Well, my groceries all fit into the other bag, so I told her she could have the Le Creuset one if she wanted it. You would have thought I'd given her a thousand dollars. She thanked me effusively and kissed my hand -- twice!! -- which was pretty embarrassing. Meanwhile, all the other customers gave me hateful looks for holding up the line.
I haven't yet paid any attention to the royal baby, though I hear he is a he. That's about all I know at this point. I keep imagining Will and Kate, going through the private emotional thrill of becoming parents, all while the entire world watches.
(Photos: Top, a street in Woolwich, on Monday. Bottom, someone has added some detail, and a curious message, to our neighborhood giraffe.)