My Journal on a home exchange in London

Apr 20th, 2004, 09:32 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 243
Hiya Mclurie, I am delighted with Holloway. Earlier when I said I was coming here, many people said things 'can't you afford better'. You must know that I am devoted to this area, it is Exciting.
No, I don't Ruth got the better of the deal. As far I know we are both happy with the exchange.
Flanneruk, sorry I misspelled your name

I will send everybody my final email after I've had a bite to eat.
Apr 20th, 2004, 03:47 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 41,713
topping for Laura, a London fan.
cigalechanta is offline  
Apr 20th, 2004, 05:36 PM
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flanneruk - judging by the number of Anglican churches named for him it would seem that St Thomas a'Becket's canonisation was not revoked by the Anglican Church.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Apr 20th, 2004, 07:16 PM
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Uh-oh, Austin. Will try not to let that happen again...
Betsy is offline  
Apr 21st, 2004, 01:07 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Yes Gang:

This is my final email from London.

To refresh your memories, I am living in a three storey home on a street which some think is in a dangerous neighborhood. Yesterday, around five in the afternoon, I'm sitting in the living room watching the 'telly'. I hear what I think is the mail being delivered. It never occurred to me that they usually don't deliver mail that late. There is a sound behind me and there is a young man with back pack , he jumps backwards and says "OH!"

I pop up and say "OH!". I knew I locked the door and decided in a nanosecond, he had somehow used a skeleton key.

He said "Are you the guy from New York?"

I said I was.

"Oh Ruth and John told me you were swapping houses. I'm the lodger."

I didn't know they had a lodger. He seemed to know a lot but, hell, he could have picked up that information from any source.

"I just want to pick up things from my room and I'll be right back." he said.

"Do you want a drink or something" I was between stupidity and fear, closer to stupidity.

He said no and went upstairs to his room which I thought was the oldest daughter's room. I had written down the emergency number but couldn't remember find it or if it were 999 or 099. I went into a kitchen and got a small but sharp knife and put in my pocket.

I am not going continue with the conversation, but it turns out he was indeed a lodger, a very charming young man who walked out of the room with six or seven of their videos.

My host, Ruth, should have told me about the lodger even if he wasn't supposed to turn up a day too early. I still haven't talked to her. I hope she really has a lodger.

I wanted to go to Camden Town and take a canal up to Little Venice to find a pub which I been in about four years ago. On the way to the Archway Underground, I stopped at my favorite pub The Cays. I ordered sweet and sour pork which was a mistake. Never order sweet and sour pork in an English pub.

As I waited. (I had nothing to read...not even, dare I say...a Reader's Digest) I studied the five or six people in the pub listening to their conversation older man comes in and goes to the bar, doesn't order but just stands there, his head is slightly swaying, and his fingers are trembling.

He is a string white hair which looks like a fright wig, and his face is heavily lined, and looks as if it had slide into his neck.,furry eyebrows, and he looks at the large screen which was showing a repeat of a football game. I sense he doesnt comprehend it. I decide he is harmless

The waitress brings me my lunch...don't ask. I eat as much as I can. The old man, he must be 85 or so, comes up to my table, grasping a pint of Guinness Stout and asks if I mind if he could sit down.

I said "Be my guest."

He sat and began to relate how he had beaten a bunch of young guys at snooker and kept repeating that everybody says he doesn't look his age.

"How old are you?" I said expecting an answer of eighty plus.

"Seventy Seven"

I chuckled and said I was Seventy Six. He reached over and shook my hand and he said "You don't look your age.!!!!!" (Did he think I was 80 plus?)

That began a long conversation in which I didn't quite understand what he was saying, and I suspect he didn't understand what I was saying. I speak too fast for the British .

We sifted through the lack of communication to arrive at two or three points, we both had been to the Wittington Hospital recently, been in the army and both had served in Germany during the war. He had deserted (I think) I didn't.

I got up to leave, went to the bar paid my bill and told the barmaid to give another pint of Guinness. I went to the WC and when I came out she was trying to give him the Guinness.

He told me that he couldn't drink, that he must stop drinking, since he had two double brandies and three GGuinness'sbefore he played snooker and he can't drink any more.
So, I sat down and drank his/my Guinness (which I don't like) and heard (I think) that he was like me, unmarried, and unlike me, had a girl friend who is angry at him.

Then he was telling me about Porgy and Bess and I realized he worked in the theater, he was a stage hand for years. Whew! I told him of my acting experience, which I think he understood. It was a delightful conversation.

I got on the underground and headed for Camden Town. It sounds like a lovely little village. When I stepped into the street I thought I had gone through a time tunnel.It was like the 70's or 80's..Spiked dyed hair, Tattoo Parlors, and bikers, black jackets, studded with medal buttons, and big black boots with razor sharp points. Two or three of them held up advertising signs, I was happy to get into the canal boat.

I find canal rides very relaxing, and this was no exception, we went past under damp and dark bridges, watched geese and ducks swim by like characters in a Disney Nature film.

I did see three or four stately mansions which were designed by John Nash for the Prince Regent. They were stunning and I was told that they are still private residents.

We arrived at Little Venice. I wanted to find out about something which had happened when when I was in London about four years ago. I stumbled into a film crew shooting in front of the pub. I went into the pub for lunch and watch them work.

I was surprised to even see a film crew there. The producers used the pub as a 'holding area' that is a central place where everyone should stay so that people don't get lost. It was a police thriller, they told me the name but since then I had forgotten it.

I told them that I also was an actor. They didn't believe me until I showed them my union cards. We chatted about the difficulty of getting work, the differences of the unions, etc etc...all this during consuming pints of Fosters.

One of the producers and I were on good terms. I finally said to him that he should put me into the film as an extra and that I didn't want the money, that I was a pro and didn't want to do, etc. I sort of joking but hoping he would do it.

He stood up, looked down at me and said "We haven't hired and American actor since July 4th, 1776." We laughed and walked out to go to work.

I was pretty sure it was the same pub, I went in hoping to find out if anybody remembers the filming and the title of the show. An older man, possibly an owner, told me he remembered it and when I asked what the title was there was a long pause, he too couldn't remember the title.
I drank a pint of Fosters and went home.

That's all folks.

I am going to Sweden in June and will keep you informed. Again many thanks for your comments. I enjoyed them

Enjoy Life


Actor is offline  
Apr 21st, 2004, 05:40 PM
Posts: n/a
You are an inspiration, Uncle Art! I hope to have as much fun and adventure as you do when I get to be 76. Are you back home now?

Thank you for sharing your lovely London trip report.

Enjoy your next trip and be sure to take plenty of notes because we'll be looking forward to experiencing Sweden through your eyes.
Apr 21st, 2004, 06:07 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 41,713
Wonderful well wriiten report. I remember taking a ride on the canal to visit an antique garden shop in Little Venice, called "Clifton Little Venice" on warwick place. I wanted to see the architechtual ornaments but not buy and pretend I was going to visit the painter in joyce cary's, The Horse's Mouth."
cigalechanta is offline  
Apr 21st, 2004, 06:41 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 2,627

Thank you. I waited with anticipation for your reports. You are a gifted reporter.

Ruth should have warned you that she had a lodger. What a fright you must have had. I am thankful it all turned out o.k. The emergency number in England is 999 but under the circumstances I can understand your confusion.

I wish for you a safe journey home and look forward to hearing about Sweden.


SandyBrit is offline  
Apr 21st, 2004, 06:54 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 12,820
Thank You so much Uncleart for your witty and amusing report..I laughed so much..You have a great sense of humour...
kismetchimera is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2008, 06:12 AM
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Topping for claire50
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