Ahoy there! Good to write to you all again, Internet residents. I wanted to get an update in before tomorrow, when I’m flying to Milan to visit my friend Mallory who is doing a month abroad there. It should be an adventure — my first trip to Italy, where I’m expecting to eat enormous quantities of pasta and feel very much like Brad Pitt in Inglorious Basterds.
But what, you may ask, has been going on in England? I will tell you now.
- On Friday, my trip to Wales was sadly postponed due to snow. Snow was the recurring theme of the weekend, as it snowed pretty much without ceasing from Friday am through to Sunday evening. Needless to say the English were freaking out over this state of affairs, yet the net accumulation was about an inch in my part of the city. I gather it may have snowed more outside London (certainly Wales would have been impossible) but it was amusing to watch the government and citizenry here react about the same way as one might in North Carolina. The snow did not prevent me from cooking a very tasty dinner with three other guys — two from Princeton and one from Amsterdam — on Friday night. In typical fashion, the four of us both overestimated the food we needed and, nonetheless, ate it all anyway.
You can barely even see it under all that snow.
- Saturday dawned, and the snow was not so bad, so I made my way out to Selhurst (near Croydon in the southern part of the city) to take in another football match. The local team, Crystal Palace FC, took on a team called Bolton Wanderers. They play in the “Championship” which despite the name is one level below the Premier League. Think of it as triple-A baseball except that if you finish in the top three you would get promoted (and the Kansas City Royals would be relegated and might have to spend a year taking on the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs). The stadium, a stark contrast to the Emirates, was ancient — the main stand was constructed in 1923 and my tiny wooden seat certainly felt that way. The ground has been expanded since then, including one end of the field where the seats are constructed on top of a Sainsbury’s grocery store. But it felt very much like a neighborhood team, with a boisterous crowd that largely seemed to be materializing from the surrounding houses. The game was nothing special, a 0-0 draw between two very cold-looking teams, but I had a good time checking it out.
Get your groceries at half time! What a deal.
- Saturday evening I listened to Columbia’s basketball team take on Cornell; you can find my column for the Columbia Daily Spectator about the experience here.
- It continued to snow on Sunday, which was fascinating. Since I already gave you a picture, here’s the lovely English breakfast I had in the morning.
British bacon > British sausages. And no, I didn’t each much the rest of the day.
- Yesterday I went to Somerset House with my London Architecture class. A very neat building complex, though my enjoyment was hampered by the freezing temperatures! There is a really impressive art gallery, including some impressionists, in one of the buildings, and I’m definitely going to go back to check that out.
The Navy Board once worked here. Truly rapturous stuff.
- Thing that may only interest me and my Dad — the British mint recently introduced a new design for the backs of their coins. Coins are a big deal in the UK, as they come in many strange denominations of up to 2 pounds (L2, L1, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p, 1p). I had heard that collecting the latter six coins would be worthwhile, so I did so. Here’s what they make if you put them all together.
Like the world’s strangest puzzle.
- Yep, it’s the Royal Shield! Hey, I think it’s cool.
That is all for me for the time being, it seems. My weekend is just beginning — today I will be packing (very lightly) and preparing for a repulsively early flight to Milan Malpensa airport tomorrow morning. Miss you all and keep in touch. Arrivederci.