Sunday, November 26, 2006

Atlas Shrugged - In London

I spent a few days in London doing what I love to do while I am there. I walk, ride the buses, visit "off the beaten path" places, drink cider, eat pub food. It helps me wind down before heading back into the breech and also gets my body clock attuned to the different time zones. I live in GMT +3 so London has a 3 hour time change from here. It is much easier to adjust to a 3 hour change than a 9 hour change. Actually for me the easiest is a full 12 hour change but I don't do those since we moved our home away from California.

Walking in London is like walking in a time machine. You will be looking in the window of a shop that sells state of the art electronics and it is next door to a pub which has been there for 400 years. Across the street is a wall built by Romans and has a 2006 Jaguar parked next to a 1963 MG.

I took one of the walking tours run by London Walks. I had many to choose from and chose the Charles Dickens Old London Tour, What I love about these is that the guides are really good, keep you moving and enthralled, and take the time to show you lots of little tidbits that other guides might not show you. They take an artifact and blend it into history to give you a sense of place and time and use that wry British sense of humor to deliver it.

Our guide was taking us past row houses built back in the late 1700s and showed us this plaque with Atlas holding up the world. She explained that it was from an insurance and fire company called Atlas which provided not only insurnace but fire fighting response. Back then there was no municipal fire department so insurance agencies took this on. If you did not have a plaque you would not get fire fighting response from them. There were a number of competeing companies and for superior protection many people took out numerous policies so that no matter which company responded, they were covered.

During this time England was ruled by Mad King George III. This is the dummy who lost America to the revolution. It has been proved that he was indeed mad (nutty as a loon) and that this might be part of the reason why he made so many decisions which led England to lose her colonies. He loved to make up new awards and then present them to himself. At one pont he wore so many that his son, The Prince of Wales, told him, "Father, you look like an overinsured house."

I also went to see a couple of stage shows while I was there. I bought the tickets on line and managed to land one to see the Blue Man Group and a new theater but the real treat was being able to see Monty Python's Spamalot at the Palace Theater in Covent Garden. This was a Friday night show and the streets were just bristling with people of all types. It was a funny, funny show and they sing all all the songs you remember plus some other bits tossed in such as "Look on the Bright Side of Life" from The Life of Brian. The star is Tim Curry as King Arthur and his charisma just exudes from the stage all throughout the show. The Palace is famous but it was not made for American butts. The seat was more cramped than the middle seat on Southwest Airlines. After the 1st act I didn't even go for a beer, I just walked the halls trying to get some circulation going again.
All in all I enjoyed my time there and look forward to my next visit this spring. More to come....


Blogger BWJones said...

I look forward to additional pictures and such about London as I will be there sometime this spring and am looking for non touristy things to do including walks around town.

8:08 AM  
Blogger David said...

Give me a call when you thinking of another London walk. I'm a City of London guide and take groups and individuals round the City. Have a look at

1:26 PM  

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