Unless I have actual business to take care of there, I avoid large main streets like the plague. Notorious among the avoidees is London’s Oxford Street, which is a shitty thoroughfare full of tourists and other scum, all taking selfies and being fleeced by the stores selling the most awful tat (British for tchotchkes) while they try to persuade themselves they’re having a great time in the world’s best city.
My advice: turn off the rotten thing as soon as you can — as I did when I walked down Soho’s Wardour Street, which is a narrow lane full of interesting places…
…such as the Pickle & Toast, which specializes in cheese toasties (grilled cheese sandwiches, to my Murkin Readers):
Exhausted by having had to walk a block down Oxford Street, I badly needed a cup of tea so I went inside.
I ordered my cuppa, and then sat down to drink it and relax awhile — but the smell of sourdough toast was too wonderful, so I ordered a cheese toastie. This was also because the place does not use just any old cheese, no sirree. This is the stuff they use:
It’s Quicke’s Cheddar, from Devon; and the sandwich looks like this:
Good grief. I could have eaten three, and the rest of the menu looked just as tasty — and they serve breakfast too, but I got there just too late. To say that this beats a Big Mac on Oxford Street is to utter the understatement of the century.
And just so we’re all clear on the concept: I could have eaten at about a dozen different places along Wardour Street, and I probably would have had just as good a time and just as good a meal. Now you know.
Delenda est Via Oxonium.
From Reader Old Texan:
Now just add nukes to that thought…
Ranked in ascending order of awfulness:
- CD box set of “Frank Sinatra: The Vegas Years”
- $100 gift card for Crabtree & Evelyn
- DVD box set of Girls
- “No Meat, Ever: A Vegan Cookbook”
- Divorce papers
Your own suggestions in Comments. Bonus points if you’ve ever actually received any of them.
So after arriving at Heathrow yesterday, I wasted no time in re-submerging myself into Britishland culture: sausage roll and a cuppa at the station at 10am, followed by a lunchtime pint of Fuller’s London Pride (my tipple of choice where Wadworth 6X isn’t available).
…which I imbibed at this fine establishment:
For this last leg of my sabbatical, I’m staying in another hotel in Ye Olde Fleabagge Inne chain, this time in Earl’s Court. It’s been many years since I stayed here, but fortunately, it hasn’t changed much — although I continue to lament the disappearance of the excellent Hi-Tide chippie: last night’s fish & chips dinner in a nearby pub was mediocre. (I won’t mention the fucking background music because it was so loud it was actually foreground music, requiring that conversation had to be shouted to be audible; and in true Earl’s Court fashion — because all residents of Earl’s Court appear to be ESL* — the screams emanating from the neighboring table to mine sounded like a conversation between Latke and Simka from the Taxi TV show.)
All that said, I love Earl’s Court; it’s regarded with absolute horror by the upper crust — and I have had several letters from friends in said demographic commiserating with my plight — but I can think of no better catalyst to wake me from my somnolence after having relaxed in one of Johannesburg’s toniest suburbs for the past two weeks.
The difference between this:
…and this cannot be overstated.
And now, if you’ll excuse me… I’m off to find a decent Full English Breakfast amidst the curry palaces, Italian bistros, vegan vendors and halaal kebab restaurants hereabouts. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be the only bloke in the place who’s reading the Daily Telegraph.
I love London.
*ESL = English [as] Second Language, to my non-U.S. Readers.
Fuck me but it’s cold. I just left the city with the world’s best weather and am now in late-December London.
I’ll post more as soon as I find my willy.