Favorite thing: Bud Flanagan was a Music Hall comedian, part of the Crazy Gang and half of the legendary Flanagan & Allen double act. He was born s Chaim Reeven Weintrop in 1896 into a Polish immigrant family. At the location of that former chip in Hanbury Street (Spitalfields) is a plaquette to remember Bud.
Update April 2014: extra photos added
Like every big city, London has its fair share of these “living statues”, and of course they range from average (or worse) to excellent in terms of their style, their ability to stay “frozen” and their entertainment value when they finally move :-)
The first two photos were taken on a sunny Sunday on the South Bank. I liked the elegance of the first man’s costume, and the humour of the second, posing as a dog! The third and fifth were also taken on the South Bank, while the fourth was near St Paul's Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge.
Other good places to find them are Covent Garden, Leicester Square, various parks – in fact anywhere that lots of people are to be found.
Visit a pub outside of the "tourist" areas. Borough Market is a good start. The Market Porter is great in the spring with everyone standing outside. Next to it is the Wheatshef and next to it is the Southwark. Start at one and work you way down. Southbank isn't a far walk where there are restaurarts, The Globe and the Tate Modern.
Fondest memory: Drinks with friends from work.
I really must tell you this little story of when we, me and Chris, went to London in Sept 1st 2000.
We were sat on the train to Marylebone and it had pulled up into one of the other stations. This youngish couple got on with two young boys, one about 7 years old, the other about 4. The mum and dad had to stand up, but there were seats on the next table to us for the young lads to sit on. These little boys are talking away in their little boy language; and then the littlest boy, who was fair haired and had little round glasses on and looked like a little Joe 90, said to the older one 'let's play Dragons!'. A few minutes later, this little boy let out such a great big roar!!!, I just couldn't stop laughing that such a little mite could make such a loud noise, he sounded just like Godzilla! hahaha. When I'm feeling down, I still often think about this little boy, it still makes me laugh or brings a smile to my face just thinking of this tiny boy with the very loud roar.
Londoners LOVE their beer!
Actually, the English do :)
I am not saying other nations dont, South Africans enjoy it too - around a braai/bbq... but there is a far more defined role that beer plays in the life of an Englishman, than in other nations in my opinion.
This affects home life and the workplace of course. We know some English men who live at the pub.. and after work, they go there and that's where they spend the evening. There are always drinks happening at the local with work coleagues too.
I do enjoy a shandy now and again (when I am not dieting!), but not so often. I think it boils down to the fact that there is a big drinking culture in Britain as a whole. Which, some may see as being sociable, others may see as boring (there's only so much 'pub' one can go to!).
There's the smoking that comes along with going to the pub too, which is not pleasant... and it's a real joy to go to a pub where it is smokeless or there is little evidence of such.
I think the main thing I have not been able to get used to here is having a beer warm. Never! Never! Never! :)
Something iv noticed is, lots of people need to be asked twice! It may sound odd, but trust me.. If someone dont answer you the first time, ask again, youll probably get a reply.
Oh bring an umbrella (brolly), especially in winter! And keep a very close eye on the weather forecast.
I really enjoy the dry wit than many English people possess. A play on words is also well received.
What I do NOT appreciate is the blaspheming and need to swear that I find in London (this comes from people from all nationalities, not only Londoners please note, and MANY Londoners I know do not swear at all).
I find the blaspheming insulting. Swearing is also not liked but I try and ignore it as much as I can. To each their own.
Anyway, that's my own outlook on language in London! :) The wit is generally great though!!!
The fantastical ideal of the English gentleman is long dead it seems. Although I have to say, I have always had help offered when carrying a heavy suitcase up stairs etc. Many people (women) do complain that men don’t open doors for them anymore etc. I still like that.
It is old fashioned, but something which I find a good quality in a man This is also more city-related though... one finds more easy-going and friendly folk out in the English country.
Londoners also generally have a problem with whinging. This is one area where I won't 'when in Rome do as the Romans do' !. I am of the opinion that if the train is a mere 3 minutes late, then so be it, and be patient.
This may because of my upbringing in South Africa, where trains come hourly in many places... and in many countries across the world trains are far less frequent, so I feel Londoners are VERY lucky to have the great transport system they do have.
Fondest memory: The two smiling lads in the photo are not English, they are South African.
To a large degree I have found that the upbringing in South Africa is more old fashioned than in England, so generally (and I use this term loosely), South African men open doors etc. more than English men do in my personal experience.
American English differs from English English in several key points. This can cause much amusement sometimes! haha
boot-trunk of car
Fondest memory: That being said, you often will find that the person behind the counter/waitron does not have English as a first language, and this can be quite frustrating at times. There are many foreigners who live and work in London, especially students, and they are learning English. Might sound weird to not deal with English people when shopping/eating out in London, but is so.
The photo is of Bree, an Australian waitress we chatted with at Hampton's Wine Bar. She had only been in London for 2 weeks wen we met her!
The night life rages on until at least eleven o'clock, at which time friendly groups of policemen (known fondly as Happy-Bobby-Greeters) will personally escort revellers home.
Fondest memory: The Chief Constable is the title of the head of all British territorial police forces except the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police, which are headed by Commissioners.
Other British police ranks (outside the London forces) include:
Deputy Chief Constable
Assistant Chief Constable
Favorite thing: As I was walking across Westminster Bridge towards Big Ben I noticed a TV crew doing something. Then I saw the Lonely Planet/Pilot Guides/Globetrekker himself. That's right, Ian Wright in the flesh. I went up to him when he appeared to be on a break and introduced myself and we shook hands. He was good enough to get a member of his team to take a picture of us together. He seemed as good a guy as he seems on the shows.
Favorite thing: For Londoners! If you fancy Japanese then go to Japan centres in Piccadily has the most valueble price for sushi and sashimi, and even got a groceries store at the basement, restaurant cum travel agencies on ground floor, internet and comic or manga books available on the 1st floor.
Chinese New Year occurs in late January/early February, and the Chinese in China Town really know how to throw a party. China Town becomes a seething mass of people, and there are dragons roaming around and music playing and everyone having a great time. If you are in londo at this time, it is well worth finding out what is on and where and going to watch for a bit.
Of course with so many people from many different places all squashed together, make sure you take good care of your possessions. This is comment is not aimed at China Town, just a sensible piece of advice in any big city where there are lots of people squashed tightly together.
Fondest memory: The Dragons, which are several people dressed up in a costume moving very slickly throughy China Town.
Favorite thing: There are lots of street performers around London, particularly in Covent Garden and Leicester Square, as well as along the South bank near the London Eye. They are often quite talented, and I think they deserve at least a small amount of what money you can spare them, as they spend most of the day performing for people. Most of them also have licenses to do so.
Whilst most European and American cities have some often beautifully made wooden newstands on their streets selling all manner of newspapers, magazines and other stuff in London we have the brigades of the Evening Standard sellers.
Some don't even have kiosk, but others have a tiny shed from which they flog their stock of Evening Standard newspapers.
Their cries of 'eee (very long) venn nen stunn durd' can be heard all over central london from lunchtime into the late evening.
To replicate this sound, it must be accompanied by a long intake of breath and a refusal to operate the jawbone.
The paper itself sells some 400,000 copies a night and is similar in nature to the Daily Mail (who own it). It concentrates more on national news rather than London, although the listings sections are often useful for visitors to browse through.