Friday, August 10, 2001

Reflecting, a little sourly, on travel. Itís certainly nice to have a place with unlimited hot water and those complimentary sachets can have a certain interest, though going off to the local Lush (or, preferably, stocking up beforehand) is better. [Thinks: giggles, at the thought of my father, who was given a selection of Lush bath bombs, including one which covers everyone in glitter. Has he soaked and found himself covered in silver flecks? Has he left this as being unnecessarily luxurious for some unwitting female relative visiting? Would he admit to being glittered?]

Itís the little things which are so irritating: a different tv region with programmes subtly out of sync, the local accent, different newspapers (to The London Standard, the world could end tomorrow and the headline would still be about underground trains running late) and, worst of all, no bagpipes on the streets, no fireworks late at night , no country in the middle of the city, no Saltires flying proudly, no kilts passing by on the street, buses of a different colour, unfamiliar statues, differently shaped streetlights Ö the new cuisine can be a challenge, the shops can be a delight, but it only takes a couple of days to feel nostalgic. Thereís a frightening soullessness to London where people donít look at each other, where theyíre too frightened or stressed out to allow themselves to care. In Scotland, if you talk to someone on the street, they donít look down to see if youíre pointing a knife at them, and itís actually possible (though still not advised) to walk three paces away from your luggage. Walking along the Thames has a magical quality, visiting the galleries is an experience second to none, except maybe Paris, but...

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