I Apologise, I’m British

The post about being British over at The Universe and Me inspired me to think of situations in which us Brits apologise for something which is entirely not our fault.

 

1. When someone bumps into you and YOU say sorry

2. When you are waiting with someone for someone else and you apologise for their lateness

3. When you are sorry you that you don’t have a watch on

4. When you are really sorry that you don’t know the direction to some place someone wants to go

5. When you apologise to a cab driver for not knowing the directions of where YOU want to go

6. When you are sorry that something has happened to someone that had nothing to do with you

 

There are many more, I’m sure, that I cannot think of at the moment. Wish to add anything?

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Celebrating The New Arrival

Hello to 2013! Congratulations on surviving another New Year Celebration.

Watching the countdown and firework display on television last night, I came to the realisation that 2012 was actually quite a successful and progressive year – not just for me, but it seems for a large portion of the world. Whatever tragedies that struck the world in 2012, and I do realise that there were many, I hope that the good outweighed the bad.

Happy New Year folks!

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An Ode to London

Today, for  the first time in my life, I went on a tour of London. This may seem normal to some of you, but I happen to live IN London, a stones throw away from the very centre of the city. Sure I’ve seen most parts of London, travelled all over – but as a Londoner that is more of a means to an end. I travel through the depths of London because I have somewhere to get to, but I never truly take it in.

Today that changed. We had to visit Waterstones on Gower Street, which whilst being the largest academic bookshop in Europe, has also just become my favourite place on Earth. 4 storeys of pure book bliss. (I stuck to my guns though – I didn’t buy myself a single book!)

As it is Sunday and there’s thankfully no ridiculous congestion charge, and parking is free in most places thanks to the beauty of yellow lines, we took the car, and decided to deviate a bit, to get a nice view of the London we so frequently avoid.

Here is my day in some particularly bad quality pictures from an iPhone in a moving vehicle:

Big Ben

Big Ben

Admirality Arch

Admirality Arch

The fountain in Trafalgar Square and the christmas tree given to England by the Norwegians annually

The fountain in Trafalgar Square and the christmas tree given to England by the Norwegians annually

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Cathedral hidden away in Victoria

Westminster Cathedral hidden away in Victoria

The Mi5 building - my place of employment!

The Mi5 building – my place of employment!

The National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery

Horseguards Parade

Horseguards Parade

 

I was unable to take any pictures inside Waterstones as I was afraid they would throw me out and not let me look at the books anymore. This is a risk I am unwilling to take.

For those of you who live in London, or any other big city, how often do you observe your city for the beauty that it actually has, the architecture and the heritage?

 

The Christmas Exchange Begins

Today I received my first Christmas gifts, on my last day of work for the year. They are two books that I have been continuously glancing at on Amazon for the last few weeks. I am extremely glad that I did not purchase them! Thank you to a lovely co worker and friend for the very thoughtful gift.

I will definitely be reviewing the books in the near future! They are:

The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstein

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

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I don’t know why this picture won’t rotate. I can only apologise for the stupidity of my computer.

 

Also, whilst out Christmas shopping today I saw reindeer! Real reindeer! Santa was there too but I didn’t manage to get a picture of him.

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I will be off for a few days while I frantically wrap gifts, buy more for those I have forgotten and start the cooking! So happy holidays, and seasons greetings to you all!

A Christmas Themed Day

This time is presents.

Have you seen that Superdrugs advert with Stacy from Gavin and Stacy  Where she goes in to the shop with the aim of buying her mum a present and ends up buying herself a bunch of stuff and forgetting the present…?

Well, that’s what its like for me when book shopping. Last week I visited my favourite bookshop twice with the aim of buying my grandfather a Christmas present, and ended up walking out with a bunch of books for myself and forgetting his. So, I will have to make another visit there this evening, not that I’m complaining or anything – although I’m not sure how long my bank balance can take it…

Its not that I mind going out of my way to visit Camden Lock Books in Old Street Station, especially as they have many fantastic books for £2.99, but after a few more visits I may be bankrupt. At least I’ll get to sleep on a pile of books, in my cardboard box house that I’ll inevitably have to move in to. Preferably in Old Street Station next to the book shop and rather than having a cup in which to place coins, I kindly ask you to donate me books.

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So…

What, so I have to apologise? For having a life? (are you now believing that I have a life? We’ve been through this before people…honestly, it’s as if common sense evades you)

So I am back after a sabbatical of ridiculous working hours and persistent laziness.

The shopping revolution

The shopping revolution is in full swing – big corporate machines taking over from the smaller independent retailers, and online purchasing becoming more popular than ever. But is the revolution inevitable or can small businesses make a comeback?

Maybe the small shops have to suffer, as a form of natural selection – the strong prevail and the weak flail at the sign of challenge – this is what I was taught in school, and I assume the curriculum hasn’t changed immensely on that point. So is it so hard to believe that this theory can (and, maybe, should) be applied to retail?

I have to admit, my favourite bookshop is the Camden lock bookshop in Old Street station, and I would much rather go there on my way home from work than trawl around a Waterstones for hours, continuously tripping over yuppie mums buying self help dieting books. And I try to avoid Amazon as much as possible, because, despite being cheap and having literally everything, it just feels so impersonal and makes it all the more hard to stumble upon those rare finds that one can discover in the corner of an independent bookshop.

My favourite clothing shops, however, are the cheap, mass produced, high street kind (and yes, I am aware that the majority of these shops are unethical in their production, but what can be gained from me, one individual, boycotting these establishments? At least I get a good deal!). I don’t do designer, and I find it tedious trying to find decent vintage wear.

When it comes to supporting small businesses, I believe it is simply down to personal choice, requirement and availability. However, quite understandably, there are communities of people (with more free time than me) who want to preserve as many local businesses as they can, and new innovations have been created that prove this.

The Bristol pound was launched recently, joining the 5 other local currencies in Britain including the Brixton pound. These local currencies have been developed to boost local spending, but are these innovations actually beneficial for the financial problems throughout the UK?

When it comes to local currencies, I find myself wondering if anyone would actually bother. I work full time and have a family to look after, so I doubt if I, personally, could find the time to exchange all my cash for the Bristol pound, let alone the fact that it would mean I would either have to carry around two forms of cash or completely limit myself in where I spend. Can I not show my support of local businesses by giving them my pounds sterling? Does that not make just as much difference to those small companies?

So, what are your opinions on the shopping revolution and the local currencies that are popping up around the country?

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