Category Archives: News
Snow has hit the U.K. big time this week, with as much as six inches in some parts, creating traffic gridlock.
Heavy rains are expected to follow this evening (with flood warnings in effect in the Midlands, the South West and East Anglia), followed then by uncharacteristically warm weather by Thursday. Temperatures are predicted to reach 54 F in the South West, 52 F in London and 48 F in the North, Midlands and Scotland.
Talk about temperamental weather. The only thing missing is the heat wave! Maybe next week?
It started with a Facebook page called “Wiltshire, Let’s Get Naked in the Snow” started by Leanne Myers, a 40-year-old from Durrington, Wiltshire. With the recent snowfall in the U.K., over 250 people posted their photos (all fairly tasteful – like “Calendar Girls”) in the first three days and the page has since received nearly 10,000 likes. The craze has reached the U.S. and the Middle East, with non-Brits posting to their pics to the page as well.
Today, there’s much to celebrate as the world’s oldest underground transportation network, the London Underground, celebrates 150 years today on the same day that the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton turns 31.
When I studied abroad in the U.K., one of my flatmates had an anthology of poetry that had been posted on the London Underground (where the advertisements usually ran). The book, Poems on the Underground (Fifth Edition), became one of my favorites to just dip into now and again, and ranged from Percy Shelley to Maya Angelou, Brits and non-Brits as well as some anonymous authors.
I eventually bought my own copy that year and have been revisiting those old poems this week. I found one which might be appropriate for today’s celebrations. Let’s raise a glass and have a read! Cheers.
My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a watered shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.
Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.
- Christina Rossetti (1830-94)
“In Britain, one in 10 bank cards (10%) and one in seven notes (14%) were found to be contaminated with some faecal organisms, the research, carried out at Queen Mary, University of London and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, showed. More than a quarter (26%) of hands sampled showed traces of faecal contamination including bacteria such as E.coli, the study found.
Samples were taken from 272 people from east and west London, Birmingham and Liverpool – and in total 816 specimens were collected. Out of the samples taken, the cards and notes in Birmingham showed the most contamination, with faecal matter detected on 17% of specimens.
More than one in three (35%) of hands sampled from Birmingham harboured traces of faecal contamination. A fifth (20%) of hands surveyed in east and west London were found to have traces of faecal contamination. The most “grossly” contaminated cards and notes came from east London with 8% of cards and 11% of notes holding levels of bacteria that were comparable to a dirty toilet bowl.”
Gah. Gross. I’m not saying that American hands are any better. I shudder to imagine what the results of such a stateside study would find. Read the story.
So apparently what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas – unless you’re Prince Harry and someone commemorates the occasion on film. I’m ashamed for him. Couldn’t he have just hung out in the buffet at Bellagio? Maybe caught Celine Dion in concert? And checked out the beautiful pool and cabanas at the Palms (and then regretted eating so much at the buffet)? That’s how I roll when I’m in Vegas.
The day is finally here! I’m so looking forward to the opening ceremony of the Olympics today. I’ve heard one insider describe it as “very British” and I can’t wait to see what they do. What we do know: there will be sheep and a host of other farm animals, plows and maypoles, a dance featuring nurses, a song by Paul McCartney and something involving Daniel Craig as James Bond. Is this not going to be the greatest thing the world has ever seen?
And with all the buzz about the Olympics, I thought I’d roundup some of my favorite links and share – enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!
A watercolor map of London.
A soundtrack to rock the games.
A London double-decker bus does push-ups.
Ab Fab’s Eddie and Patsy carry the Olympic torch.
Don’t take the Olympic name in vein.
Will London visitors learn that British food is good? (Because it really is…)
Beer from the 1908 London Olympic games, anyone?
The 2012 Olympics drinking game, but please drink responsibly.
British food for an Olympics party.
Whoo hoo! Congrats to Bradley Wiggans, for winning this year’s Tour de France – and being the first Briton ever to do so! It’s a historic achievement and I can only imagine the exuberance and pride that must be filing the U.K. this week.
Yesterday’s Daily Telegraph piece from writer Ian Chadband put the win in some perspective: “It is hard to imagine that any performance in the Olympic Games, which open on Friday, could possibly match the magnitude of his achievement in this 2,172-mile epic.”
Epic! Well done, Bradley Wiggans. You’ve made Great Britain very proud!
A new study reports that Britain is among one of the most inactive populations on the planet, with 63.3 percent of the population failing to meet recommended levels of physical activity. That beats America, which comes in at 40.5 percent, despite the fact that 30 percent of Americans are obese.
Can you believe it?
I find this study surprising. I was the most fit that I have ever been while living in the U.K. I used public transport and walked a lot – more than I ever have in the U.S. There is such a thing as being “London fit,” which comes not from mindlessly slaving away at the gym, but from bolting up stairs, catching the Tube, running for buses and walking with all of your gear, just to get where you need to go. I actually kind of miss that purposeful exercise, of inadvertently getting in shape while going about your day. It makes using the treadmill look a little bit silly.
The toys in the warehouse of UK-based toy company Bandai are now safely being protected by Millie the cat. The story has been reported in several UK newspapers and I thought it was some sort of April Fools-style joke, but no. Behold, Millie! She’s not only the security detail at Bandai but ridiculously photogenic and looks adorable in cat clothes.
She’s apparently quite happy to patrol at night and is being paid in cat food and fish. Who needs a watch dog, when you can have Millie? Added bonus: She’s got nine lives.
I’m sure it will be turned into a Hollywood blockbuster in no time.
(Apologies for the cheese factor in this story…)
Put away your swimming costumes (translation: swimsuits) and goggles.
The Thames is officially closed to swimmers by the Port of London Authority.
Whose idea of a good time involves swimming in the polluted, not to mention freezing waters of the Thames (I know, I know, it’s not as polluted as it used to be …)? Well, there are “wild swimmers” who do enjoy fighting the strong currents and whirlpools of the Thames. Now they’ll need a permit for the pleasure.
I think I’ll stick to the swimming pool.