Saturday, September 22, 2012

Jamilams' Extraordinary English Escapade

August 18th, 2012 7:50am
Wonderful Pictures!

Dear journaldiarytravellog, this is Jamila. How are you? Grainy and papery, eh? Just as I expected. I feel you under my hand as I write. It's wonderful. You are a rougher quality than printer paper. You have this texture that feels almost handmade. It's soothing.

A man just passed me. Everyone is so polite. A light tap against my foot and they apologize as if they've just killed my first-born son.

The airport is nice. There's the white light of morning coming in from the large windows. It's my favourite kind of light.

There's an English couple sitting behind me. Their accents are absolutely outstanding. They were arguing over what drinks to pick up. I swore I heard the man ask his wife if she wanted some “dickhead coffee”. I probably misheard but really hope I didn't.

I think I'll take a picture of what I see.


I even took a picture of this journal. That's the sort of thing people want to see

I'll have you know that as many as 3 people might read this. Yeah. I can't let down my adoring public.

Mom and André dropped me off at the airport this morning. Everything went very smoothly until I went through security. I got patted down. Of course. I didn't expect anything else, but you always hold out a little hope. Mom says she hasn't been patted down in years. She's so light that security thinks her kinky hair is an ethnic mistake. Like Koreans with perms.

So I got patted down. And I always will. It's hard not to when you have skin my colour and eyebrows as thick as mine. The one saving grace is that my last name isn't Mohammed or Bin Laden or 911-Was-Cool. Bharath isn't too far off, though. Sounds ethnic enough to be suspicious to them.

I can't even believe I'm going to Europe. I don't know what I think will happen, but some part of me thinks that once I get through the gate I'll instantly be teleported back to Cornwall. I'm sure the feeling will go away once I'm airborne.

HEY, that guy looks like Hugh Laurie and Neil Patrick Harris had a baby! Oh, there he goes. Maybe he'll sit next to me.

I'd love to sit next to a nice old woman. They're the best. You get all the fun of good conversation PLUS a smidgeon of mild racism. Sprinkle in a bit of envy at your youth and BAM, old people.

They make everything you say sound interesting. Like school. And life. They're so excited until they find out my social life is non-existent. To quote my ex-boss:

“You're in your prime! Don't you go out and have fun?”

It is twenty minutes after they said we'd be at the gate and no boarding call yet.


I think I'll stop writing and try to wrap my head around leaving for England now. I'll be back if the dude I sit next to is really boring, Or really attractive. Then I can write “GOLLY, THAT GUY IN 36A SURE IS ATTRACTIVE” really big. And he'll either smile modestly to himself or make a point to ignore me. We'll see how it goes.


On the plane now. And dammit to hell, motherbutting prunk. I HAD a window seat. But being an exceptionally nice person I gave my window seat up so a married couple could sit together. I'm not even in the outer seats! I'm stuck in the stupid center aisle. My only hope is that the flight will be empty enough that I can sit by a window anyway.

Damn my Canadianness. Not ONLY did I agree to switch, I acted like I was happy to do it. Motherprunking pimhole.

Oh, hey, there's Hugh Patrick Harris Laurie. Over there.

Okay. I won't be miserable if the two people who sit next to me are wonderful Englishmen. Ugh, no, she just sat down. She. Annnnnd there go the window seats. What a nice start. Did I just hear someone say their child is 6 months old? NO. You'd better be pregnant, lady. YOU'D BETTER.

I am filled with dread. This is the fastest I've gone from excited anticipation to grumbling rage. Come here, Elton John. Soothe me with your voice and piany skills.

Oh, you like sitting with your wife in your window seat, don't you? You dick.


I have no idea whether I slept or not. I think I nodded off for about 10 minutes there. I remember hearing all the songs on this album except for two, so I couldn't have been out long. All I know is that somehow I am only manageably tired instead of outright exhausted. 

That couple aren't even looking out of my window. They SHUT it, in fact. Next time someone asks me to trade I want to say no. What happened to the days of acting sad about being separated and waiting for someone to offer their seat? It's much better that way. Pretending you can't hear them makes you seem neutral. Outright saying “piss off” makes you the bad guy. You want to sit with your wife? BOOK EARLIER.

I really like window seats, I'm sorry. Last time some woman took mine by 'accident' and I let it go.

Do airlines frown on killing screaming children? That seems like the kind of thing they'd get mad about.


I watched Pirates!: Band of Misfits just now. Martin Freeman's kitteny cuteness transcends all forms. He's the King of Huggability. Him and his...face.

Here's tea!

As for feeling like I'm going to England? Nothing yet. Where do you think we're going, brain?

I really must try not to pee when I land and start hearing accents everywhere. Keep in mind that this is my third tea.

ALERT. The guy sitting next to me is English. that Dickhead Coffee? It might be. More later.


Report! So I spent 15 minutes working up the nerve to talk to this old English man. Twiddling my thumbs, making a point not to listen to my iPod, etc. I saw my chance when he started eating the airplane pretzels.

The pretzels are potentially THE saltiest things I have ever eaten. So! Me with my unopened bottle of water formulated a plan.

>While remaining casual-looking, see the exact moment when this guy finishes his pretzels.
>When he has finished with his pretzeled salt nonchalantly grab my water out of the seat pocket and offer it to him.
>So moved by the offer of water for his dry old man mouth, he will take you into his arms and accept you as an ally and a friend.

So that went almost exactly to plan. He opened up about visiting his wife's sister for a week, only sleeping for 1.5 good nights, not adjusting to Canadian time, coming to Toronto earlier in his life for a year to study fat levels in sheep in correlation with oxygen percentages in the air. Specifically, seeing the rate at which the brown fat diminishes when the amount of oxygen in the air is lowered.

If this journal had an English accent you'd be riveted.

He has also kick-started one of my objectives for this vacation: find out why English people hate Elton John.

When asked if he liked him, he made a face like someone had just thrust something rotten into his face. I was good enough to ask why. He said:

“Did you see the closing ceremonies? It was just full of all this recent pop stuff that none of us are really into. We're just sick of him. Singing at Diana's funeral and all that.”

Not the most sensical answer, but an answer nonetheless. I will add it to my survey.

Elton John: 0
The English: 1

Thank you for your input Mr. Dickhead Coffee.

...I really must avoid peeing.



Have you ever peed for a minute and five seconds? Then you have not lived. Anyway, the rest of the flight.

So Mr. Dickhead Coffee came back. I got him to write down his suggestions for what I should do in London. It was a very pleasant interaction overall.

The view from the windows as we landed was absolutely gorgeous. Since nobody sat beside me I had place to see through other people's windows.

And that skank STILL didn't open her window blind. I'm sorry, but if you have the chance to see London from above at night you damn well take advantage! It was breathtaking from 3 seats away, I can't imagine what it must have been like right there.

I feel a bit better because I met Mr. Dickhead Coffee through the switch. And I think a conversation with an English gentleman is worth the slightly worsened view out the window.

When I got out into the meeting area Denise found me (thankfully). I was starting to think of how I would call her without a phone number when she and her family came up behind me.

I think her son's a little scared of me.

Oh, Denise and Michael both like Elton John! Such a table-turner. I'm really tired right now, so I will leave you with the Elton John tally.

Elton John: 2
The English: 1

I am so tired. See you tomorrow for my first full day in England.

Sunday, 19th of August, 2012 7:10am
Wonderful Pictures!

So I woke up at 1:00am. Makes a bit of sense with the time lag, but, thankfully, I am an amazingly lazy person who is able to sleep at will (usually).

I'm so very tired right now, but that can be expected from someone waking up at 2:00am. Here's the good news, though. I can trick my body into thinking it's only a bit early instead of really early because of the natural light. Sun, you are my friend.

Speaking of the Son, we have church this morning. Catholic. I just know I'm going to do the 'debtors' version of the Lord's prayer and get laughed out of the church. But I can't pass up a sermon with an English accent. I just can't. Dat's proppa holy, innit?

Oh! The car ride back yesterday was the most I've heard 'innit' in the span of an hour.

And Air Canada has not improved their soggy cheese thing. It's still awful and tastes like a sponge that made a wish to be plastic. They did, however, throw some sausage bits and potatoes on there. Lovely.

I need some tea now.


Dear Diary,

Today I locked myself between the front door and the porch door. There is about a foot and a half to three feet between them and I feel like a colossal idiot. Idiot. Who gets locked BETWEEN?

Okay. It's okay, I got out.

I love how Denise talks. Everything is “Isn't it, Michael?”, “Isn't that right, Michael?”, “Right, Michael?”. Hilarious.

So here's what happened. When I got back from my walk I went to church with Denise. Catholic. Church. I felt like a super spy. The Protestant amongst the Catholics. A sheep amongst the wolves.

Here's what I learned:
-Catholics are scary (but I already knew that).
-Catholics love feeling bad and making you feel bad.
-There are too many things to do in a Catholic service.
-I have no idea how to do Catholic communion (walk up, bow your head, open your mouth, no, YOU hold the cup, go back now).
-I have no idea what Catholic wine is. Cough medicine?
-Sermons aren't bad.
-They sometimes choose amazing hymns. Or at least one.

I gave Daniel the Cena gear. He jumped around and was very, very happy. I also let Daniel tell me about WWE.

We went to a sports store where London 2012 gear was plentiful and very much on sale. Mmmm, less money.

Went to the park later. Oh, first...

Denise said she hadn’t heard this song by Elton John in years. So I went over and got my Elton John on. She said it was something like “Sartorial Elegance”, and I shot off to get my iPod. Elton John, 21 at 33, Sartorial Eloquence, Track 3. She was impressed.

We had an amazing dinner with Yorkshire Pudding, pork in gravy, potatoes cooked in oil AND...

Courgettes? I told them how much I love zucchini and we did this game where I would keep saying “No, not that, not that, not that!” and they'd keep pointing to different things on the plate. Turns out zucchini are courgettes here.

Then we went to the park and hung out with Mark, Keisha, and their three sons: Teon, Rio, and Ty-Rek.

Daniel fell and tore his favourite shorts while biking. He wasn't hurt at all, but he was bawling over those torn pants. His Dad told him to man up and I laughed quite a bit. English parents are the best.

“Stop crying. Are you a man or aren't you? You're gonna get a slap.”

Best parenting. He told Daniel that it could be worse and he could be ball-less, but that just make Daniel cry more.

I thought it was hilarious.

They need a good slap. Quiet down, don't they?

I'm at Keisha's house now and I need to stop writing and eat. Other highlights:
-Peas and rice
-Pigtail soup



20th of August, 8:37am
Wonderful Pictures!

I just saw a man wearing a shirt that said “Fuck Off, I'm Mixing”. I wonder if he is a DJ, cook, or cement preparer. Because that's quite an attitude for a cook.

So today I'm going to the Sherlock Holmes Museum. My number one thing to see in London. I'm pretty excited. Excited and a little scared.

I'm traveling alone, you see. Here I am on this double decker bus writing to myself and desperately hoping I don't get lost. I did write directions down in this book and look up my trip on Google. I'm just hoping I can:
a) Get to the London Walk.
b) Get there on time.
c) Not get lost, panic, get mugged, lightly molested, and dumped in the Thames.

Look at all those little people down there. I'm on a bus! I am better than you!

You would not believe how English these houses look. And they're everywhere! It's just rows upon rows of these beaten down white houses with dark shingles all attached to each other. Sometimes they add a bit of spice by making the bricks dark brown. How exotic.

I don't think I finished about yesterday, did I? At Keisha's house I was drawing a bit and she offered--


Okay, so I had to run off the bus, I was expecting it to take an hour, not ten minutes. I totally nailed using the Oyster card. Totally. Nailed. And the fun thing is, nobody knows I'm secretly Canadian. I mean, you can't tell a Canadian by looking, can you?

Denise said “I thought Canadians were supposed to say 'Eh' all the time?”. No, Madam. I am afraid that is nothing but propaganda set in place by jealous Americans.

I really must make sure I don't have to rush out of the train like I did on the bus. It's a bit embarrassing scrambling to tuck this thing away.

I'm so tired.

I'm going to buy so many souvenirs today, You don't even know. Like a bag full. Two bags. Maybe even...three bags.


This transit thing isn't so bad. I'm rather comfortable, actually. And it looks like I'll be early for the Walk after all.

I have a key to the house now. No more being locked out for me.

Hey, an ad for Animal Inside Out! I'm going to see that.

Even the train announcer is English. I'm so happy.

I think Denise and Michael like me. Denise must have asked me if I was going to be all right at least 5 times. And offered me a ride home if I got lost. She sure does care a lot for someone who sort of had me thrust upon her.

My stop is next. I shan’t take any risks. Goodbye for now, journal.


Okay, so now I'm...somewhere.

Cornhill and...Theanadele? What? Someplace. I probably should have looked up where I was going. I see some disgruntled tourists. I'm glad I came early. Now I have a good hour and a half to be lost.


Tower Bridge: 9:57am

So I accidentally found my way to the Tower Bridge/ Tower Hill. I had no idea Monument station was so close. But now I've accomplished what me, Mom and Dad never did.

It opens at 10:00, so here are tourists waiting around. Oh, wait, here we are. There's a line, so I can afford to wait a bit. I don't see anyone traveling alone. I feel strangely cocky. Like “Oh yeah, let's see any of you man up and do what I do”.


Tower Bridge: 10:24am

I have purchased one of those pennies you flatten out. I also got one for this guy who wanted change. He was Russian. He gave me a bill (or tried to) and I told him that he really didn't need to pay me back. Then he tried to give me coins and I turned him away again. Then he smiled and said “No...iss Rrrussian” and gave me some Russian currency. We are friends now. Even though I wouldn't know him from Adam.

I must make sure to be on time for this Walk. So why am I writing in this??? Better rush through the rest of the tower exhibit.


What an afternoon. Let me make a list so I don't forget:
-Went back to Monument.
-Went on Walk.
-Met Alexandra.
-Went by St.Paul's.
-Ate at Pret-a-Manger (I swear they have one on every block. Who needs so many?).
-Gave Alex some bad directions.
-Went to the Monument and climbed 311 steps to the top.
-On the Tube.

And now... to Sherlock Holmes!


“She's juss' a pirck like ah dongivva fuck. Eggzakly, juss' noh' nyse. Bayb, am tellin you apaht from us an yoo. Ehh, yeah. Yeah. S'not nice. Get duh fuck out mah face, she's juss' a muppet. Wuh? Yeh. Yambushaigha. Hello?”

-a Chav

Oh, right, Sherlock Holmes. No such luck. Went there, saw the line (must have been 40 people long at 3:00pm) and turned back. I'll try for it tomorrow when they open at 9:30am. Hopefully (if there is one) the line will be much shorter.

I bought about a hundred dollars worth of stuff in the Beatles Store. I bought this t-shirt for my Dad that I'm really having second thoughts about. The shop is right by the Sherlock Holmes Museum, so I think I'll bring it back and see if I can trade.

So what of the rest of my day? It was lovely. I couldn't ask for a better day. Well, more chances to pee would be nice, but...

I rushed back to the Walk site and it was fine. Pleasant banter with the guide and all. OH--

Speaking of pleasant banter. When I took the elevator down from the Tower Bridge I said “What's up, elevator man?”. He laughed. I said “I guess nothing since this is your job.” and he said “If it isn't up, it's down.” and I said “Just like life, then?”.

He laughed. I told him to use that in a book as a metaphor and insisted I get royalties. He offered 10%. I accepted. I'm not greedy.

So at this walk I met Alex (about the 10th one I know). She was alone, I was alone, it was bound to happen. We talked about whatever, went on this walk (which was really fun), had lunch, and parted ways.

I may or may not have given her some bad directions. Pointed her to St. Paul's station, walked the other way, then SAW St. Paul's station as I walked. I swear I read the map right.

Funniest joke of the tour: English engineering is often referred to as the “Sexual Frustration”. Take forever to get it up, then when we do it starts leaking and everyone loses interest.

Alex asked me if I remembered what the guide had just said. I did not. She was worried it was just her. I think she has more of an excuse. She had English as a second language, I'm just very lazy and inattentive.

When the tour finished we went and ate Pret-a-Manger sandwiches. Those things are seriously ev-e-ry-where. I must have seen at least 5. I thought I was going around in circles.

We only exchanged names when we were parting ways. Isn't that odd? You can talk with someone for 3 hours and not know their name. Although with the number of Alexs I know I could have guessed Alex and probably have been right.

I went to the Monument then. I got a joint ticket with my Tower admission, It was only 1 extra for the Monument, so why not? It was lovely. The stairs were very narrow, but you are walking up a pillar. The view from the top was wonderful. And terrifying.

I think the rest you know. No Sherlock, made a Beatles Store buying mistake, and I found Forbidden Planet after walking around in circles for about an hour. I'll tell you more tomorrow.



21st of August, 8:00am
Wonderful Pictures!

On the bus now. Rather tired.

I’ve started thinking in an English accent. I know it’s only been 2…yeah, 2 days, but I’m completely surrounded by the English here.

“I know it’s a pain, we got no school, no kids. But we’ll be off as soon as we can. Sorry about this.”
-the Bus Driver

Everything is better here. Just listen to that announcement. In Canada they wouldn’t even bother with an announcement. Here we get a nice personal message and even a heartfelt apology.

“Turn Pike-a-lane Station”
-the Bus

Is there really a point to the ‘a’ up there? Pikalane. It’s turnpike. Turnpike. If the extra syllable weren’t so funny I might be mad.

They do say mad here, you know. Not like the crazy mad either. The angry mad. All this time I was running around thinking that they always had to say angry. It isn’t so.

Anyone seen the Eastenders? It’s hilarious. The footage is all in HD, but there’s no music, the acting is bad, and the cutting/angles are predictable and awkward. I didn’t even know I was a TV snob, but it was pretty bad. And Denise and Michael were super into it, too. I guess once you know the characters and story the rest doesn’t matter?

Their bikers have some balls, eh? This dude is biking in front of a double decker bus. Don’t you fear for your life? This bus could crush your entire family.

I’m not on the top floor. Why aren’t I? Too lazy? It’s true that I am tired, but you know what? This is the first time in years that I’ve had a normal sleeping schedule again. Up at 7:00am, do things until 9:00 pm, sleep. Tired when I get up, tired when it’s bedtime. All it took was a bit of continent-changing.

When I speak to someone with my Canadian accent I wonder what they think. Are they like me with English accents, wishing I’d talk more and sneaking glances at me while I write? Perhaps. Now I know how those poor Englishmen feel. But you know what? If everyone else is anything like me, please DO ask follow-up questions. I’d love for someone to go “Whoa! That’s different, where are you from?”. Maybe say my accent is awesome and that England is a bit shit. Nobody here has told me England is a bit shit. I thought the English were supposed to hate themselves? Oh, speaking of…

Elton John: 3
The English: 1

The Beatles Store is across from this Rock and Roll place, and they seem to have a partnership. So the lady at the counter tells me about it. Naturally, I ask if they have any Elton John stuff. She says, and I quote:

“Oh no, they don’t. They should, though. I’d buy it.”

Awesome, lady. Awesome.

I don’t think I finished talking about yesterday. Can you blame me? You try walking around the city for 11 hours. That’s including transit and all of that, but please take into account that I needed to pee from about 12:00pm-7:00pm. That is a LONG time, folks. This is why I’m going to be soiling myself left, right, and center when I’m old. Won’t be my job to clean it up, though.

Okay, yesterday. So after Sherlock Holmes didn’t happen (single tear), I walked on to Forbidden Planet. Apparently it’s by the Covent Garden? Yeah. So I’m supposed to turn on St. Giles, right? I get to a certain point and still no St. Giles. They had a map of where you are and I look at it…okay, missed St. Giles. Since I didn’t know the address of Forbidden Planet I needed to go through my directions to it and try to sync it up with the real map/ my London A-Z (the best book ever). This resulted in me winding up back where I had been about 40 minutes ago, before the turn I was SUPPOSED to make.

I tried to follow my original instructions and I’m not sure if I got lost one more time or found my way again. Dunno. I found the place, okay? I bought a Klingon Battle Cruiser on sale for 14.99. Little did I know that it’s a model kit that doesn’t come with glue or paint. I don’t care. I’ll just pretend I’m playing I.S.S. Enterprise vs. Klingons post-fight. So basically flying it over rubble.

The guy at the cash had a great beard. I told him so. He told me he was trying to grow the Full English, complete with Bullhorn Moustache. He pointed me to the Tube. He was nice.

When I finally got home (got a little lost again) Michael and Denise were painfully cheerful. And you know when someone SEES you’re tired, but then won’t stop talking? And asking why you’re upset? I’m not mad! I’m REALLY tired from walking up and down London for at least 8 hours! Honestly.

Writing on the bus is hard.

Do you know how many English people J-walk? All. All of them. At every opportunity. Not a single person has waited for the green.


Okay, I almost missed my stop. I got it into my head that I was going to Turnpike Lane. Nope. Oakwood. The Underground at this part is above ground! Ooooh.

Didn’t get a picture, though. London transit is so easy, honestly. They announce everything all the time and there are so many Tube stops and they announce which attractions are by which stops! For no reason! Amazing. And they do it all with accents. I have no idea how they get anything done.

There is green everywhere here. It is breathtakingly beautiful.

It will be very easy to get to the airport from Denise’s house. It will just be a very long Tube ride.

I wonder if I’ll cry?



“He’s like a detective.”
“Is he dead?”
“Yeah, like hundreds of years ago”
-the English family at Nando’s on Sherlock Holmes

I’m at Nando’s eating some delicious chicken, I went for Tanya’s sake. She never stops with the Nando’s this and Nando’s that. It is pretty damn delicious. You rarely get that flame-seared taste at a restaurant. Let alone a food chain.

So I tried to find the set of 221B and failed miserably. “A couple of streets over” they said. “I’m Mark Gatiss, you can trust me” he said. Maybe I’ll look up where it is online and try again another day. I went in about a 6 block radius looking for likely candidates,

They did LOOK like the place, but no sign of the red Speedy’s awning. Maybe they took it down?

Fast food is better in England. So much better.

I’m so hungry I’m shaking, I need the food to kick in. Hello? Body? You can stop panicking, I’m eating now.

The days so far have all been beautiful. No rain, and the sun has been coming out every once in a while. It’s all so much better than I expected.

Black waiter here. Accidentally caught me looking at him. Oops. Oops oops. He’s too short anyway. And works at Nando’s. Nando’s.

I want more Coke. Why isn’t this the serve-y sort of place? Being alone is awesome except for that. Nobody to watch my stuff. Screw it, I’m thirsty. Nobody take my 125-worth of Sherlock stuff, alright? Alright? Okay.


Incredible success. Mmmm. Sugar water. Give me SUGAR…in WATER…MORE…Mmmmmm mmmm mmm.

I don’t want to walk anymore. I want to lie down in front of “221B” and just stay there. Martin Freeman has to come back sometime.

Just kidding. I don't care what Martin Freeman does with his time. Almost got you, though. I wonder if the Sherlock crew's ever eaten at Nando’s? BC went to a Hooters. So I dunno. Nando’s is classier than that, surely.

They have toilets here! Let’s not repeat yesterday, shall we?

…shan’t we?

Did you know I’m meeting Alex tomorrow? We’re touring the big tourist attractions on another walk. And then lunch. Wouldn’t life be simpler if I were a lesbian?


One day I want to stop at Broomsfield off the 121 and go to the “Baskervilles Tea Shop”.

You know, Monday I saw the Bank of England AND the Tower of London. If I went to Pentonville Prison I would have completed the Moriarty Circuit. AND I was by 221B! Man, that was the closest I’ve ever been to being Moriarty.

I’m on the bus, by the way. About 1:30pm

It’s a good thing time has made me patient. The ride in takes about 1.5 hours. It’s a nice ride, but…

Blow nose, black residue. What the hell, London?



My favourite part of vacation: booking classes…yay.

What an inconvenience. Can’t they just put Canada on pause?



We went to Pizza Express. I offered to pay for my share, but they wouldn’t have it.

We discussed TV and all the shows I like. Michael likes Scrubs! Can you believe it? He remembered his favourite joke as “Where’s the cover for my 8 wood? It’s on my 9 wood.” Little does he know that I am an expert. On Scrubs. And Sherlock. Star Trek I will leave for bigger nerds than I (pretty difficult), but…I know a fair amount about Star Trek.

Michael didn’t know James Doohan is Canadian! Sorry to burst his bubble. He said “I thought he was a real Scot! I’m disappointed now.”

So I’m going to have a piece of cake, then off to bed. Tomorrow I tour the big landmarks with Alex, so I’ll need a good night’s sleep.

Good night, Journal.

P.S. Michael and Daniel are the cutest father-son duo I’ve ever seen. “Thank you, sir” “You’re welcome, sir”. So cute!


23rd of August, 10:02am
Wonderful Pictures 22nd August
Wonderful Pictures 23rd August

Very sorry, journal. I’ve been bad. Yesterday was so tiring that I went straight to bed when I got in. And I actually slept on the Tube. Yeah.

So let’s start over with yesterday morning.

Course selections were yesterday. When I got up at 7:00am Alex was actually on Skype. Not German Alex or Cameron’s Alex or Andre’s Alex or Andre’s other Alex or Alex my old roommate or Alex from high school, or the other Alex from high school or the other other Alex from high school…the Chinese one. Do you see what I have to deal with, with all of these Alexs?

Anyway, he was on. He was waiting for the course choosing. So I had to arrange for him to pick my courses for me (thank you, Alex) which made me run a little bit late.

No time for breakfast, topped up my oyster card, caught the bus (while humming O Canada! to myself).

Whilst on the bus I heard someone speak from behind me…without an accent. So I decided to turn around and say “Ah ha! You’re not English!”. Which, in retrospect, might have scared them a little bit.

But we got to talking. Only one half of the couple was non-English. She was Californian. She said I sounded American. Then insisted she meant it as a compliment. I resisted the urge to say “Ohhh, a compliment! Such an honour to be lifted up to the rank of American-like after wallowing in my Canadian anguish, isn’t it? ISN’T IT? ARNOLD SCHWARZNEGGER WAS YOUR GOVERNOR.”


She works with special needs children. Her husband is…retired? He’s English. That’s all that matters. They were very nice. We discussed London and how it’s not nearly as cutthroat as people make out.

I have had my purse open before. Wide open. Nobody looked twice. I have met nothing but nice people since I’ve been here. And the way they keep the homeless people hidden? Beautiful.

Anyway, I got to the train station, but the train didn’t come for a few minutes. A few minutes I couldn’t really afford to lose. It was 9:40 when I was at Oakwood and I needed to be in Westminster by 10:30. Westminster is not close. Not only is it not close, but I needed to go on 3 lines to get there. I was quite anxious.

Anxious is an understatement. I was out of my skin with worry. I had agreed to meet Alex, I am a polite Canadian, and I know they insisted you not be late for the tour. Three. Three reasons to will the Tube faster with every passing minute.

It was truly a photo finish. A masterpiece of efficient transit, direction-asking, and a fair bit of running.

Before I continue let me say that, if you are coming to London, you MUST exercise beforehand. Do not come unprepared. London is expensive enough as it is. So between taxicabs, the Tube, and buses, you’ll be spending way more than you thought. If you prepare yourself for a lot of walking you will save money on those little trips between attractions. If they’re all in the downtown area, they are walkable.

Or you can be rich. Whatever.

So I ran from train to train, switching lines twice, and when I for to Westminster I dashed to the meeting place. I asked the tour guide if I could throw some change at her, she said yes, and she started the tour almost exactly as I finished paying. Alex was there to congratulate me on my ability to go very fast.

The tour was pleasant. A bit cloudier than I would have liked, but there you have it. We saw the Elizabeth Tower, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Green Park (I believe), Buckingham Palace, some guards changing shifts, Trafalgar Square, and the National Gallery. Not bad for one tour, eh?

We also saw the street with a lot of gentleman’s clubs on it. Apparently the kind with top hats and monocles and smoking pipes by fires, not the kind with naked ladies and awkwardly-hidden boners.

Alex told me that there were two Canadians on the tour, so I said hi. We bonded over not being from here. They were Vancouv…ans? Vancouvans? Vancouvians? Vancouverites!

We chatted shortly, then made our way to lunch. It’s pretty darn difficult to choose something when you’re both trying to be polite. We ended up getting Mexican. Two burritos. Probably the fattest burritos I have ever seen. Closer to square than an actual burrito shape.

I showed Alex my family and my home in Canada. She told me about all of the problems she’s having trying to buy an apartment with her girlfriend. Her girlfriend.

Her girlfriend?!

Her girl friend? Or  her girlfriend? She’s done 3 months of living in America, so I think she knows what a girlfriend is. I am 84% sure it isn’t a sassy “Oooooh, girlfriend!” kind of girlfriend. I was just joking when I said it would be easier if I was a lesbian. It just goes to show you: all stereotypes are true. Assume first, confirm later.

So after the food was eaten to a satisfactory amount we planned out next walk. It’s flattering, you know. I’m glad I stuck to the plan of going on my first London walk early. It was for exactly this, you know. In case I liked them so much I wanted to do more. Didn’t dream I’d actually make a friend!

I gave her maple syrup yesterday. As is tradition.

So after that I was very tired. But I still needed to see Animal Inside Out, so I soldiered on. Denise had told me that the Natural History Museum was at South Kensington, so I went there. Alex’s stop was one over on the same line, so she came along. Or, I guess I came along with her. Either way. She asked to see some of my work, but this journal wasn’t with me, so I promised to bring my drawings from the exhibit.

As I exited the Tube I saw a map was put up nearby. So I looked at it. Needed to know which way the museum was, after all. That’s when an Olympic volunteer swooped down upon me. He asked if I needed help, where I was going, etc. I told him “I’m here” (with a point of my umbrella) “..and I’m going here” (point).

Even though their maps are very clear he felt the need to point me the right way. Sure, okay. Then he offered me a map. I told him I have a London A-Z, but he insisted his map is better. I took the map, He was far too charming and English for me to say no. He probably knows it, too, the bastard. Charming English bastard.

Let me tell you something about the National History Museum. It is free. It is full of dinosaurs. When you put those two things together and multiply it by summer vacation what you get is a museum absolutely packed with children.

No place to sit, people everywhere, and so much noise.

I got a bit lost, but I bought my ticket and eventually got to Animal Inside Out. Oh! I found the AIO shop and, figuring the exhibit itself must be close, asked the cashierman which way it was. He said:

“Just out there that way and make a left, luvvy.”

Luvvy! My trip is complete. Luvvy, Can you believe it?

Know what really sucks? They don’t let you draw! I saw a sign that I needed permission to sketch, so I asked the guy. He told me that if I want to draw in the exhibit I need to write the exhibit owner, ask for permission, and then agree to give him all rights to all of my sketches. What the hell? It’s not like I’m making any money off of my studies. Dick.

So I enjoyed the peace and quiet while I could. Sat a few times. Saw the dead things. The whole time cursing the guy who made the exhibit. Do you know how tortuous it is to see the flayed muscle and know you can’t draw it? Do you?? With everything I am I curse whoever that dude is. I bite my thumb at him.

Then I called Denise. Meet in the gift shop. I’ll see dinos with them, sure. Meet me first, then we’ll see them. Be there in 5. Bye.

Ten minutes and nothing.

Twenty? It might have been. All I know is that I was so tired of standing and waiting and they were nowhere to be seen. Eventually I spot them IN the dinosaur exhibit. So now I need to go through the line separately and meet them in there.

Was I mad? Maybe. Do I have frighteningly vicious thoughts when I’m tired and really don’t want feel like doing more standing and waiting than is needed? Yes.

Yes, I do.

Denise wanted to see the human body exhibit after the dinos. I was so tired. So tired. Dragging feet trying not to fall over. We got out of there eventually.  

Tube home, Fell asleep.

Bus home, Didn’t sleep.

Michael’s curry when we got home. Very delicious.

Bed at 7:00. No regrets.
23rd of August, now 11:19

That’s how long that section of journal took. Gives you some idea of how much time this takes to be done. You’d better be enjoying yourself.

Is that Patrick Stewart advertising for a supermarket? I wouldn’t be surprised.

Before I go I wanted to make a point of writing where these places I see are. Keisha and the park adventure were in Tottenham. The first day alone was at the Monument, Tower Hill, and Soho/Covent Garden area. The second day was Baker Street and home (Enfield). The third day was Westminster, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, and South Kensington.

Last thing: the night I was tired and wanted an early night, Denise kept me up until 11:30 talking about Bharath family history. Don’t get me wrong, that’s all very interesting, but…11:30?


So the Police are here. They just do that? Come by to say hi?

But that was exciting. They’re gone now. I’ve never had the police over in Canada. They’re so nice, too! Their lack of guns or sunglasses really helps.


25th of August

Yesterday passed without a hitch. Sort of.

Wasn’t raining yesterday, so I went out to Greenwich. Or whatever showers occurred, were supposed to be light and pass quickly.


So, anyway, Greenwich. I took the Tube into Westminster, as is usual. Then I found the pier. It’s right next to the Tube station, so that was no problem.


GAY ENGLISH COUPLE. Everybody calm down. Okay. Okay. We just went from the worst day to the best one. Okay, everybody be cool. Be cool. Don’t come off like a crazy person. Just stay quiet, comment when you can, and maybe they’ll think you’re normal.


26th of August, 8:30am
Awesome Pictures 24th August

Elton John: 4
The English: 1

One vote from Jane goes to “don’t care for his music, but respect him as a musician”. Should I put that down as one for Elton John? I think so. He’s doing quite well, you know. I thought those numbers would be flipped.

Oh, that’s Jane over there ->

We’re on the Tube. I’m staying with Jane now. We’re just running over to pick up my things.

But let’s talk about Greenwich. Where was I? A bit rainy, I think it was.

I got the ferry from Westminster. There were big signs telling you that you could buy tickets, so that was quite all right. The ferry itself was a bit disappointing, really.   The tour was a recording and that just takes all the fun out of it. I was disappointed and it was already grey and miserable, so…

Got to Greenwich and went to the Naval College. It was there, so I went. It was very nice. Saw the Painted Hall. That, too, was nice. Saw the National Maritime Museum. They had security and I didn’t get patted down! Yay!

The museum itself was boring. So boring. So very, very, very boring. Seriously. Don’t go. It’s a nice building and all, but Maritime must be the dullest topic for a museum ever.

So I wanted to go to the Royal Observatory. It’s just by the park (well, in it), so it should have been easy, but the Olympics have made a complete mess of the park. The whole top bit is blocked off, so to go anywhere you need to go aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall the way around. All the way. It took me about an hour, maybe more.

When I got there I didn’t even look at the exhibits. It was straight to the Planetarium, watch the shows, then home.

You know the Planetarium only cost me £4? And it was very pretty. Leaned back and tried not to fall asleep. It was very hard. The chairs were so comfy. So very comfy. I was getting pretty sick of Greenwich, though. So, comfy chairs or not, I was eager to leave.

I wandered about trying to get back to the pier. I found the Greenwich Market, but had no pounds. Boo. I’ll just have to live with not having any souvenirs from there.

Found Nando’s by the pier. Ate there. Was good…got on boat. Boat was boring. Was very homesick and made videos of myself saying so. The upside was that from Tower Hill to Westminster the guide DID do a commentary! I was so happy I ran up to the upper deck, braving the cold just to hear some good old fashioned Englishness.

Then home. Rest and Chinese food. Oh! No. Not rest. Denise took me to a party for Darren (my…cousin? Somehow related). When we got there at 8pm, they hadn’t eaten yet. Waiting for us? Hope not. We were still waiting around for other people, so I think we were okay.

Trinidadians are the same everywhere. It’s very refreshing. And their parenting style never ceases to entertain. Dale (Darren’s brother) punished one of the boys by holding the kid laying on his back with the kid’s legs around Dale’s neck. Not in any way uncomfortable, I’m sure, but this kid was freaking out and crying. All the while Dale was saying “Are you going to calm down now? That’s not calm”. I’m pretty sure that same kid later got a few slaps for being a whiny sissy. It is safe to say it was totally justified.

The eldest Trini had this idea that everyone in Canada has books in the basement or garage and shouldn’t (or should? He was hard to understand) wear shoes in the house. And he said Canada sucks because everyone follows too many rules. Since when is that a bad thing??

We came home pretty late. About 10-something. Daniel was disappointed because the other children hadn’t left yet. We told him they were leaving soon, but he didn’t listen. He can be such a whiny sissy sometimes. Someone should hold him upside-down.

So we got home and went to sleep right away. And then it was…

the 25th of August

Went to Jane’s. We hung out for a bit, then her friends John and Alan (like the Rickman, but gay and working at a museum) came over for supper. John’s a drama teacher, Alan works at a museum. The National Gallery, I believe. They were fun. Really fun. I like to think I did a good job of keeping up with the conversation, contributing when I knew what we were talking about.

Here were the things I learned:
-John once interviewed a politician by essentially waltzing in and acting like he knew what he was doing. Got on the news, too.
-John likes to try and get Alan to repeat himself and it’s hilarious. 
-Northern accents are awesome and amazing and wonderful.
-Alan looks sort of like Gary Sinise. Just a bit.
-Apparently, dancing with a gay man is better than dancing with a straight one because a straight man will try to grope you if he drops you. A gay man will say “That was your fault, you stupid bitch” and let you fall.

We had pork belly, green beans, potatoes, onions, orange-chocolate cake, and a plum tart. All delicious in their own ways, Not too fond of orange flavoured chocolate, but it was still good.


Had trouble falling asleep. Got up early.

Didn’t do much yesterday. Skyped everyone. That was the 26th. We are now the 27th.
Awesome Pictures 26th August

Jane and I walked through Ruskin park (in Camberwell, where she lives) and took a trip to Sainsbury’s. Fifty Shade of Grey only £3.99! Now’s your chance, desperately lonely English ladies.

Now I have Roasted Chicken, Smoky Bacon, and Steak and Onion chips. What entirely ridiculous flavours.

Now it’s Monday and Jane and I are going on an adventure. It was so beautiful and sunny in the park and now it’s cold and grey. Possibly fifty shades of it. I haven’t counted.

OH, I had the BEST nap yesterday. Sun on my face. I woke up with a drool-soaked hand and it was delightful.


Tuesday, the 28th of August, 10:15am (Covent Garden Café)

Let me catch you up on what’s happened. Jane and I went to Hampton Court for an adventure. I think I might have mentioned that. It was a bit of a grey day, but the Court more than made up for it. We got there by train. We went bus, train, walk. It wasn’t too complicated. You just need to know where you’re going.

Can we find all this in London? If you know where to go.

Jane so likes to worry. Once I’ve got my nap and an idea of where I’m going I am absolutely fine. I think I have a pretty good idea of where I am 99% of the time. What’s actually more confusing is when you go somewhere with someone leading you. When you follow blindly you don’t pay attention, read signs, and don’t care.

Oh, sorry. I said I’d tell you about Hampton Court, but now I need to meet Alex.



At the Italian place. Has an okay pasta with lamb. Not as good as that wild boar Philip treated me to, but probably…not much cheaper, actually. Hm.

I paid £12.60. What’s that in CAD? 20 bucks? A lot for lunch, but we are in London.


29th of August, 8:54am
Awesome Pictures 27th August

Wow, this is one out-of-order mess of a journal. I’m doing it as I can, okay?

I’m meeting Alex again later. Thursday. She said she’ll e-mail me more details closer to the day. I trust her.

So let’s try and fill in the holes chronologically, okay? At the very least.

Hampton Court was large and expansive and somewhat what I imagine Renaissance fairs are like. They had people in costume, playing music, giving demonstrations on how things were done in ye olde days. They even had a jester juggling some knives and fire.

We saw the huge kitchens and the wonderfully warm fireplace. It was so nice.

…I was so cold.

They had beautifully kept gardens, and a huge grapevine (through which I may have heard some things), herbs, ducks that were trapped in a pool…the works.

They seriously had a fountain with ducks in it. One adult and about 7 ducklings. They had boards which would allow the babies to walk out of the fountain, but they were blocked off with some potted plants. Were they forcing ducklings to be swimming all day for our pleasure? Good. They were cute and I liked them.

They had a temporary exhibition on with portraits of people from around Charles the Second’s time. It was mostly women. Naked. Or being “modest”.

“Oh, look, I was laying down here with my butt to the door and you happened to come in! I am shyly allowing you to look!”

This is porn, isn’t it? Ye olde porne? Except instead of a pizza boy it’s King Charles II. And instead of a money shot it’s an illegitimate son given a title. Ah, yes, I’ve worked it out.

The paintings were better than anything I could ever hope to achieve. It makes me gnash my teeth with jealousy. My one consolation is that he’s dead. They’re all dead.

That display was supposed to be on the Beauties of Court. They all looked the same, though. And they weren’t really pretty. I think that what they meant was “White Women: the Exhibit”.

All the rooms were very big and very gaudily decorated. Or maybe not gaudy, but definitely richly. And maybe just a tad bit overly. It was the style back then, so you know what? It’s all appropriate.

We went to the kitchen for a meat pie. Or, as they call it here, pie. It was Beef and King’s Ale. It was very heavy, very salty, very meaty, and very delicious. But I was also unable to eat for the rest of the day, so I don’t think I’ll do that again.

We went home after that and lounged around. We’ve been doing a lot of that lately. We may or may not have had stir fry. We’ve done that twice as of today. Both times delicious.

I want to write more, but I’m afraid I need to go to museums today. Museums and maybe even where they shot Sherlock. Don’t judge me.


29th of August Reprise

This is the wrong book, but I need to get this down:

I hate people.

This must be some sort of evolutionary flaw, right? I thought you were supposed to need people to function. Yet here I am in Nando’s quietly hating the two girls sitting next to me. I don’t know if they are Chavs or Australians or just horrible people, but I am sick of listening to them discuss…whatever they’re discussing.

And all because she didn’t move her chair for me as I sat down.

I’m sandwiched between the wall and her chair, so her sitting at her stupid angle talking to her stupid friend forces me to basically back out my chair, sit, then scoot forward until I’m at the bar.

Dishonour. Dishonour on her whole family.

In other news, the Wellcome Collection is gorgeous. I’ve just been, and I have to say it’s just beautiful in the room with the assorted oddities. Warm wooden floors, generally full of these rich red and browns. Lit very warmly. Elegant displays. And I must have seen no fewer than 4 penises. An ivory dildo from olden times, a phallic amulet (or 3), a device to fool people into taking false urine samples…dongs galore. WellCOME Collection, indeed.

They had a temporary exhibit on about humans and enhancing themselves in various ways. This includes false limbs, fake eyes, glasses, fluoride in tapwater, and, apparently, ivory dildoes.

Dil does.

Now I’ve just given my ketchup to the girl I hate. A sign to go.


30th of August, 10:50pm

I am so tired. I’ve just packed away all of my souvenirs and I am exhausted. But I need to get a synopsis of events down before I forget:

Tuesday the 28th: Covent Garden
-morning hot chocolate at a café (£4.00)
-a walk around
-Disney store and Transport Museum
-a walk around explaining the Drury Theatre
-a visit to the Royal College of Surgeons
-finish at the Royal Courts of Justice
-go to a Twinings down the road
-back to Covent Garden for Italian
-buy earrings at a stand
-walk Alex back to the Tube station
-pay a busker painted gold £1
-outraged by London 2012 Store prices
-jog up to the top of St. Paul’s
-meet Jane at work
-visit Blackfriars Pub and have a Coke

Wednesday the 29th: Museums
-bus to Euston
-find the Wellcome Collection
-lunch at Euston Nando’s
-find North Gower and the Sherlock filming site
-buy OJ to keep forever
-get soaked as I pass an umbrella shop
-back to the Hunterian Collection to draw
-brief souvenir shopping
-meet Jane

-walk to
-wait in Tesco’s for to open
-shop, buy too much
-find bus
-40 minutes late to meet Alex
-Olympic helper
-find Alex
-ruby hassle
-eat Moroccan chicken, then zucchini
-rush off to get maple syrup
-late again
-make a convincing excuse
-have a nice chat
-get a bit lost at Bricklayer’s arms
-get home
-pack my shopping
-write this

There is so much to tell, but I am so tired. Forgive me, captive audience. I’ll just try to fill in when I can and keep doing candid entries.

Oh, I fell today!! Some dude’s went “Ohhhhhhh”. Dicks.

Good night, Journal. Maybe tomorrow I won’t be tired enough to fall over.

31st of August 8:31am
Wonderful Pictures 28th August

Okay. Here I am on the double decker bus heading to Tower Hill for a morning of complete Touristy-ness. Well, specifically, it’s Monument I’m going to. I missed the 42 to Tower Hill by seconds, so I’m just going to take this bus to Monument and then walk.

So I’m pretty damn far behind. I’ve barely gone into anything this week. I apologize. It’s been a bit of a busy week.

So Tuesday! The first day I went out on my own. Jane so likes to worry. I was completely fine walking around the city, but she made a point to show me the way I needed to walk and make sure I was fine with finding her work once I was done. I mean, it’s nice to have someone care, but…but nothing, really. Who in their right mind complains about someone caring?

So I took my walk from Mercer’s Hall (where Jane works on Ironmonger Lane), through St. Paul’s, down the Strand or Fleet Street or the Mall or whatever it is, and up to Covent Garden. It was absurdly easy. Even if it hadn’t been, I was an hour early for the Walk. And it’s in downtown London. The worst that could happen is someone’s loose money fluttering into my face. Or potentially a bit of a monocle cramp.

Flyaway top hat, maybe?

On top of that it was a very nice day. Wore my hoodie around my hips like it already went out of style, came back, and was going out of style again,

I walked up and down around the Covent Garden Tube station just trying to get a sense of where things are hidden in relation to each other. I went into the Disney Store to weep over my non-existent career. It was nice. Disney Stores fit in nicely in England because everything else there is just as expensive. Robbery doesn’t feel as bad when you’re being robbed every second of your life.

They didn’t have a Canadian flag on their “Disney Around the World” merchandise, so I left in disgust.

And then I paid £4.00 for a hot chocolate. It was nice and everything. Gave me a bit of time to write, but I spent flipping £4.00 on a drink. It isn’t even alcoholic! Maybe I paid for every inch of spoon received. It was a long spoon. Don’t you look at the photos? SHAME. If you’re going to invest your time reading this the least you could do is not half-ass it.

Do you read your mother with those lazy eyes?

So I finished my ridiculous chocodrink, then met Alex at the Tube station.

Sorry, but I need to make a side note. The cyclists here have balls ‘til next Tuesday. They cut in front of buses like nobody’s business. They might actually be propelling themselves forward through sheer ballsiness. There has to be science in there somewhere.

TUBE STATION. I was there. It was sunny. I found Alex no problem. The tour guide didn’t seem that jolly when I passed over my money, but he was actually quite good. I think he saves all of his personality and positivity for when he has to pretend to care about doing this Walk for the millionth time.

He explained some of Covent Garden, the history of the Drury Lane Theatre, a bit about the Curiosity Shop and how they’re liars, and a LOT of stuff about gory olden times. Which I loved. Alex not so much. She thought he likes to scare people for the sake of it. I didn’t find it scary at all. He just talked about people dissecting bodies, graverobbing, the pursuit of knowledge, the pursuit of dead soldiers’ teeth, etc. Hard not to talk about gore when you go to the Hunterian Museum.

…or…Collection. A room full of stuff, okay?

Specimens and such. You know what? It deserves a better description than that. When you come up on it, it looks like all these other gorgeous white stone buildings in this city. All gorgeous and wonderful and old and lovely. Or made to look old. Then you go in and there’s this nice reddish-brown carpet and stairs leading up to the collection.

The collection is in the Royal College of Surgeons, so you have these painted portraits of all those…uh…old white men. Probably important for something.

And then you get to the collection.

It’s wonderful. Just visually pleasant. I think the cases and carpets were all these dark, desaturated colours. And the glass display cases go up from the almost-ceiling down to the almost-floor.

Wonderful Pictures 31st August

Break from past-tense. I’m in the Tower of London as we speak. Sitting on a bench and contemplating some overpriced food. Some costumed people are over-acting over that way. They said they’d do a little show soon. I’m not that interested, but I don’t want to move.

Never has it felt so much like fall. It’s sunny and nice out, but bone-chillingly cold. I am saved only by my black clothes and sitting in the sun. It’s very nice in the sun, actually.

“Not long now. Not long ‘til I tell you my NEWS. Not been this excited in a while. Not in my career as a soldier.”
-an Over-actor

Got to the Tower later than I meant to. I was aiming for almost 9:00 or maybe just before, but I ended up getting here at 9:15. I think.

I saw the Crown Jewels. Sherlock lied to me. There is NOT a chair in there, Moriarty. There is no chair and there are no robes kept with the crowns. You are a liar. A horrible man. Killing people and stealing is one thing, but misrepresenting the Crown Jewels? How dare you.

Here goes this guy. Yelling. Okay. Just stop telling me to stand up and come closer. Stop. I’m writing. Oh, good, he’s gone on with it.

The Crown Jewels were very jewelly. I mean, after a room filled with gold and precious stones every other one is just…well, another one.

They’re making a line now on the soldier side. Oh man, a kid started crying while the soldier was yelling. He had to try and stay in character and make her feel better at the same time.


I have not seen a single black person. It’s white people, a few Asians, and me. I don’t think any of the “ethnic people” here have any money.

And then me, spending £125 at the Sherlock Holmes Museum.

Okay, that presentation was actually really cute. I’m writing, though. They had you pick a side to support, then do little games/activities. I can do it in 45 minutes if I’m still here.

So after the Crown Jewels (which were actually very nicely laid out with the videos and displays and mini history lessons) I went for the Yeoman Warder tour. Which was really, really fun. My favourite things this whole vacation have been the guided tours. And this guy was particularly good. I think it was @BillyBeefeater for his twitter (Post-vacation Edit: Confirmed this is totally his account! He is the best. I don’t care if you’ve never been, but follow him for my sake).

He explained that the Beefeaters are all retired from military service (which I definitely didn’t know), that they live IN the Tower, and that he is totally single and lives in a castle. It’s tempting, guide man. Really tempting.

Oh, he totally hates kids. Or he just likes to pick on them when he does tours. Either way, he’s my kind of guy.

So I went to the Fusiliers Museum (fairly dull, but with interesting stories) and sat and watched what I could of that demonstration before they moved on. Now I’m writing. And it’s a good environment to do it in. I mean, I climbed around in the outer wall and stuff with my parents, so I’m not that keen to do that right now. I should probably do ONE tower at least. That’s the sort of thing people would bother you about. “You went to the Tower of London and didn’t SEE the towers?” YES. It’s all stone palace-y things. I see them from outside. As beautiful as these palaces are, it’s not a completely different experience each time.

So let’s get back to Tuesday and Covent Garden. We finished the tour at the Royal Courts of Justice. Boring. So boring. The most exciting part was when they didn’t pat me down at the security. It was just an empty building, really. There was no point in going.

Well, I guess it’s nice on the outside.

Twinings was just across. It’s very old and nice inside. They had these jars, right? And you could smell them! Full of loose tea, of course, but…you can smell the tea! It was like a cocaine shop to a…Robert Downey Jr, I guess? Except when I left Twinings I didn’t turn my career around and make millions. Maybe that kicks in when I grow a goatee?

So I led Alex back to Covent Garden. Weird how I always end up being the one who knows where they’re going now. It really isn’t that hard to keep track of where you came from and which way things generally are.

Andre said London is harder to manoeuver than Toronto, but he’s wrong. As per usual. Or was that Andre? If it wasn’t and you’re reading this, I’m sorry. Otherwise, Andre is always wrong and Jamila is awesome and doesn’t easily get lost.

Once we were at the Italian place I called the WB studio to get them to swap my tour time for another one. I thought if I could get it for later that Alex could use it, but I wasn’t sure what I could get. I was on hold for 20 minutes or more. Playing the HP theme, railing off these Potterfacts I didn’t care about, and generally being really inefficient.

I finally got through and they switched my tickets for Monday. Much better than I thought it would go. You know, because I can actually use my own ticket now. Two will still waste, but at least I can see it.

We went back to the Covent Garden market afterwards and I bought earrings for too much money. Okay, £20. But they are silver and handmade and lovely. It’s worth it, I think.

I parted ways with Alex after that. We agreed to meet on Thursday to go to the Spitalfields market. A nice place rain or shine. Or so they claim.

I walked back the way I had gone that morning to get to St. Paul’s. I went in, saving £1 by showing my student card and climbed to the top.  The guy who took my ticket warned me that they were closing  soon and that I might want to come back later. I was too embarrassed/ashamed to tell him that the only reason I came was to go to the top, take some pictures, then leave. Crypt? Nah, man. Nah.

So I did just that. The main dome wasn’t as staggeringly beautiful as I remember it being 3 years ago (when I felt the need to sit as soon as I saw it), but it is still a beautiful church.

I went very quickly up the stairs.

I don’t know if it’s because it was a long time ago, or because I’ve been exercising or what, but going up took me almost no time. Showing off to people who don’t even know me. So I climbed quickly, then stayed at the top for as long as I could. I was trying to get a picture of myself that I liked. I must have taken at least 20. Still not happy with what I got, but whatever. It’s hard to get over looking like a lonely idiot taking pictures of yourself at these tourist attractions. I still get embarrassed.

Then I met Jane at work.

Oh, dammit, I’ve left out the bit I was going to do on the Royal College of Surgeons. This is the worst journal, honestly. A squirrel keeps better track of its buried nuts than I do of what I’ve written.

So there’s this big two-level room in the RCS in the Hunterian Collection.


Okay, no. Medical collection. Two levels. The cases can be seen through, so you get this sort of an aquarium effect. Path around the outside, rectangle of cases, space to sit in the middle. So when you’re on the second floor there is no middle and you can look down all these exhibits going down to the first floor. Understand? No? Good.

Here’s a diagram. Don’t get all excited. This is the only one I’m doing.

Okay? Okay.

THEN St. Paul’s, then Jane. Oh—no. At Covent Garden I saw a busker. He painted himself gold and looked to be sitting on air. He didn’t move his right leg, so I assume he had a metal stand running up his pant leg. Trouser. Both. I gave him £1 just because he was fun. He did this thing where he shook my hand, then patted my hand. He stood very still while he patted my head. I think he was waiting for someone to take my picture. He did not know I’m alone. So we both stood very still while some strangers got nice pictures of me. Then the gold man high-fived me, then I went to St, Paul’s, then Jane.

The guy’s doing the show again! This time he has…40 people? I took a video. Lots. Before he had, like, 8. Good on him.

Okay. Then Jane and I went to the Blackfriars Pub. It was pretty inside. I took pictures. And now after much horrible and choppy storytelling, I am done Tuesday.

I’m also hungry. Or I was. Not anymore. It passed. I think I’ll follow this demonstration casually and see if I can catch the ending.


I did. And now I’ve spent £8.90 on fish and chips and I’m tired. Tired and thirsty. I can’t be paying £2.50 for a small bottle of OJ. Ridiculous.


Wonderful Pictures 29th August

So tired. But I must soldier on. I must. It’s 8:45pm and I’m so tired.

I’ll try not to jump to what I did today. Let’s try and keep things nice and orderly, alright? Yeah. Good time to start.

…at the end of my vacation.

WELL. Let’s see. Wednesday I thought it would be good to go back to the Hunterian Colelction/RCS and do some drawings of the specimens. Especially after being completely denied at the Natural History Museum I was really itching to get some drawing done.

Nobody seems to understand why drawing medical specimens is important. Hello? Anatomy? Structure? Form? These are important elements, people. Is it that people think that you only draw the outside, so the inside doesn’t matter? Try building a copy of a house without looking inside it or seeing any of the blueprints. Okay? Okay.

Jane suggested if I’m interested in that sort of thing I should go to the Wellcome Collection up by Euston. So in the morning I took the bus to Euston. Simple as that, really.

Get off at Euston, walked where I knew I needed to walk, and there it was. I was there close to opening, I remember. So not many people were inside.

I already talked about the Wellcome Collection, so I’ll skip that. I’ll just mention that it really is nice and you should go if you have any sort of interest in unique galleries at all. Even as someone who like well laid-out places. Just a nice environment. Free, elegant, and not packed with screaming kids (a big bonus).

So while I was in there I couldn’t stop thinking about Nando’s. This is becoming a problem. I’ve eaten there three times now. That seems like a lot.

The waiter assumed I was there with two girls who were some sort of Indian or something. I was not. I never am.

I was seated and given a loyalty card! I am in the Nando’s club now. Nobody had even offered it to me, but the waitercashier dude just said “Do you have one? No? Now you do.”

Thank you, waiter. Thank you.

I’ll skip to when I left Nando’s now.

I meant to head off to the Soane’s Museum, but I was a bit tired. So I thought I’d do this one thing, then walk to the RCS, then see how I felt afterwards.

Oh? What’s the one thing, you say? The one thing? WELL. After going to the Wellcome Collection I made my way to North Gower. But what does North Gower have that’s so interesting? It’s ONLY the exterior used in BBC Sherlock with the red “Speedy’s” awning ouside the door!! ONLY THAT!

I was so excited, but I had to act like it was no big deal for the sake of everyone else at the café. I didn’t even know they’d actually be open. I thought it was something else when they weren’t filming. But, no, it’s a café. And I bought an orange juice for £1.50. And I am never throwing it out. I am keeping this damn bottle forever.

They had this awful drawing of the BBC Sherlock cast. It was like a bad trace. I was so glad it wasn’t signed or I would have been pissed off. There is so much better original artwork out there.

…some by me.

Not the best, but definitely better than that tripe. Please don’t tell me it was drawn by Martin Freeman’s dying child or something. Or a group effort by cancer-ridden children.

I took a video of me near it. I definitely need to go back and get a proper picture, though. I just get so embarrassed when there are people around and there’s me taking a picture of myself like an attention-seeking tween. They’ll never see me again, but for some reason the opinion of these strangers matters.

So I was skipping along back to the RCS and I see an umbrella shop! And it starts raining really heavily. As I pass it, too. Taking it as a sign, I went in. The cheapest one was £15. I saw another at £169. No thanks, I’d rather stay wet.

So I got wet. Thought of my go-to pick-up line (“You might as well use my umbrella, I’m already wet”), but realized I’d probably need the umbrella for it to work. I mean, in theory. That line would never actually work on anyone.

I got to the RCS okay. Drew. Well, I used the toilet I so desperately needed and then drew.

The workers at the museum discussed the Bible and theism. Some gross teens came by and made a fuss over how the specimens of babies are sad. An English child told her Mom that I was a “well good drawer”. Thanks, guvna.

One of the museum workers asked to see what I’d drawn. He made a comment on the specimen I’d drawn, but said nothing about the art. Have I been spoiled into thinking everyone who sees my art must compliment it? But it’s weird, right? He asked to see it! Even if he didn’t like it he could have said “That’s interesting” and been on his merry way.

I’m done. I drew, I liked what I did, then I left.

I stopped in a store to gawk at the expensive souvenirs, and then I went to meet Jane. I only did two (and a half?) things, but I was so tired that I needed to call it a day.

We bussed home and stopped by the grocery to buy some food for stir-fry. I also bought some Walkers chips (Lays of England). Smoky Bacon, Roasted Chicken, Steak and Onion. What kind of flavours are those? You can make flavours that aren’t just…if dinner were chips. But it’s a fun thing to let people taste.

And then…

I did stuff on Thursday.

Wonderful Pictures 30th August

I really wanted to go to this store called They have this huge selection of Olympics stuff at good prices. Ranging from cheap to reasonably priced. Which is better than the eye-gougingly expensive stuff that is London shopping.

So I found one near Jane’s house and walked there. It took about half an hour to get to, but it was a very fine walk. Jane was a bit upset that I’d gone that way. She says it’s not safe. Yet here I am unstabbed.

I got there at 9:00 and the place looked closed. Like ‘shutdown forever and now serves as a garage’ kind of closed. They only had a sign saying it was open Sundays 10:00am to 6:00pm, so…I don’t know? And I was supposed to be meeting Alex at 11:00, so I couldn’t wait around for long.

Then I did what any sensible person would do: waited for an hour in Tesco.

It was not a complete waste. I found Fruitella for my Mom and bought myself a Cup Noodle. I ate it later. It was disgusting. Absolutely horrible. Never buy curried noodles.

So I went back to the store. Spent a LOT of money and too much time. The last time I was there they only had these horrid little hot pink monstrosities with the ugly 2012 logo on them, but this time they had TONS. Not only London 2012, but a few general tourism shirts, too. Nice ones. So I tried them on and was forty minutes late to meet Alex. FORTY.

The buses were so slow that as soon as we crossed the Thames I got off the bus and ran to the Liverpool St. Tube station (where we were supposed to meet). I found my way easily enough, but it was 55 minutes of thinking “I’m late, I’m late, I’m late”. And I had a bit of trouble finding that first bus, so…a bit not good.

So there I was at this Tube station walking around and trying to find her. When I couldn’t I was relieved. If it had been 40 minutes and she was still there I would have felt horrible. And then…

“Are you Jamila?”
“Your friend was here looking for you, but she told me to tell you that she went on to Spitalfields Market without you. You can meet her there.”

Thank you, random Olympic volunteer! And good on Alex not waiting around for a butt like me.

Oh, and Spitalfields Market? NOT A SMALL PLACE. I was ready to accept that I wouldn’t find her again. Do you have any idea how many Asian men look just like a girl with short hair from the back? A lot.

She was near some stands in an open area when I finally found her. It was a relief. She told me she left because she knows I’m always on time. HA.

But, yeah. She was contemplating spending £100 on this ruby bracelet and didn’t know what to do. It was a lot of hemming and ahhhing, visiting the guy’s stand twice, consulting Google, consulting Jane…

The decision as that, if she really loved it, she would just get it. And she really did seem to love it, so I think it was a good call.

I ate very average Moroccan chicken and then some average zucchini sticks. Both more expensive than they should have been.

That’s when I realized I needed to meet Trunk in 1.5 hours. And that I forgot the maple syrup to give to them. It was at home. That means I needed to go from Liverpool Street to Camberwell to Bermondsey. In one and a half hours. In London traffic. Then there was an hour and a half of panic and checking my map to see where we were.

I got there eventually and even managed to pass off my lateness as being lost/having trouble finding the building. Then I actually got lost and couldn’t find the building, so that was a bit ironic.

Had a nice talk in the studio. They said work comes and goes and to visit again if I’m in London. I didn’t expect more than that, so I was happy. Got a bit lost getting home, but made it eventually.

Then placed my souvenirs and things away, It all fits in the space, so I’ve done pretty well keeping a good amount of stuff. Or I packed lightly enough when I came over.

So what happened after I bought expensive fish (remember, we’re all caught up to the present now)? I tried going through the towery parts of the Tower. Hated it. I don’t care about armour. Or armouries. I was bored senseless and wasted time I could have been outside. It was such a gorgeous day today. I learned after going through the White Tower that I did NOT want to spend my time in there. Or in any of the dungeon areas.

What I did do is walk on the outer wall and get a fabulous view of the Thames. Took pictures of myself by the Tower, went into the souvenir shops, and then I had the best thought:

Are all the Yeoman Warder tours identical?

They start every half hour, so I had plenty of chances to find out.

Going through a cycle of starting at the entrance, following for 2 stops, then repeating, I saw another three tours. Or at least half an hour of each. It was, without a doubt, the best part of my time there.

The tours are amazing and each presentation is different! Some jokes were similar, or topics of the stories, but some elements were unique to the tours! Every story was told in a different style even if they were the same, and there was definitely a lot of variation between the tours.

I wish I’d done those all day. Well worth it on a sunny day. Oh, it warmed up, too. Walking around in the sun all day was perfect. I ended up staying there until 4. That’s seven fours of standing and walking. Well worth every second.

One of the Warders even winked at me. I am now accepted by the English!

On the way back to Jane’s work I even found a souvenir store that stocks Ahmad Tea! Then we went home and got Indian takeaway. And watched quiz shows on TV. It was a really nice day and a really nice night. Only way it could have been better is if I hadn’t eaten too much.

And if this stupid thing would write itself. Do you have any idea what time it is? I am on autopilot.

Oh, and it’s 11:15. No wonder I’m exhausted when I go out.

This journal is driving me mad.

Good night.


1st of September

Remember, remember the first of September,
When I gave Tate Modern a shot.
It does stand to reason
(No matter the season)
That modern art’s a load of rot.

I don’t like modern art. Today I went to a museum of modern art just to be sure. I still hate it. Walking into the gallery is like walking into a solid cloud of pretention.

It’s a message about society! Don’t you get it? NO. I DON’T.

That wasn’t how I started the day, though. This morning I went to the Old Operating Theatre. They open at 10:30, so I made sure to be there at 10:30. They were…


I stood around a while, texted Jane to ask if they were closing or if anything was on their website (nope), and finally worked up the courage to ask this well-dressed guy standing by the door if he knew anything. He said they were having trouble with the keys.

You were an employee this whole time and you didn’t tell me?? He must have seen me standing around for 15 minutes! I even talked to another family and asked if they were waiting, too! A few feet away from him! Seriously, dude?

Anyway, they were going to open at 12:30, so I went to Tate Modern. Aaaaaaaaaaaand I hate modern art. The best part of the museum was the abundance of toilet paper in the washrooms. Even there they messed up, though. When I tried to leave the aforementioned bathroom I couldn’t pick what door to leave through! One said fire exit and one has a complex lock! How did I get in, then?? And nobody was leaving the bathroom either! I guess modern artists get so used to spewing shit that they need a lot of time to stop. Is that clever? I don’t know. Sure. You make a joke, then. Your words are “shit”, “modern art”, and “excessive toilet time”. You come up with something better and get back to me.

I got out eventually.

Of the bathroom AND the Tate. Although I see how you could get the two confused, with them both being so full of shit.

Ah HA. There. I got there eventually.

Then I saw the Globe. And by “saw” I mean walked around in the gift shop. Didn’t even find anything good. Then I made my way back to the Old Operating Theatre. On the way back I smelled something akin to diarrhea. In fact, I smelled so many diarrhea-esque things today I started to think it was me. I don’t think it is, though.

I think?

The OOT was wonderful. Very small and cramped stairs to get in, a small stuff-packed gift shop, then the museum space. It’s in the attic of a church, so it’s wonderfully wooden and warm. And they have all of these herbs out that makes the place smell of herbs and spices.

They had this “dragon head’ and “vampire mummy” and “faerie remains”. Very convincing fake dead things and a healthy assortment of knives, saws, anaesthetics, pills, and rods you shove up men’s urethras to check for stones. I know someone is into that somewhere.

My only complaint is that it was too wordy. Maybe because it was so small, but there were these plaques everywhere. And not well condensed, either. Too much talking to say “people thought this would help and then it didn’t”.

So for every one of these herbs and spices that are everywhere you get “This is _______. It is composed of _______ and _______. The _______ would be crushed/shaved/boiled/smoked to heal your _______.”. It’s like a Mad Lib back there.

“This is butt. It is composed of poop and butts”. You know the rest. You were a child once.

The presentation at 2:00 was good, if a bit lecture-y. They keep warning me at places I go that people have fainted. Is this the 1940s?

On the bus a woman was asking where Southwark is. Here’s how it was going:
Her: Sowth Wark?
Him: Suttherk?

I stepped in and said Southwark IS Suttherk. But seriously, guy? You don’t understand someone saying South Wark? You’re the one with the lazy pronunciation.

I bought some milk before I came home. The cashier said “911, yeah?” and I had a moment of confusion at the brown cashier asking me if 911 was yeah. The milk was 89 pence. I paid with a £10 note.

9.11, yeah.


I just sorted Jane’s bowl of change. her bowl full of change. Full of change. More change than Obama. Do you know how much she had in there?


That is 150 dollars Canadian. How do you get that much change? I am amazed.

2nd of September, 12:00pm

Late start today, I woke up at 9:30 and didn’t even care. The bus is way more crowded than I’d expect on a Sunday afternoon. So crowded that I’m at the back of the bus like a bad kid. Or a black person.

Do you know how many English people smoke? All of them. All. Okay, maybe not all, but a lot. A metric butt-ton. Or maybe it’s just that the smokers aren’t as controlled as they are in Canada. Like, I’ll see signs in museums saying “No Smoking”, but never any outside. No wonder there are so many trees! To balance it! Ah ha. I’ve worked it out.

So today I’m going to the National Gallery. Going to be classy and look at art and go “Hmmmmm”. I might even provide the occasional ambient cough.

I should make crepes for Jane. I like crepes. Everyone likes crepes. Hey, you know what? Here crepes are called pancakes. And pancakes are called American pancakes. What kind of crazy backwards nation is this? What a complete mess.

Last night I saw my first ever Doctor Who. I think I’ve evolved into the ultimate nerd. If I get into this (and I already feel it coming on like a bad cold) I will be past the point of no return. What’s to stop me watching Firefly and Stargate and Battlestar Galactica after this? What, I ask you??

I don’t like the back of the bus. I am a good kid. I like being at the front of the bus where I can see stuff and die first in a crash and all that.

This is why you shouldn’t leave me with a journal. When I don’t have anything to catch up on it’s just a wave of mental diarrhea.

Okay. I just got a single eraser shaving on the guy next to me. Did he notice? I can see it. Maybe it will fall off. I dare not brush it off lest he take it as an invitation for a little back of the bus nookie.  

Elephant and a stupid station. I want you to know what. And I hate Peckham. Camberwell is right next to Peckham. Did you know that? One wrong bus and I’m trapped in London’s anus. You never get chances to say anus these days. Anus. Moist. Moist anus. Just thinking that to myself made me laugh out loud. I’m really quite lucky people think I’m funny instead of an idiot.

These Englishmen don’t even know how attractive they are. Even the ugly ones. All of them.

This guy’s head is a low-poly sphere. I want to touch it.

I see no less than 5 balding men.

Two Black guys.

One Asian.


Then a load of white people.

Oh, here’s the Thames. Ooooh, aaaaaaah.

I realized that I never told you about the day I saw Billy Elliot, did I? I think I did nothing all morning. This was back on the 23rd, so my memory’s a bit rusty.

We got all dressed up. I was planning on going in a t-shirt, but then they both got all dressed up, so I did, too.

Then we went to Denise’s Mom’s. She was very nice and reminded me of my own grandma. Mostly because she was old and Trinidadian. They both (Dense and her Mom) fussed over me because I hadn’t had dinner. I told them I was a little hungry, but not to worry about me. They did anyway.

We went for McDonald’s and before we went in I said “Weh’ goin’ tuh pohp in too MAK-donohs” in my very best English accent. Daniel turned to me and said “You’re talking posh now!!”. Yes. I am posh.



In the National Gallery now. I paid £2.50 for an audio guide and fear it may have been a waste. I’d rather read the plaques anyway. Two good things came out of it, though:
1) They make an okay earplug replacement.
2) They gave me the last coin I needed to complete the coat of arms set. So, actually, I’d gladly pay £2.50 just to get the coin. The extra commentary is icing on the cake.

I’ve been walking around with my bag open again, Oops.

ARGH, okay. The whole point of getting this out was to write down artists I like, but didn’t know before. So far I have Canaletto and Guardi.



I am the worst museum-goer. I’m enjoying myself and everything, but I keep making these captions in my head.

“Oh, shit, it’s Jesus”

“Hey, man. What’s up?”
“Nothing much, Jesus. Just lions.”



It is, in fact, possible to have too many paintings of the Virgin Mary. They’re probably good, but it’s just like “MORE blue! Yay…”

Getting really sick of white Jesus.

Ah, something interesting. Two paintings by Jean-Francois Detroy. The Capture of the Golden Fleece and Jason Swearing Eternal Affection to Medea. Both are “sketches”, but I absolutely love them. Nobody else seems to.



I have decided to marry someone named Cockburn. It is the best name ever.


Mom! I’m in front of Renoir’s The Skiff! I think it’s one of your favourites. I wish you were here to see it with me.


Everybody here says “Van Goff”. It’s killing me.


“That’s Jesus.”


3:10pm : the painting in which Sebastian goes “Ta daaaaaaaaaahh” and the other saints are really embarrassed. “Do you need to do that every time you get shot full of arrows?” Don’t let them get you down, Sebastian. You look fabulous and have rockin’ abs.

WHOA, it’s ginger Jesus.


…did Zeus rape a boy named Ganymede? It says here this painting is called the Rape of Ganymede. No, Zeus, no!



Sebastian is now my favourite saint. Every painting he’s in he’s full of arrows and just posing like “I got this”. What a badass.




HEY. He killed Sebastian! Dick.



So I’m done with that now. It was nice. You learn more about what you like every time? Apparently I can’t stand 12th-15th century paintings. I get it, it’s Jesus. Can I go home now?

I really loved those ones by Detroy, though. So wonderful. I stood in front of those more than all the Titians, Reubens, and Turners combined.

The van Goghs were definitely the most popular. Along with the Renoirs and Seurats. Van Gogh is my favourite. Yes, I know he’s everyone’s favourite. So sue me.

Positively ran through the National Portrait Gallery. Just “Yep, these are faces” and whoosh, out of there.

I really had to pee for most of that visit. I think I can attribute 99% of the problems I have on vacation with needing to pee. I go when I see a toilet, honest! I think I’m becoming an old person.

Hey, if you don’t want to read about pee and moist anus, you came to the wrong place. You should have given up ages ago. I’m surprised you’re still reading. Stop, please. For your own sake.

Oh, Billy Elliot! That went well. McDonald’s is not as good as in Canada. Daniel bought himself a boxing glove at the concession stand. The seats were great.

Daniel told his Mom that he wasn’t supposed to be there every time there was swearing. There is a LOT of swearing in Billy Elliot, so he was turning shocked every other minute. He was good, though. No squirming or whining.

And the musical was good. The Billy couldn’t really sing, but whatever. The best one was Tony. I almost cried when Billy’s Dad tries to cross the picket line.

Nobody laughed at “You think you’re smart, you Cockney shite? You wanna be suspicious? When you were on the picket line we went and focked yer’ missus! ALL OF US AT ONCE!” I was the only one cracking up in a crowded venue.

I’m too hungry to write. I wish I had the rest of my fish and chips from the Tower of London. I wish food worked that way.


3rd of September, 10:19am

I can’t believe my vacation’s almost over. I feel like I’ve been here for such a long time, but I still don’t want to leave. Everything has been exactly as I imagined it. Would have been nice to have had a bit more sun, but then I’d have spent my entre vacation in a drug-like haze of joy. I still smile like an idiot when in the presence of an English man.

I think this trip has made me a racist. Every time I hear a non-English person speak I’m like “What are you doing here? You are not contributing to the country’s need for English accents. Get out.” Which would mean I need to get out, actually. I will. Very soon, in fact. I’m no hypocrite.

Just a racist, apparently.

This is the last time I’ll see London in the day. I’m so glad it’s sunny out or I’d be wallowing in sadness.

I took a video from the bus. I’ll probably take another in the Harry Potter set, if I can.

I see the Gherkin very often, but I haven’t actually gone. I think that’s one of those things where you just go and look then leave. No great loss.

I really want a small comb. Really really. My eyebrows are running rampant and there’s nothing I can do.




I have successfully infiltrated the fangirl base! The servers are surly and speak poorly. But I don’t even care. I ordered a hamburger that might turn out to be made of anuses and scrotums, but I’d still eat it with a smile.

Hot damn, this looks delicious.

I think this is the happiest I’ll ever be.



That burger was delicious. I mean, it tasted like a cheap burger. I expected nothing incredible, so who cares? The fries are crisp and delicious. Oh, and I didn’t have to ask for ketchup, which is always good.

“I’ll just have a beef burger”
“There is no beef. What do you want?”
“Oh, um…the Deluxe, then?”
-Conversation with the Waitress.

What is in these burgers?

What is this song? The one that’s like “I throw my hands up in the air sometimes, saying aaaaaaaaaaa-o! You gotta leeeeeeeeeet go!” or whatever. I foresee myself getting that song and listening to it non-stop. It’s almost all I’ve heard while I’ve been here.

Why can’t I stay and be an accent-voyeur forever? I want to. Screw school, I want to be a homeless. I want to be a homeless or be married to a wealthy Englishman. It doesn’t matter so long as I don’t need to pay ridiculous London rent.

They’re playing “Truly, Madly, Deeply” now. If I stay any longer I’ll have a Speedy’s playlist.

Oh, I love French fries. Ohhhhhhmmmmmm…French fries.

Now it’s that song with all the country mumbling and then “and I need you nooowww”. Hohhnarana na choanna do ranowadda need you nowwww.

WHY DOES EVERYONE LOOK SO SAD HERE? You are in the capital of fangirl feelings. Ask anyone.

I hope she brings me my bill eventually. I don’t want to be one of those people who soils themselves in joy, eats, then leaves without paying. The ol’ dump, dine, and dash.

And take pictures of myself smiling,
You know who’s probably been here?

RUPERT GRAVES. That man is, like, half koala. He also has 5 kids and is good at football.

Okay, I need to pay now. And get going. As much as I love it here…


12:50 pm

I have done it! I am on the fast train to Watford Junction. I am ready for Harry Potter and quite possibly having the best day of my trip. It’s so…confusing. I think some part of me thinks I live here. I do not. I come from the land of people obeying traffic signs.

A lady on the street gave me water this morning. I guess 20+ degrees is enough to make people worry about dehydration here.


It’s 1:00 now and I took a video of outside. It’s sunny. So sunny.

“How far are we from Buckingham Palace?”
-woman on the bus

Pretty damn far!



I’m at the outdoor bit of the Harry Potter tour. It’s a very nice break indeed. They sell Butterbeer at a stand here. It tastes sort of like a cream soda coke float mixture. Is it so sweet and delicious and also very sweet.

It is SO sweet. The aftertaste burns like alcohol. Mother of butts, is it possible for something to be this sweet?

I’m only this far and I’m struggling. I took a picture, I’m pathetic.

I’m pretty close to licking the ground to get this sweet taste out of my mouth. Eugh, I just drank the rest of it in one go. This is so similar to drinking that it’s scary. I could fill my mouth with sugar and it would be less sweet than this.

I would probably really love this if they made a version more fix and less wanting to rip my tongue out.

I think I have diabetes now.

That was difficult.

The set tour is good, you know. I feel like I’m wasting my time taking pictures. It’s the sort of thing you understand the scale/detail of when you’re actually there seeing it for yourself.

The Potions classroom has been my favourite set so far. No Alan Rickman bias. Some bias. Okay, all bias.

And I can say the Great Hall was not as impressive as I thought. I imagined the tables being very wide, but they’re actually a normal table width. This makes it big, but not as mind-bogglingly enormous as you might think.

I should move on through this last bit. Buy my things, then see if I can squeeze in a run up the Monument. Probably not.



Probably not. They were pretty good, it took me 3 hours from going in the doors to waiting for the shuttle bus. They told us it would take 3 hours.

Hey! Remember that tiny wasp that stung me in Andre’s attic? Or ant or whatever it was? One just landed on me! Seriously! Can’t get away even when I skip the continent. Eugh.

Okay, so three hours. That included a nice rest with a Butterbeer, a trip to the bathroom, and my shopping. So a comfy 3 hours.

Now all I need to do is get on the shuttle bus, catch the train, get the bus, catch the Jane, get the Nando’s, catch Game of Thrones, get some packing done, catch my parents on Skype, get some sleep.

Catch some dreams.

There’s the bus.


It’s a good thing I pay attention. I only noticed the bus because it made a “fsssh” noise. Do fish make noise?

Those girls are so nasally. They’re like if Andy Dick was a girl. An annoying girl.

I am going to regret every word of this when I have to type t up. It’s about half an inch thick now. Taking up about half the book. I want this bus to move so I can stop listening to these girls forever.



There’s a rainbow. I am being seen off on my last full day by an English rainbow.


4th of September, 7:30am

Did you know the Police use the Tube? I didn’t. There’s some over there. Look. All dressed in that highlighter yellow as they are.

I’ve said goodbye to Jane now. Want to cry. Won’t. Not yet, anyway. I should save it for if someone asks for my window seat again. Just start crying and say “Why would you ask that??”. Serves them right, the entitled bastards.

“You can’t beat the Tube” sounds like a euphemism for masturbation. Don’t beat the Tube on the Tube.



It’s very grey out now. I’m sort of bitterly happy. If I can’t have a nice day, nobody can.




Got here easily enough. You’ll be very pleased to hear that I didn’t get patted down! I was even wearing earrings and nothing happened! Amazing. I choose to take this as a sign that England and I have some sort of affinity for each other.

The sky seems to be clearing up, too. Awesome. I’d like to get a nice view from my window seat. Somebody better not ask for my seat again. I’ll be pissed off. Hopefully my rage will quench my Canadianess and I’ll tell them who they can swap with.

It’s my ass.

Swap it…to their face.


You know what’s worse? When you get to your seat and somebody’s in it. That happened to me when I went to Japan with Cameron. We let her stay there. Dick. I should count how many sentences in here consist of “dick” or “dicks”. I’m doing to guess…seven. A lot, but not an outrageous amount.

I think I’ll go to the bathroom while I can.



What a strange process. You go bag drop>security>mall>gate>let you in>show your passport again>sit>plane. I have never queued so much in my life. How very English. And my carry-on is full of crisps and tea. How very, very English.

I made sure to learn “God Save the Queen” before I came here. I was never even asked to sing it. I have, though. To myself very quietly. And the Canadian anthem. One after another, usually.

They seem to be very proud of this female Beefeater. I think (on top of the racism) I have also become a sexist. I thought the whole point of being a Beefeater was the beard. It is to me. A chin full of beard and a twinkle in your eye.

And a penis.

But you don’t see that. Well, I hope not.

I want to wear my deerstalker. It calms me down.


10:55 am

Not only do I have a window, I have TWO windows! And the guy next to me is already beside his family! Yeaaaaaahhh. Yeah. Awesome to the max. I am going to look at so many clouds! Yeah. All of them.

I’m excited, sorry. We’ll take off soon and then I’ll mellow out.


11:45 am

The sky is made of rainbows! I saw a rainbow across a lake, a rainbow as we flew through a cloud…rainbows! Rainbows!

Planes are science fiction. How does this even work? Have you ever seen a plane take off? Ridiculous. I just saw three take off just now and it looks like a kid playing with a toy. Just vrooooommmm…pew! In the air.



I just spent an hour looking out the window. I. LOVE. WINDOWS. That hour was pretty exciting. I saw England from above, the east coast of Ireland, the west coast of Ireland…all of it.

I have reason to believe Elton John wrote Made in England whilst flying to Canada. I started the album after take-off, heard “Made in England” over England, then the instant we approached the Irish coast and the cloud cleared “Belfast” started playing! Absolutely perfect, Elton.

Oh, and the tally! The final result!

Elton John: 6
The English: 1

John and Alan both liked him, so…Elton John made a killing in this survey. Only one guy didn’t like him. Everyone else respects him, at least. The only problem they have is with him kissing up to the Royal family. Or being overplayed. I have absolutely no problem with either.


6:55pm or 1:55pm

I haven’t talked very much to the guy next to me, but the fact that he didn’t ask for my seat makes us friends.

The window has been wonderful. I think I spent no less than 3 hours looking out of it. I love windows.

We’re descending now. Into a fog of grey. Apparently Toronto is rainy. This suits my mood. Ever since about halfway through this flight I’ve been in this horrible slump. I can’t think about my goodbye to Jane without tearing up. Must have been even fonder of her than I thought, I feel like she’s died or something. In reality she’s probably at home watching TV. Still, her house felt like a home. I’m sad to leave it.

Especially since I’m not going home. Straight to school and my basement room. No family, no dog, no nothin’. I absolutely loves that country. Who knows when I’ll be back? Heading from the best vacation of my life to my hardest year of school. It’s like jumping from the sauna into the frigid pool.

But let’s try and end this on a happy note, okay? I did have the time of my life. The weather was nice. I’ll get to see my friends’ faces when I give them their gifts.

And I am fit as a beast. Have I mentioned that? No? All that walking, man. Not bad. Not bad at all. The problem will be keeping it up. Not likely.

Other than that…uh…am I done? Is this the end? There must be something I missed. I watched game of Thrones with Jane. It’s just a big soap opera. It’s a soap with extra breasts. Ye Olde Daytyme Dramae. And a lot of money. Boobs and production value.

And on our last night we waited over 40 minutes for Nando’s. They didn’t even give us hats or anything as an apology. Dicks.

And now we’re landing. Brb.


5th of September

I can safely say this vacation is over. I got my luggage fine, my Dad came to get me and now I’m in class. Nothing bad happened at all. The worst thing was leaving sunny London for rainy Toronto. Isn’t that backwards?

Anyway, I guess I will take this chance to say thank you for bothering to read this far. It’s been quite a journey, and it was fun to write this for you. Please stop by the gift shop on your way out and get some Jamila-themed souvenirs. See you next time!

With love,

P.S. Dick total: 6


  1. No, ANDRE is always right and you, Aunty Tanty, are always wrong! I admit to laughing out loud at "Oh shit, it's Jesus", though!