There are Witches and Wizards in London

Yes – I’m sure of this. I’ve seen them. They look just like they are described in “Harry Potter”. They were seriously odd looking clothing, and seem to be on missions that don’t make a lot of sense to the rest of us.

Most of them seem to live around the Alexander Palace area – where my daughter Adrienne has one of her markets. One actually came over to taste our sausages. Her felt hat – a bright orange – was pulled down over her grey hair, and her dress was in odd layers – some higher and some parts longer – not in the cool way of hip dressers – but in a “I think this works” but in fact it doesn’t – kind of way.

And the tiny alleys like that of Diagon Alley are here as well. Easy for everyone to see – and not even as wide as a tiny car – they snake thru sections of the city as if the city planners just couldn’t figure out how to tell the owners that having a ‘road’ that a car can’t drive down is just not a great idea.

Staying in London for over two weeks – and spending every day walking for almost 2 hours – in addition to the 7 to 8 hours spend in the market stalls – give me a very unique perspective on the entire wizarding thing. You don’t spot them often in downtown, and they aren’t big on riding the buses or the tube – it’s just walking around that they will suddenly surprise you by appearing quickly – and just as quickly disappearing.

And they aren’t keen on saying hi when you greet them in the morning. For that matter – no one says hi when I smile and greet them. Is it my foreign accent? Is it that I noticed them walking early in the morning? I’m not sure – but it’s gotten to be a bit of a challenge to me. I greet everyone I pass while walking – in hopes of getting at least one smile in return.

Strange thought – maybe they think I’m the Witch?

Another curiously British observation: it is illegal to put a light switch INSIDE a bathroom. How anyone decided that was safer is beyond me, but my hosts assure me that it is the case. But imagine how awkward this turns out to be for the ignorant foreigner – like me. I’ve walked into countless bathrooms – shut the door – and been left standing in the dark. I have to open the door – and look around the outside wall to spot the light switch. And no one seems to have thought about how easy it would be to watch someone go into the toilet, wait a few seconds – then shut off the light! I’m sure Agatha Christie could make a murder mystery out of that.

Another perculiarly British thing – they seem to have confused up and down. And push and pull. Doors at home open out for easy exit during a fire. But outer door here open in. How dangerous is that? Imagine getting trapped in a burning building with some foreigner in front trying despartely to push open the pull front door.

As for up and down – To me – one flips a light ON by pushing the switch down. But not here – pushing UP is on – pushing DOWN is off.

And the Brits have gone soft metric. In Canada – we are hard metric – all measurements are metric – distance, height, etc. The only non-metric measures are weight – we still use pounds not kg for human weight – although all food sold by weight is general shown in both $/kg and $/pound measures. But in Britian things are very confused. They measure distance in miles, height in meters. So 10 miles away is a bridge with a height restriction of 5 meters. How odd. Volume is not metric – so gallons and pints. And weight is in stone they tell me – although my daughter’s bahroom scale is in kg. Food is uniformly sold by the 100g – so that’s easy enough – but I do find myself often questioning to distances from place to place. Apparently this is confusing even to the Brits – but I’m thinking any visitor would quickly be scratching their heads in bemusement.

Ok – just one more observation and I’m done for today. Doors in modern buildings have buttons you must find and push in order to open the door. And these buttons are not located near the doors. They are located 4 to 5 feet away – and while they are obvious once you find them – I’ve spent quite a bit of time searching for them when first faced with having to exit a driveway, a doorway – or a gate. On the other hand – at least in the flat my kids own – there is a web cam hooked up to the key pad at the front door. So if you buz their flat – they can see exactly who is standing at the pad – and who is behind them. The camera view is amazingly clear – and good for at least 20 feet out. No sneaking in on them.

Signing off to figure out if she’s gained or lost weight… (silly scale)

The Soup Lady

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