Small observations of things that have struck me as weird during our UK stay to this point:
— There is no alarm clock in our hotel room.
— There are no drinking fountains in public spaces.
— The travel-on-the-left thing would be easier if it were consistently applied. About one stairway in three asks people to go up the right side instead, and for some reason the escalator etiquette is to stand on the right, walk on the left. (That last is sort of a moot point at Worldcon, given the tendency of many fans to just plop themselves squarely in the middle of the steps and block everything up…)
— “Bacon” to the English apparently means “thick slices of undercooked ham.”
— “Pie” to the English apparently means “bowl of stew with a croissant on top.” At least based on the pubs I’ve eaten in. Granted, it’s been very tasty stew-and-pastry, but it’s an odd use of “pie”…
— The reputation of American beer is even worse than I realized, because whenever I order an ale in a bar, I get complimented for my bravery.
— I keep getting tripped up by the price of things, because food and drink prices look perfectly reasonable, if they were in dollars. Of course, they’re actually in pounds, and thus 70% higher than they look. For about 70% as much food as you would get in the US.
Nothing shockingly original here, I’m sure. These probably would’ve gone on Twitter, but I haven’t bothered setting it up on my phone here, so I’ll dump them here, instead.
Anyway, having a very good time. A brief whine on Twitter about the lack of character in the Docklands area where the con is being held produced a recommendation for the Grapes in Limehouse, a short train ride away. This was exactly what I wanted– tiny pub, good beers, and cheerful and friendly mockery from the woman running the bar. Sir Ian McKellan is one of the co-owners, but the only indicator of this is a Gandalf staff on the wall behind the bar. We also got lunch the other day at the Victoria two blocks from Hyde Park; given the name and the location, I was expecting it to be wall to wall tourists, but everybody else in there seemed to be locals, including a couple of guys doing some sort of business deal. I concur with the linked reviews that both of these are worth a visit.
I’ve been posting photos on Google+– only a selection of the many I’ve taken, because the hotel wi-fi is slooooow– but if you want a sense of what we’ve been up to: