A rare event occurred this morning: the sun decided to briefly show its face! I’ve become accustomed to waking up to the pitter-patter of rain each morning, so I was flabbergasted to see a few beams of sunshine. Word on the street is that the weather has been decidedly dastardly this winter season. Lovely. For reference, it’s about 30 degrees Fahrenheit, but feels like 20 degrees due to the darn wind chill. Alas. I’ve been bundling up like a true Londoner.
Dreary weather provides some benefits from time to time such as the opportunity to go ice skating. To be honest, I don’t particularly like ice skating, but I partook because it was at Somerset House, a stupendous Neoclassical building that was originally the site of a Tudor palace!
Frigid weather engenders another side-effect: the necessity of resorting to other forms of transportation besides walking. Hence, I endeavored to take the Tube, London’s Underground, which opened in 1863, making it the world’s oldest rapid transit system and one of its largest. For my first tube ride, I hit the jackpot and ended up embarking at rush hour. Brilliant, Janelle. I frantically swam through a torrent of coated commuters in an attempt to find the Jubilee line (one of 11 different lines, mind you). Thankfully, I made it out alive.
The tube brought me to M&M World London, the world’s largest and most grandiose M&M’s store! I spent a solid hour running around the massive store by myself, and in a miraculous feat of self-control, I only purchased one bag of M&Ms (dark chocolate peanut butter, if you’re wondering). As I left the store, the clerk chirped the best valediction I’ve heard in quite some time: “thank you and have a colorful day!” I shall now bombard you with photographs of the M&M store because it amused me immensely.
On the topic of things that amuse me, shall we discuss shop names in London? Shop names are either painfully obvious (such as a restaurant entitled “EAT”; why, what great powers of observation you have there, oh mighty shop namer) or completely unintuitive (such as a store entitled “Boots” that does not sell any boots, but rather functions as a pharmacy). Driving on the wrong side of the road is only the beginning of confusion in the UK.
Lastly, I visited the Greenwich Royal Observatory, the site of the Prime Meridian! The Greenwich Prime Meridian was established by astronomer Sir George Airy in 1851, and in 1884, the International Meridian Conference selected the Greenwich Prime Meridian as the official dividing line between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres of the world.
No matter which hemisphere or coast (East or West) in which you dwell, I wish you well.