On my first trip to England to visit the London office of TheFrameworks, some things struck me …
England has a lot of coins. A nearly invasive number of coins. One pence, two pence, five pence, ten pence, twenty pence, fifty pence, one pound, two pound. I understand why they’re called pounds — they’re heavy. Sure, the U.S. has fifty cent and dollar coins, but nobody actually carries them.
The mass transit system in London is fantastic. Between the tube, the buses and the trains, it’s easy to get around. Especially impressive were the maps at every stop, helped making a connection between systems. On the other hand, fares seem expensive. Maybe they need to pay for all of those maps.
People drive on the left, but they walk on the right. I think I may have been mistaken for a drunkard as I wove my way down the sidewalk, never knowing which side to use, until I realized this trend.
Roads change names frequently. My five-minute walk down a single road took me down Tanner St., Druid St., Crucifix Ln., and St Thomas St. (an odd name to write). Someone once asked me where to find Jamaica Road. He was standing on it, but it was called Tooley Street in that spot.
Receipts are not as commonly given as in the States. Several times I realized I’d paid for something and walked away without having been handed a receipt with my change. On the other hand, the handheld credit card devices brought to a restaurant table are quite nice. Nobody disappears with your credit card when paying for a meal. That being said, I was unable to use my credit card in a Tube ticket machine because it didn’t have a special computer chip common to English cards.
While shopping, I discovered the Radley London brand. Sure, the handbag I bought is functional, nicely tailored and attractive, but let’s be honest — the metal puppy hanging from the handle is what really hooked me. Considering I work for a branding company, you’d think I wouldn’t get giddy over a logo, but I couldn’t help myself. At least I didn’t buy the wallet. Yet.