After traveling back home to the UK and people remarking on my lack of tanned skin (the British tend to be obsessed with getting a tan as we have such dire and unpredictable weather) and unchanged accent (what did they expect as I've only been gone for ten months), I thought I'd use today's blog entry to inject a bit of Britishness into my L.A. based adventures to prove I'm still the same old Jason from Britain.
On Day Seven of our vacation I took the train into London with my best friend for a good catch up session over some shopping (it was also new comic book day - they come out a day later in the UK, Thursday rather than a Wednesday).
From Waterloo station we headed to London's South Bank for some prime photo opportunities in front of the London Eye and Houses of Parliament.
It felt strange to be back on the banks of the River Thames as a tourist, but I'm glad to say the British weather was as predictable as ever. Welcome back to cold, foggy London I thought.
To really make my day, the dreary weather turned into a light drizzle of rain later on (now why do I like living in sunny California so much I ask myself).
We walked over Embankment Bridge (the side which allows you to take great shots of the Millennium Wheel and the Houses of Parliament) and headed into the always bustling Covent Garden for a tasty lunch with some more of our friends at the restaurant Cote on Tavistock Street.
Whilst in the UK I tried my best to sample as many of my favourite foods whilst in the UK - fish & chips, bangers & mash, sticky toffee pudding & custard and even an Indian curry, but due to the snow and a cancelled get together with friends I failed to enjoy one of my favourite pizza's at Pizza Express. Funnily enough it's called an 'American Hot' - a nice thin pizza with pepperoni and hot green chilli peppers, yummy.
During my stay I made sure to try and find as many everyday British symbols on the streets of London. Here I am auditioning to play the next Doctor Who (another cult British sci-fi icon) in not his blue TARDIS police box, but a traditional red British telephone box (there's not that many of them left anymore, but I think the tourists love them).
Somehow I don't think Matt Smith who has just been cast as the eleventh Doctor has anything to worry about and I won't have the BBC calling anytime soon. Maybe I'm just missing my own version of K-9, our intrepid Cooper.
Then as well as the red phone boxes, there's also the red double-decker buses. Even though this is not one of the traditional routemaster double-deckers you still know you're in London when you see them on the roads, along with all the black cabs (and you know you're in London with them when they refuse to take you somewhere).
Keeping with the red theme, who could forget the trusty red post box?
They come in lots of different shapes and sizes and have changed a bit over the years, but they're another classic British design icon.
Funnily enough my dad is actually a postman.
But back to food (do you notice a pattern here?). I also think that a curry or an 'Indian' is quite a British tradition. Sadly it usually has negative connotations of larger louts going for a curry after a night 'on the lash' (getting drunk) and being rude to the serving staff. Here I am on our Crowborough curry night enjoying a poppadum with a nice lager shandy (I'm such a lightweight and not your typical beer, bitter or lager drinker so it's very rare to see me with a pint in my hand - I'm more your cocktail or glass of bubbly kind of guy!)
When we lived in London we usually indulged in an Indian takeaway every once in a while from a fab local Chiswick restaurant (which has sadly closed whilst we've been away) or even a 'takeaway bag' from our local Sainsbury's supermarket which used to do a fantastic chicken tikka masala, pilau rice, onion bhaji and nann bread combo (uncharacteristically often accompanied with a bottle of champagne) - ahh, fond memories.
The next day after our excursion into London we had planned to head off to Wales to see my family, but once again the weather foiled us. This time we had to abandon our journey because the two Severn Bridges into my homeland Wales (over the River Severn which separates England and Wales) had been closed due to falling sheets of ice a metre square falling from the pylons onto the cars below.
Not only did this mean we'd have one less day with my family, but it also meant we'd miss out on seeing other friends who lived in Wiltshire, Bristol and Cardiff. But the one good thing that came of it was that we could spend another night with our friends in Crowborough and enjoy a great meal at a traditional country pub, The Hatch Inn, on edge of Ashdown Forest.
To help us remember our British roots when we came back to West Hollywood, another group of our friends bought us this 'Box of Britishness' - I'm not sure we'll ever wear the boxer shorts, but the sentiment was much appreciated.
Now I'm off to enjoy another British tradition, a nice cup of tea (hot, with milk and sugar, or sweetener in my case - not iced tea thank you very much), in my new Union Jack mug. And just to make me feel even more at home in L.A. it's raining cats and dogs today.
Toodle pip for now...