It is Wednesday and I hope your week is going well, but I just though a lighter post would fit in nicely, so here are some quotes from The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson that I reviewed on Saturday.
It was at this point that I realized my brain was dripping on to the pages, so I put the magazine down. – I sometimes feel like this when I watch tv, that’s why I don’t have one.
I like being in a country where when cows attack word of it gets around. That’s what I mean when I say Britain is cosy. It is a nice quality for a country to have.
I used to read the Metro when travelling underground until I realized that staring into space provided about the same level of reward without making my fingers inky. – free newspapers got me thinking, I was reading them for a while and then I discovered there’s a reason why they’re free… a book is always better anyway, who cares about news!
London isn’t a place at all. It’s a million little places.
There has never been a less pleasurable, more Soviet-style environment in which to pass half an hour than in British post office queue. – I think I’ve only been to post office in London once, but I totally agree, it reminded me of post-socialist countries a lot. There were 6 people before me in the queue, their success rate in picking up parcels was 30%, I got lucky
Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a little oik of a kid about thirteen years old in a Chelsea shirt sitting at a bus stop eating a bag of crisps. When I came back a few minutes later, the boy was gone and the crisp packet was on the ground. There was a bit three feet away. It occurred to me, not for the first time, that if Britain is ever to sort itself out, it is going to require a lot of euthanasia.
Isn’t it amazing how many people in the world hate you? Most of them you will never even meet, and yet they really don’t like you at all. All the people who write software at Microsoft hate you, and so do most of the people that answer phones at Expedia. The people at TripAdvisor would hate you, too, if they weren’t so fucking stupid. Almost all frontline hotel employees detest you, as do airline employees without exception. All the people who have ever worked for British Telecom, including some who died before you were born, hate you; BT employs vast teams of support staff in India just to hate you.
But nobody, absolutely nobody, hates you as much as the people who make English bus shelters. – not sure about bus shelters, I prefer to walk than take a bus if possible, but I am sure every customer service person was hired to hate me and not being able to solve my problem or direct me to someone that could.
In countless small ways the world around us grows gradually shittier.
…steam trains are only a small part of the Diversions No one Else Would Want. Britain also has Water Tower Appreciation Society, a Society for Clay Pipe Research, a Pillbox Study Group, a Ghost Sign Society (which finds faded advertisements painted on the sides of the building) and a Roundabout Appreciation Society. – I loved this part. At some point I thought he actually just came up with random names for imaginary societies, but they do exist, which is why I included links to their websites, in case you’re interested. Do you know any others? Are you a member of a society or a club (other than book club)?
I am fascinated by HS2. The whole idea is so mad that you have to, as it were, step back and walk all the way around it to take it in. – some ideas are like that.
The first time I came to Birmingham, I had never seen a city that was this ugly on purpose. – Bryson then proceeds to write that Birmingham got better. I have only been there once, just for a day, three years ago, if this was better then I’m afraid to think what it was before, because Birmingham is still the top of my list of ugliest cities I saw. Maybe I should give it another chance, but I think I need some more time to forget what I saw.
I learned that it was possible to conquer the world and still bring home just one salad dressing.
Butlin had invented the prisoner-of-war camp as holiday, and, this being Britain, people loved it.
I was also rather taken with a hairdresser’s called Curl Up and Dye. But that pretty well summarizes the high spots of Grimsby.
I am no expert, but it does seem on the face of it that human beings are not quite grown up enough yet to be entrusted with nuclear fuels.
My review of The Road to Little Dribbling
Photo by Violetta Kaszubowska