Month: September 2016

How fast you walk depends upon where you are

This weird thought came to me a couple of Sundays ago while watching New Victoria on ITV. Victoria, and a chap (could have been Lord Melbourne) were strolling through a park. I commented at the time that people in Victorian times seemed to walk very slowly. They were walking really slowly.

Fast forward a week and I am now in Munich, walking through the English Gardens. We had been walking at a good pace through the city of Munich, until we entered the English Gardens, and then we slowed down. This was an unconscious change (until I noticed it, that is). I questioned this. What had made us slow down? Then I remembered that scene in New Victoria. It wasn’t the era that made people walk slow, or the blood type (blue), but the environment. We had slowed down to a stroll, because we’d entered a well-manicured and relaxing garden.

Victorian people walking slowly through a garden

Victorian people walking slowly through a garden

I then thought back to my last trip to New York. New York is a city where strolling is not only frowned upon, it is trampled upon. The citizens of New York speed walk. They almost run. They have this amazing ability to run while walking. They speed past each other, never colliding, with their phones to their ears and coffee in their hands. Even preoccupied in two other activities (talking and drinking coffee), New Yorkers walk faster than me.

Shinjuku - where nobody ever crashes into another person

Shinjuku – where nobody ever crashes into another person

Two days later I was back in Shrewsbury and cycling with my children to school and I came across another slow-walking environment – Going To School. Parents and their children walk incredibly slowly to school. Even when my children and I walk to school, we don’t generally walk slowly (but that might have more to do timing than purpose).

So then I decided to create a list of places where people walk fast and people walk slowly, starting with the fastest (New York) to the slowest (Victorian park):

  • New York
  • Tokyo
  • London
  • Any airport
  • Any train station
  • Anywhere except the above, in the rain (although not much rain in an airport)
  • UK town centre
  • European city that is not London or Scandinavia
  • Scandinavia
  • Route to a primary school
  • Route to an infant school
  • Route to a secondary school (unless late)
  • Route to a nursery
  • Park in the 21st century
  • Park in the 19th century

That’s it. I’m quite pleased with this particular Weird Thought. But wouldn’t it be fun to speed walk through the park and stroll through London during rush hour? Tempting.





When a throw away comment leads to a house full of penguins

This weird thought came after talking to a friend of mine this week, whom I won’t name. I will change some details of the story. This is quite a sensitive topic.

This friend, let’s call her, Geraldine, told me about how she once owned an object from a certain well-known establishment that serves food and drink, and a relative of hers saw this object, assumed my friend, Geraldine, frequented that establishment, and has since given her further objects and vouchers from there. She still has a load of them. She hardly ever goes there. She doesn’t like what they sell, not enough to go there a lot anyway. Let’s say it is McDonalds for the sake of argument. It isn’t, by the way. We laughed about how many McDonalds vouchers she has.

So after hearing this story I thought about all the coffee-table art reference books I have and the penguins another friend of mine accumulated under a mistaken belief by a family member that she liked them. What I want to know is, have we all, at one time or other, mentioned in passing to a family member or friend that we ‘quite like china pigs in dresses’ only to find that on all subsequent birthdays and Christmasses, all we get from said family member or friend is china pigs in cute dresses? Or perhaps we once declared, ‘I need more scarves in my life’ and now we have a wardrobe full of them, unworn?

Aren't they lovely?

Aren’t they lovely?

My husband, for a while, received lots of cook books because when he cooks a meal, he properly cooks, and friends and family noticed this. HeĀ  doesn’t just cook an old favourite meal when we entertain; he cooks up something new and elaborate. We now have a lot of cookbooks. He likes cookbooks. But he doesn’t cook very often so the amount of cookbooks we own does not correlate well with the use we get out of them. Of course, they are useful for when he does cook, but mostly they gather dust.

I’m infamous for my preference for Terry’s chocolate orange. As a consequence every Christmas I get tonnes of them, and bags of segments, and all sorts of chocolate orange related gifts. They do get eaten and used, eventually. I’m not ungrateful at all. I’m amused (and feeling fat all through January).

My kitchen cupboard on Boxing Day

My kitchen cupboard on Boxing Day

Perhaps I need to tell people that I like coffee. If so, I might start getting vouchers for Starbucks or Costa, or even better, my favourite cafe in the whole world at the moment: Ginger & Co.

In fact, this phenomena could be turned into a tactic. If I were to tell one friend I like coffee, another I wear Dr Marten boots, a third that I love book vouchers, a fourth that I’m partial to a bit of red wine now and then, I could be on to a winner.

Come on friends, pay attention, read this blog. I love a nice Merlot and there are no other boots. I could also do with some red velvet shoes. I don’t know why, I just want some.

Red Velvet Shoes - yes please.

Red Velvet Shoes – yes please.