Friday, 12 August 2011
First Impressions - Rickmansworth, London
No problems for me so far in riot-torn UK. This quiet corner of north west London is as sleepy and refined as ever. My brother rents a room in a two-bedroomed flat, four nights a week and then returns to his spacious abode south of Birmingham on Friday afternoons. Typical of most British homes, there is beige-coloured carpet throughout, looking as if it is brand new - this is because anyone entering the house is required to remove their shoes, even the young policeman who once had reason to visit my cousin's pad to take a statement, willingly removed his size 12s at the door. It reminded me of an article in our local paper this week about a young ballet dancer who has just returned to her native Cape Town after 10 years in Japan. The Japanese remove their shoes as well, even in restaurants, she reported. In contrast to SA though, where crime and unemployment are astronomical, no-one in Japan would dream of swopping their high-street cheapies for your Jimmy Choos. Two other things: my brother pointed out a stretch of motorway leading to Heathrow Airport which sometimes has a stationary back-up of 8 miles - beyond belief! And I have learned of a new profession - my brother's attractive young landlady is a credit controller by day (which she hates) and by night writes bespoke speeches which she delivers at funerals for those who do not want a religious ceremony and do not wish to speak themselves. She is currently studying to qualify as a person who can conduct civil weddings. Life is full of surprises - and new careers.