Fun with Signage: Hardware

 Maybe I didn’t notice this hardware store on Leather Lane earlier because this little street in Islington is also home to a street market (aptly named the Leather Lane Market) during the day.

I can’t help but think its location just makes the shop name even funnier.


M&S Percy Pig Cupcakes

I really haven’t devoted enough effort to my love of the M&S Percy Pig here. I’ve always expected that there would be plenty of time for me to craft an ode worthy of the best gummy candy on this island.

I may have been mistaken. You’ll have to just imagine the magnitude of my affection based on my ownership of both a Percy Pig mug and Egg Cup.

Not expecting any developments in this area, this pink box on the coffee table a few nights ago came as a surprise.

Percy Pig Cupcakes?

Let me get this straight…
Marks and Spencer, which I already know can make a fine, fine cake, is now selling a vanilla cupcake with pink frosting, adorned with my favorite M&S candy?

The idea initially leaves me feeling a bit conflicted.
How can I be expected to beat my train home when there are cupcakes such as these to be eaten?
How can I do anything but take the box and vanish into my lair like an predator having claimed victory over its prey?

Two days later, I’ve had 3 of the four cupcakes. I’ll eat the last one for breakfast tomorrow. They’re every bit as good as I hoped.

If I ever leave England, M&S food is among the things I’ll really miss.

Blinded by Mess


The English are pretty keen on health and safety. I have to go through two sets of fire doors to get to my desk at work. The trains kindly remind you to mind the gap. Workmen, cyclists, police officers, and anyone else who might go unseen wears a florescent yellow vest. The park is full of signs that threaten of the blinding power of poo.

According to these signs in Bishop’s Park, up to seven hundred people are blinded after coming into contact with dog mess each year.

My question is HOW? Seven hundred people blinded by dog feces is a lot!

These signs appeared with such frequency, I couldn’t help but wonder if the pedestrian paths had been the home to a regional dung-slinging competition.
Were so many dog owners SO inconsiderate that that the path had turned into a fecal slip and slide, where innocent victims would slip and fall face first, only to emerge from the park blinded by poo?
Did the Coucils of Fulham and Hammersmith join forces to create a blinding laser that fries out the retinas of careless, local dog owners?

Stumped, I asked Google.

As it happens, this seems to be just another example of how Health & Safety laws have gotten a bit out of hand.

According to the BBC, the threat of blindness is due to a form of toxocariasis. This article from June 2008 says that, “there are, on average, twelve cases per year.”

Whatever the reason, those signs are clearly working. The path was completely clean, despite there being numerous dogs out.

If you have any doubts about the existence of the signs, you can see the faint remains of the sunbleached logo of the Boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham near the nail at the bottom. I’m mostly impressed that the sign contains what I believe are lines representing wafting odor. My husband claims that they represent steam. Either way, it represents a fine attention to detail.

Franc v. London Underground: The Challenge Summarized

The Enemy!

Moaning about mass transport is one of the many skills I have developed over the past year to help me fit in. Problem is, it’s often justified.

To be fair, the Underground (aka: the tube) is the oldest underground railway. It does a remarkable job, consdering that.

One morning last fall, while complaining about the train, it occurred to me:
My apartment is about 10k from my office. As the train ride from Putney to Farringdon takes 50 minutes and I have a 10 minute walk to the train, then I can get to work faster by running than taking the trains.

I have proudly shared this observation with others throughout the winter, claiming that soon, the showdown would occur.

It is now time to start planning:
1. I have paid for my underground ticket online, so my journeys will be logged from hereon. This will allow me to determine an average journey time for training purposes.
2. Route research has begin. I recognize that I can’t literally outrun the train along its path of travel. Not at first, anyway!
My intention here is only to prove that I can run between points A & B faster than the train will take me. I am confident that I can do this as a matter of time and distance; however, navigating traffic lights and pedestrians will require me to do this a bit faster.
3. I need to actually get off of the couch and run. An injury to my IT band teamed with months of cold and darkness means that I’m not as fit as I was when I first made these claims. It also means that I’m not yet ready to train.

Training will begin as soon as my physiotherapist says I can run again. That’s probably not going to be for at least another month, but I’ll post about it when I can.

Once I can again comfortably run a 10k (at any speed), a date will be set.

The big day:
During the evening rush hour, I will kiss my husband goodbye and put him on the train at Farringdon. Then, I will run home.

Success criteria:
He will arrive home to find me in our apartment drinking a beer. Thus, if I am not inside of the apartment, beer in hand when he arrives, I have failed the challenge.

In the event of failure, a new date will be set.