Written somewhere around May 2001
For those of you who have been wondering about my disappearance off the face of the earth for the last couple of months, allow me to explain. No, I did not crawl into a cave to hibernate and live off my body fat (although anyone who has seen the size of my arse recently might suggest that this wouldn't be a bad idea), I actually went through several weeks of a financial crisis so severe that it involved me staying home every night and existing on nothing but jam sandwiches. But I'm now solvent again, which makes me as happy as a masturbating monkey, so I thought I'd do something a little different in this letter. After my last effort, someone with a stunning lack of imagination accused me of not liking London, so this one is officially titled "10 Things I Love About London".
- I love the fact that I don't need a name here. I have been addressed as dear, darling, ducky, love, lovey, mate, sweetheart, petal, poppet, and many more. You might not think that I would enjoy this, but I'm actually quite charmed by it. Hey, I'll take terms of endearment wherever I can get 'em.
- I love the fact that tax is hidden in the price of products. If something is priced at £10, then £10 is what you pay for it, as opposed to having tax added on at the cash register. Taxation is a bit like your parents having sex -- you know it goes on, but you really don't want to think about it.
- I love the way that small things become absolutely essential. I used to think a hot water bottle was a pleasant thing to have tucked next to my feet from time to time. Since I moved to London, my hot water bottle has become the thing I love most in the world - I'm eventually going to have it bronzed and endow a scholarship in its name.
- I love the fact that almost every office job gives you four weeks holiday a year to start with. How good is that??? I need to stop temping and get a real job just so that I can go on vacation for a month.
- I love the fact that the English pickle everything: pickled eggs, pickled walnuts, pickled peaches, pickled cabbage, pickled limes (does citrus really need to be pickled? I ask you), and I swear I once saw pickled newt. It seems like the only things they don't pickle are cucumbers. Okay, okay, they do sweet pickles and some tiny horrible things called gherkins, but try to find a decent dill pickle anywhere in the land? Good luck. Grail, schmail - if King Arthur had really wanted to send his knights off on an impossible quest, he would have forgotten about some overrated mystical goblet and sent them off to find a nice jar of kosher dills instead. Hey, it might not be the stuff of legends, but they really improve a sandwich...