Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
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Online Since 1999
||Hop On - Hop Off...
sister is organized and has things like itineraries, maps, and
guidebooks to make the most of a travel vacation like the one we
took to London. She wanted to see museums, universities, and palaces.
Hop On –
“What do you want to see?” she asked me.
“Er… I hear they have great pubs and fish ‘n’ chips.”
Not that I didn’t think palaces were a great idea too, of course.
The British are very big on tradition and preservation. Of
course, they have a lot of history to preserve. As one tour guide put
it, “If you Americans had paid your taxes, all of this history could be
yours.” Tour guides had an excellent sense of dry humor and could do well in
comedy clubs, we concluded.
Even though we spoke the same language, I found the clipped
accent difficult and often only understood about half of what
was said. I believe they had a hard time understanding “southern” as well as I often had to repeat myself, very
annoying when trying to get through security at the various
Speaking of security, they seem to have an extraordinary amount
of it. Metal detectors were common, as were guards and cameras. I
was actually frisked at Parliament for the first time in my
life. Naturally, it was a lady guard and not one of those
cute Bobbies they have there.
However, I did feel safe there in the underground and on the
streets. The biggest hazard is traffic. The streets run at odd angles and
cross in a haphazard manner. Sometimes to get across the street, you
have to cross several streets. Intersections had traffic lights and you
had better not try to cross at the wrong time, as an unseen double-decker bus
could come whizzing around a corner at any moment.
Navigating traffic was further confused by the fact that the
British drive on the left side of the street. Busy intersections in the
tourist areas were marked with large letters on the pavement saying “look
left” or “look right”. I understand this is for the
benefit of clueless foreign tourists who look the wrong way and have the annoying tendency to get run
Since we didn’t have any sleep the previous night and were
staggering around with jet lag, even before the pub, my
sister’s itinerary said we should not do a lot the first day
and should just take a double-decker tour bus and let them do
the driving. There were numerous buses, all painted red
and looking similar, which made finding the right one a bit of a
challenge, but after asking several different times, we managed
to find one.
My hair was blown straight in a matter of minutes and I had bad
hair for the rest of the trip regardless of all attempts to fix
it. The guided tour was called a “Hop on - Hop off” tour, and you could get on and
off at various stops. We got off of the bus to see St. Paul’s Cathedral, one
of the many fine churches. We thought the admission was too expensive,
and the only good picture-taking was from the middle of the street where the
chance of being run down in traffic was about 95%.
We then found a pub, not hard to do since there was one on every
corner, and I ordered my first English fish ‘n’ chips,
served with a side of green peas. The fish and beer were good,
the plumbing bad and flushing a challenge.
So, back to our hot room overlooking the street, no air
conditioning, and our first night of horns, sirens, and cursing on the street,
compliments of budget travel. But we were so tired at this point that we
could have slept through an air raid.
Copyright 2005 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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