Tag Archives: london life

Free soap samples and my first visit to Asda in Sketchyville, UK

4 Aug

There’s this store on New Bond St that gives out little samples of bar soap when you walk by. Except they don’t tell you it’s soap when they hand it to you, they simply say, “Don’t eat it!” It’s obvious many people have tried to eat it — it looks exactly like Turkish delight or a Jolly Rancher, and when people hand out samples on the street, typically they’re edible. But it seems like the whole misunderstanding could be avoided if they just said, “Would you like to try a sample of our soap?” instead of “Try this, don’t eat it!” I don’t get it.

asda old kent road london

I went to Asda for the first time today. Asda is owned by Walmart, and as it turns out, it’s exactly like an American Walmart, sketchy people and all. I was only 3 miles from central London, but it felt like I was in a different world. There was even a drive-thru McDonald’s next door! I was completely overwhelmed and amazed by the selection — there wasn’t just one variety, scent and flavor of everything like at my usual Tesco Metro. I am always lamenting about how there aren’t enough cheap grocery stores in central London and I can’t always find everything I need at Tesco, yet here I was, surrounded by every food (or household) item I could ever want, and I had no idea what to buy. I also knew everything I got I’d have to schlep home on the bus in my giant DSW tote (the best free bag ever).

So naturally I went for tea. I had to try the new Tetley’s Indulgence line — Cookies and Cream and Gingerbread teas? Yes, please! (Even though my tea cupboard is overflowing and I promised myself I would not buy any more tea until my collection fit in one cupboard. But pretty soon we’ll be remodeling the kitchen and getting bigger cupboards, so perhaps that won’t be a problem anymore :-P) I also bought stevia tablets to go with the tea, and Japanese BBQ sauce because it was on clearance. And instant protein porridge packs to take on our upcoming holiday, even though they probably sell instant oatmeal in Italy. I had planned to walk the whole way home, but I was getting sketchy vibes from the neighborhood and didn’t want to risk my phone (or new legendary Pokemon!) to some moped thief, so I hopped back on the bus, only to get off when I spotted a Lidl. Lidl and Aldi are always located in Dodgy McDodgyville, but the bargains are too good to pass up. They had giant cherries less than half the price of Tesco. And Belgian chocolate! And skyr! And sesame oil, coconut oil spray, corn, nuts… Needless to say, my shoulder is killing me. And I wasn’t even done! I had one more stop on my discount shop bus journey — Iceland. Where, of course, today’s special was cherries — 400g for 50p! That’s practically free. (The normal price is 400g for £3. Tesco sells 200g for £2.) People were going nuts adding them to their baskets. I only bought one pack since I already bought cherries at Lidl, but looking back on it I probably should have bought more and froze them for smoothies. Then again adding just 400g more to my tote bag may have caused my shoulder (or the bag itself) to give out.

What do windows and corgis have in common?

11 Mar

I did not get the best night’s sleep last night because my window kept farting. Yes, you read that correctly: my bedroom window is flatulent. That’s the only way I can think to describe it.

I first heard the noise a few weeks ago. It was during the day while our upstairs neighbors are renovating (“Noisy gits!”) and I attributed it to whatever they’re doing that requires constant drilling and pounding (which really puts a damper on my “Walking Dead” watching… and my work). I didn’t think twice about it. But then I started hearing it in the evening and on weekends. Our building is very strict on when you’re allowed to drill — I know this because we had an appointment to have Sky satellite TV installed on a weekend, and the engineer came all the way out then had to reschedule because the porter told him he couldn’t drill on a weekend. (Side note: I like that they call cable guys “engineers” here. What do we call them in the US? “Technician?” “Cable guy?” Here the porter also referred to him as the “Sky chap,” but “chap” is another one of those words you can’t say unless you have an English accent, like “cheers.”)

Anyway, so since it couldn’t be drilling on a weekend, the only other logical explanation is window fart. It became a joke between Stephen and me. We’d hear it every so often, I would exclaim “Window fart!” a la Peter Griffin’s “mustache fart,” and move on. It was more comical than a nuisance. Until last night, when the window must have had a bean burrito for dinner. The noise was constant, every few minutes. Every time I would get to sleep, I would be quickly awoken by my window expelling gas.

You probably think I’m joking about all this. Obviously a window cannot fart. But we have poorly designed double pane windows which open like sliding doors. Where the two meet there is a gap of a few millimeters, which doesn’t seem like much, but it’s enough for a significant draft to come through and make the bedroom a good 10 degrees colder than the rest of the flat. In an attempt to fix this engineering error, I ran a piece of tape the length of the gap. It seemed to help a bit. But at 7 a.m. I wondered if this was what was causing the noise — it was incredibly windy outside and perhaps some air was trapped in the tape and being forcefully expelled. So I tore the tape down and went back to bed. An hour or two later I woke up to even louder window farts and a cold bedroom. It was not my morning. I tried to hit snooze, but I couldn’t do it. I had to know what was causing the ruckus. So I got a stool and waited for the window to pass gas again. It sounded like it was coming from the top. It was then I realized that Stephen had done some taping of his own at the top of the window. (Seriously, who designed these windows?!) I removed a small strip of it covering the gap. Then I waited. And waited. Then I made breakfast and went on with my day. As far as I know removing that bit of tape was the solution to my problem — my Beano, if you will — but I will know for sure tonight.

And since this post lacks photos, enjoy this corgi fart gif (in keeping with the theme):

corgi fart gif