Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hello England! (1970)

The year was about 1970 and Warren, the boys and I had moved to England. I was very excited about this because I had read about England for many years and I had always been intrigued by the history. For years I read about King Henry and his wives and I was finally going to see where it all happened.

When we deplaned that morning at Heathrow Airport, I was so excited when I saw the "Bobbies." London was definitely a different world. Warren had arranged for us to stay on Park Row in a company apartment. That street was, and probably still is, very famous. We were across the street from Hyde Park.

We finally found a "flat" on Prince Albert Road. This was on a corner just across the street from Primrose Hill and the zoo. The flat was a two-bedroom. There was a tiny kitchen and a fairly good sized living room. I remember that the washer and dryer was in the kitchen and they were the smallest things I had ever seen. The fridge was small too. Seems that the British do things daily and have no need for "American" sizes.

My first trip to the grocery store was in St. John's Woods, which was a very "high-class and wealthy" part of London. I had bought a "grocery cart with wheels" and I boarded the bus with cart in hand. Oh, what a wonderful place, full of shops and some even had American products. My eye gazed at the "High Class Butcher Shop," and I immediately went in to stock up on meat. Even though the freezer was small, I knew I could get quite a lot of meat in it if I packed it very carefully.

Now, keep in mind that we had just moved from Venezuela where beef was really cheap. There I could get an entire tenderloin for about $3.00 American dollars. When I approached the butcher and began telling him what I wanted, he got a puzzled look on his face, but he did not say anything. I ordered a tenderloin, some ground beef, some steaks and some chicken. When I finished, I clearly remember him asking me, "Would you like this on account, Madam?" Wow! "Why, yes I would," I replied. I gave him our address and he said he would bring the bill around for me to sign when the order was delivered.

I did the rest of my shopping and headed home. When I got there, I began doing some things around the flat. Warren would be home soon and I had to get supper ready. While we were eating, the doorbell rang and Warren answered it. It was my meat order. The delivery guy gave Warren the bill to sign and told him that I had put the order on account and the money would be due by the end of the month.

You should have seen Warren's face when he handed me the bill he had signed. It was about $300.00. So much for the "High Class Butcher." I quickly learned to shop in Camden Town where the "ordinary working folks" shopped.

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