*One for the record books. During a trip to London last month I managed to earn a place in the Guinness Book of World Records — for a day. And the interesting thing is you can do it, too. How? By attending a performance of Agatha Christie’s wonderful mystery, The Mousetrap. It’s the longest-running play in the history of British theater, so each performance sets another world record. I attended the 24,057th performance… and was promptly replaced in the record books the next night.
*When the Queen’s away. Another highlight of that trip was visiting 19 of the State Rooms in Buckingham Palace. This is only possible when the Queen is out of town in the summer. If you’re ever in London when the public can visit, put this high on your must-do list. It was a phenomenal experience. But get your ticket in advance; the queue for walk-ins was two and half hours long when I was there.
*Does that bridge have a captain? Another experience from that trip I will remember for a long time was seeing the city of London from a ship cruising the Thames River. As we passed under the Tower Bridge, our guide explained that it is the only bridge in the world that is insured by Lloyd’s of London as a ship. When I asked him how that came to be, he said he didn’t know. I researched the answer when I got home. But rather than spoil your fun, I’ll let you dig out the explanation on your own.
*Who are they trying to kid? And my last London experience I’ll mention today occurred while I was strolling the streets and back alleys in the West End where there are more venues for live theater than Broadway. Walking along the Strand, I came across a large plate-glass window with a huge display titled, “Zimbabwe — Moving Forward.” I wondered who was responsible for this ridiculous propaganda, but in two more steps I had the answer — it was the Zimbabwe consular office in London. That’s some mighty expensive real estate for an impoverished, bankrupt country. But as George Orwell explained so well in Animal Farm, under socialism some pigs live a lot better than others.
— Chip Wood