At school today, I was practicing asking for and giving directions with the kids. First we used a practice map of a made-up town stuffed full with all sorts of interesting places to go and then the London tube map.
With the tube map, I always asked the kids, “What do you want to do in London?” and then asked them to pick a station on the map to start their journey. What they wanted to do differed, though interestingly none of them wanted to see the obvious sights. I sent the reader to Charing Cross Road, the teen fashionista to Oxford Circus, since I suspect she would go crazy in Top Shop. One particularly cheeky boy said he wanted to go to a brothel. I sent him to Soho.
One boy couldn’t decide where he wanted to go, so I gave him a bunch of the usual tourist options and then some of the less usual ones. The boy eventually decided that he wanted to visit the HMS Belfast and that his start point was somewhere on the Docklands Light Railway (Woolwich Arsenal, I think).
However, this boy had also concocted a fairly elaborate story to go with the trip. He told me that he had just bought the Belfast from the mayor of London and converted her into a cruise liner and wanted to take her to Bremerhaven. He even offered me a job serving drinks on his new luxury ship. I played along with the story, all the while thinking that this whole scenario was totally like something out of Hustle.
I mean, you can almost picture it. Here is this foreign investor who thinks he just bought the HMS Belfast to convert into a luxury cruise liners (which is completely crazy in itself, because classification society rules make converting one type of ship into another pretty difficult) standing at the Woolwich Arsenal station and heading out to pick up his purchase, about to realize that it was all a con.
And now for some links:
Phyllis Irene Radford a.k.a. P.R. Frost wonders about the popularity of urban fantasy over at the Book View Café.
Neat article about the so-called “Frankfurt kitchen”, the ancestor of today’s kitchens, from the New York Review of Books.