Back from London, after a 36 hour trip. The wedding went off happily. And London seemed much like the London I’d known. And it didn’t seem to be the no-smoking desert I’d expected either.
Because there seemed to be lots and lots of little cafes and restaurants, all with tables outside, many of which were occupied by by smokers, even though it wasn’t at all warm outside. In fact, quite a few shops seemed to have a table or two outside as well. Sometimes a single table, and a single chair.
So I came away with the impression that London’s cafes had stepped in to help out smokers with tables and chairs outside, and that if you were a London smoker, you now went from cafe to cafe, rather than from pub to pub. It never used to be like that. And lots of people were smoking on the streets.
Also there were lots of foreigners. The underground seemed to be chock full of them. I didn’t know whether they lived in London, or were just visiting. But whenever anyone opened their mouth and started talking, it seemed to be in Russian or something. On one trip, after listening to various conversations in various eastern European languages, I was a bit puzzled about one conversation I was overhearing, and couldn’t place which east European language I was hearing, until finally it dawned on me that it was English – but with a strong Scottish accent.
And I was a bit puzzled by the mainline rail stations on the way to London. Quite a few of them had signs saying, “This is a no smoking station.” But I realised that quite a few didn’t have the sign, so I now suspect that while some stations are non-smoking, some aren’t. After all, wouldn’t they all have had No Smoking signs if they were? Not that I saw anyone smoking on any platform. Maybe individual stations have their own individual smoking policies?
Anyway, it wasn’t all quite as grim as I thought it would be. And smoking was just as common there as anywhere else.