Monday, March 09, 2009


This Saturday past, Shelley and I made a trip out to climb the Monument, a big, hollow, stair-filled column with a flaming orb on top. The Monument was built in the late 1600s to commemorate (the end of) the Great Fire of London, which destroyed most of the city. Some argue this should have been called the Counter-Productive Fire of London, but in the end, 'Great' won out.

The column is 202 ft high, and was built 202 ft away from the place where the fire started, at a bakers' house on Pudding Lane. From all reports, the baker was apologetic.

Still, tragedy is the mother of invention, and I think a few nifty ideas sprang from this one, the most notable perhaps being the oven-timer - though it is hotly pursued by the phrase, 'that's going to cost a lot of dough'.

Actually, I wish I could have been in London at the time of the fire to deliver a great one-liner of my own. Picture this: having just extinguished the tail-end of the blaze, the firefighters and I are sitting down to a well-earned meal. Now, taking hold of the bread basket, I lean over to a soot-covered comrade and ask, "Is it just me, or does this bread seem burnt to you?" POOF! Amidst the uproar of laughter I disappear back to the future, where, lo and behold, I find a memorial to my 'Great One-Liner' built in place of the Monument.

The Monument itself was OK; to tell the truth, it is not the tallest thing I have ever seen. When first built, of course, it was the tallest thing in London by far, but now it is fairly obscured by the surrounding buildings. Compounding this, London, though it has some nice land marks, can be quite ugly from high up.

But, it was some fun.


Anonymous said...

You watched too much Everybody Loves Raymond in your formative years, Juz.
Which reminds me - the other day I was leaving a car park where I had to hand my ticket to a guy in a little booth. An old Chinese guy. He was laughing and slapping his leg. I looked into the booth and saw he had a tiny TV. Through the static snow and rolling-over picture I could just make out Raymond. Man, this guy was having a good time. It made me think of you and Wa.

Helen | Pepperina Press said...

Staccato machine-gun laughter? Good times, good times...

Jules, I'm hope some day, somewhere, someone will build a Great One-Liner monument for you. It would be well-earned.

London really does need to clean up its aerial view. But so do most places, when I think of it... Maybe if cranes looked prettier, the world would be a more gorgeous place.