A slurp of Englishness

Turn Green Chinese copyright Le Franco Phoney, FranceLast week, I returned to England for a few days of work mingled with a few days in London and Cambridge to catch up with friends. Opposite the Turnham Green tube station is this Chinese restaurant — with its name slightly altered for the worse. Obviously someone’s idea of a joke, I wonder how long the sign has been like this and how much longer it will remain.

Punting pirates copyright Le Franco Phoney, FranceMen in dresses copyright Le Franco Phoney, France

London done, I headed to Cambridge, where I was greeted by pirates, adults in nappies (giant babies) and a whole variety of other costumes as part of the Chinese boat races held for charity last weekend.

Pictured are the pirates and some men dressed as women. It’s always amusing to see men decorate themselves as their idea of a female: a 1960s housewife, complete with a dodgy dress and a scarf over their hair seems to be the norm.

I don’t remember ever seeing a woman dressed like this, but top points to them for making themselves as dowdy as possible, then adding the biggest pairs of boobs that will fit in their dresses, as if to counteract the frumpiness.

Toilet bin copyright Le Franco Phoney, France

The next day, a restaurant just outside of Cambridge provided a laugh for us all when we went to the toilets. The walls and doors were made of frosted opaque glass, although outlines were still possible to see if someone was close enough to the glass. Out in the communal hand-washing area, a toilet seat was raised off the ground as a bin for hand towels. The thought that this (hopefully repainted and thoroughly disinfected) throne probably started life collecting a different type of waste made me shudder as I opened the lid to place my hand towel inside.

FireFly Cakes cupcakesThankfully, my trip returned to happiness with some cupcake goodness. Friends of mine in France go on about how lovely those French chocolate ‘cake’ slices — made up of layers of mousse and pastry and something sweet and crispy — taste, but I’d prefer a cupcake any day, and I’ve yet to see any decent ones here in the Aravis region of France. So, I made the most of it, sampling both the lemonade cupcakes and the chocolate cupcakes offered by FireFly Cakes which provided me with the sugary-soft and moist sponge I’ve been missing. I’m having cake envy just thinking about them now. They all went within the day.


I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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About me

Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced technical writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Drop by wendyhollands.com, my other site.

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