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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Make do or Mend

“Make do or mend.”

That is a British axiom. (Only if I properly used the word axiom, if not, consider it a saying.) One that got them through World War Two and the years of rationing and rebuilding that followed. Tonight I saw a couple interesting, extreme examples of this.

First, I was on the way to the London Eye with a coworker. It was 8:00 PM and we’d just crossed the bridge at the Westminster stop of the Tube. (Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament…. every time FUNNY.) We are in front of County Hall and see a sign for ice skating. So we go up to check it out. Since ice skating is a romantic, Christmassy thing, we notice that ice skating is only available until January 4. But February is when it gets cold enough to have real ice, weird. So we watch people trying to skate on an itty, bitty skating rink. A guy skates past (skating being a very nice way to say, he was kind of staying upright on two pieces of metal.) talking on his cell phone (I mean mobile) and says “No, I’m at County Hall and I’m ICE SKATING!” He is obviously shocked and giddy over the concept. Then he slams into the wall. My co-worker is from Wisconsin and she ice skates for real, and I had a few nights at the Decatur Hockey Rink in college. I can hold my own on ice. Then we start talking to a worker who explains, it is FAKE ICE. “What we call, synthetic.” FAKE. It is plastic with some water on top of it. People aren’t wearing real ice skates and aren’t really skating. It was synthetic ice in November on the Thames river.

“Make do or mend.”

Then we go to the London Eye, the HUGE Ferris Wheel built for the millennium or the golden jubilee, I’m not sure which. Only to find out that they quit letting people on at 8PM. Huh? But we haven’t had dinner or drinks yet. Isn’t this something to do on your way to dinner or on your way home? No. So we keep walking along the Thames, going to Oxo Tower. If you know London, Oxo Tower is quite the site at a breathtaking 8 stories. eight. not eighty. Eight. Along the way, there are benches, a paved path with trees down the center. Suddenly, we hear the distinctive sound of sprinklers and look up. The trees are being sprinklered in November and the sprinklers are up in the branches… it doesn’t last for long and we keep walking. Then it happens again. I look up and notice there are mini-spotlights in the trees. They are making fake fog to keep it feeling like Merry Olde London. Fake FOG in London in November. Fake fog is very cold after a while. But, after about 3 blocks the music starts. There is fake fog, small spotlights, and piped in music. So each and every couple can have a romantic London walk along the Thames with a soundtrack.

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