S & M Files, Part IV

Distribution Permission

This version of S & M Files is freely distributable provided that the copyright notice remains intact. All material in the Annals, unless otherwise stipulated, is copyrighted (1999-2006) to Michelle A. Hoyle & Stephen B. Dodd.

Food and Being English

Indian Pizza. Not surprisingly, and more to my delight than Michelle's, Indian cuisine is prevalent here. The local Safeway has a complete Indian dinner for two next to the frozen pizzas. I'm curious to discover what lies in the "ethnic" foods section.

Fish and Chips. Still waiting for decent fish and chips. The local shop downstairs seems to believe in a long soak in grease followed by a gentle warming.

Beefy Drink. "Relax and enjoy a comforting Beefy Drink. Just mix one tablespoon with a cup of water". Say no more!

Given our new budget I've adopted a new diet. I call it "Anything on Sale." We've had prime cuts of Happy Cow (formerly Mad Cow) discounted beef.

We've been making a study of the locals; well mostly Simon here at the flat though most people call him Psi. (It's like living in a Dr. Who episode.) The preferred diet seems to consist of grease. Fish and grease. Burgers and grease. Grease and grease. Every evening we ask Psi what he's going to have. "Oh, " he says getting his coat on, "I think I'll go out and get me some grease." This morning I noted a change in feeding behaviour as Specimen A dashed out the door with breakfast in hand: Mars bar and Coke.

Real Estate

I've given up explaining what we paid in rent in Canada. It's the equivalent to a Canadian being told that we come from a land where we lived in full sized house with jacuzzi and sauna on a few acres of green for $200 / month. Be thankful oh you young Canucks.

Michelle just informed me that we are paying $50 / day in rent + utilities on top of that. About the same as a hotel in Edmonton.

Commercial real estate on the other hand does not seem too far overpriced. It appears Class B space can be had for £6 / sq ft or less making it cheaper than our Class A Edmonton office; well cheaper if we were paying rates than normal mortals pay.

Pssst, Used Railway Tunnel, Sir? For rent. Prime SouthEastern abandoned railway tunnel. Great for storage, shooting ranges, bondage and specialty service establishments, clubs. Requires some cleaning.

Shops and a Jolly Gay Neighborhood

It's really like living in a giant Old Strathcona. The shops are just crammed in. Across the street I can see a drugstore, clothing store, Radio and TV shop, convenience store, bar, picture shop, knickknack shop and a hardware and ironmonger. The last one sounds like a crime.

"What are you in for?"

"Ay, mate, they got me for a bit of Hardware and Ironmongering."

The pattern repeats on every street across the city.

"Butcher, baker, chemist. Grocer, convenience, pub."

*Sing it!*

"Butcher, baker, chemist. Grocer, convenience, pub."

Oh! "Butcher, baker, chemist. Grocer, convenience, pub."

Yeah! "Butcher, baker, chemist. Grocer, convenience, pub."

Kindy catchy!

Just down the street is apparently Brighton's only gay bar and coffee house. We're living in gay central which is good because apparently it adds character and creativity to the neighborhood and makes us Uber designers.

Everything is within walking distance. A local Jeweler advertises "Last Jeweler for 25 yards!".


Had some variety today. Big storm clouds instead of grey. I've yet to see a soul wearing sunglasses. Bright sun does not seem to be a predominant concern. Brighton <> Brightsun.

News Flash: Bright sun for several hours. Sat on the roof above the fish and chips shop watching the sea and reading the Inland Revenue guide to taxation. Was inspected carefully by neighborhood patrol seagull who made his opinion known in a brief and effective ceremony involving a small rooftop deposit. He didn't approve of my sunglasses.

Fall. It's like perpetual early autumn here. All the leaves are caught in terrible indecision over the trendy colour du jour. Some, fearing heavy snow, have given it up for the Ally McBeal twig look. Most sport fashionable green, yellow and auburn. Weather remains mild with only occasional call for mittens and flying umbrellas.


Have been spending our days researching mobiles. This apparently is a full time occupation that only anal-retentive North American's undertake. The local Carphone Warehouse seems appalled every time we show up with some obscure question. The manager's eyes recede and go all beady . Most people apparently just sign up to Whatever and when quizzed don't even know what network they are on. The Warehouse's first recommendation to us would have more than doubled our costs.

When people first recommended the Carphone Warehouse, I pictured in my mind a smaller Futureshop kinda store. Actually it's about the size of a decent bathroom with just enough room to wind up before you sprint for the door. We'll likely be back because they are apparently the best in town. A competing store would take our tough questions, smile and then quickly phone the Carphone warehouse and thus still end up with the wrong information.

Would you believe there's no way to plug your Mac laptop into a mobile. The best solution involves having a modem in your laptop, one in your mobile phone and another (expensive) one on a card in your laptop. I have a potential solution that involves four different connected cables and gender changers and will of God. Maybe.

We're now experts on the subject having stumped even the 1-800 specialists and will be opening our own shop next week.

High Speed Internet

Whenever we ask for this, we get names of Internet Cafes which are in abundance here. Nobody quite understands this concept of fast access from home.

Apparently BT's (UK's AT&T) ADSL trials were poor because their routers/hubs couldn't handle the load. It's also going to be expensive. The cable company is coming out with cable modems but won't admit to it. Rumour is around March or April. Unlimited high speed access if you sign a 1 year plan. Limited access for month-to-month.

Actually the cable company offers all kinds of phone packages that blow the lid of phone company. If they can expand their coverage, BT literally will not be able to compete. It is a crying shame that the Mews won't be supported until around April.

Interestingly the Cable company won't install ISDN in December because it's just too laid back a month for the British and they don't want to work their technicians too hard.

Currently, it costs about $30,000 / year to get high speed, 24 hour Internet access. (It costs the office under $3000 for speeds that are better than double.)

BT is going to be selling ADSL to resellers for $120 / month soon.

Stay Tuned

More funky adventures from the S&M channel coming live to you from across the ocean. Next weeks episode: How to live in a converted stable and not freeze to death; a story of hope, romance and heat.

[Michelle's Mind]

S & M Files
Ep. 1 (I) | Ep. 2 (II) | Ep. 3 (III) | Ep. 4 (IV) | Ep. 5 (V) | Ep. 6 (VI) | Ep. 7 (VII) |
Ep. 8 (VIII) | Ep. 9 (IX) | Ep. 10 (X) | Ep. 11 (XI) | Ep. 12 (XII) | Ep. 13 (XIII) | Ep. 14 (XIV) |
Ep. 15 (XIV) | Ep. 16 (XIV)