Today, I took an afternoon walk to the city centre and beyond, still in search of table lamps. On my outbound walk, I saw something I'd never seen before: a woman perched on a bicycle, just riding along while her male partner held both handlebars, pushing and steering. She was elegant and effortless (literally), sitting there with both feet on one side of the bike, almost as though she were riding it side-saddle. They carried on an earnest conversation as we passed one another. Because she didn't have to do any of the work of propelling the bike and thus only had to maintain her balance while she was pushed along (which couldn't have been that easy, to be sure, since she wasn't holding on to anything), she was completely focused on his face.
I finally found a good store for buying lamps and pretty much everything else, which was a relief. Now I can stop thinking about whether I'll ever find lamps that I like and can afford. Alas that one of the two I wanted had to be special-ordered, something I learned only after I'd spent some 30 minutes pairing bases and shades to make the small and lovely lamp I was able to bring home.
What I hadn't anticipated was how different light bulbs are here, and how relatively low the maximum wattage is in standard home lighting. Though the lampshade I selected is rated for a 100W bulb, the maximum for the lamp itself is 60W. In fact, I saw only one table lamp that could take even 100W, a bit of a shock for the woman who usually rocks a 150W reading lamp in home and office. (My solution here: burn more lamps at the same time, hoping for a cumulative effect. Hence the prolonged search for lighting. It's only partly about decor.) So, I went to the light bulb display, seeking a 60W bulb. I had to be sure to look for a golf ball type bulb. I also had to look for a bulb with a BC (or bayonet cap) base, as opposed to an ES (or Edison screw), so that I wouldn't have to make a return trip to exchange a £1.50 purchase. I know that at Lowes I regularly shop a whole aisle of bulbs, so it's not as though I'm saying that something about the English and their bulbs is particularly strange. It was just strange to me this afternoon, in a way that was unexpectedly staggering.
Walking home with one of my two lamps purchased and bagged, I came up behind yet another pair of people walking a bike. This time, a teenaged girl pushed another teenaged girl's bike, while that girl perched on the bike and told a story. Two sightings of this arrangement have left me wanting to hire a bike for the year (something I'm considering anyhow) just so that I can then find someone to push me around on it. I want to hear the kind of stories that get told during that kind of ride.