So currently I am back in Toronto to spend some time with my mother and family. It is spring, it is April and the weather REALLY, REALLY SUCKS. Barely a crocus in sight. Currently in London however the weather and foliage looks exactly like this!
The cherry blossoms, wisteria and magnolia trees are in full bloom and I am not there to enjoy the prettiest time of the year. So I thought this week I would focus on some of the things that make me mental about London, you know...try and reflect on the negative so I don't feel like I am missing the magic of spring in London all the while dealing with the cold horizontal rain ala Guns N' Roses. So here are some of the real, still in effect, crazy British laws you are likely breaking everyday.
It Is Illegal To Jump The Queue In The Tube Station
So long as there is a sign telling you to queue, and there always is, or a member of staff, queue-jumping is illegal. You could be fined or arrested for what we call in North America, "butting the line". This is possibly the most "British" law EVER in existence and actually explains so much about the Brits love for orderly line-ups. They take their queuing very seriously...clearly and there are strict consequences for those who don't fall in line...get it? Fall in line??
It is Illegal to carry a plank along the sidewalk/pavement.
It is illegal to be drunk in a pub....wait what?
Ok really? True. Under the 1872 Licensing Act, there’s a penalty for “every person found drunk” in a licensed premises and forbids landlords from permitting drunkenness. Hmmm? Seriously I know some Londoners that break that law everyday at lunch.
You may be executed ...seriously the death penalty still applies to this...if you poach a royal deer.
So all you NRA, gun-slinging hunters no shooting, slingshots or crossbows when you are in Richmond Park or any other Royal Park. These deer can only be shot by your camera.
Speaking of animals...here are a few more things you might want to avoid doing whilst in London.
It is an executable offence to allow your pet to mate with a pet of the royal house without permission
So if you’re ever walking your dog (or horse) in St James Park best keep them on a lead/leash or you and your pooch Buddy could find that little bit of action can get you into a whole bunch of trouble, Much more than failure to stoop and scoop. The Queen will not be amused.
All Swans Are The Property Of The Monarch And Killing One Is An Act Of Treason
All the wild swans in open water are property of The Queen or King and have been since the 12th century. It is illegal to kill, steal or poach a swan as they are legal property of the Crown. Nor can you eat swan as only the monarch is legally allowed to dine on them. So if you are craving wild swan tonight for dinner in London you are smack out of luck. You could spend some unwanted time locked in The Tower if caught with a swan in your crock pot.
It Is Illegal To Be Drunk In Charge Of A Horse...Or Cow
True. This dates back to 1872, and you’re also not allowed to be drunk while riding a cow which seems… pretty sensible unless of course if there is a rodeo in town. It’s also illegal to slaughter cattle in the street (I approve of that law), But with all the livestock I see on the streets of London I can understand how this is a necessary law.
This has been illegal since 1839 to beat or shake any carpet or rug in the street.
You are allowed to beat a doormat, provided you do it before 8am.
It is illegal to sing rude songs or play games in the streets or to ring your neighbour’s doorbell and run away.
Now had I been raised as a child in London I would have just learned that most of my favourite childhood memories would have put me in jail. No Nicky Nicky Nine Doors or Ding Dong Ditch??? No Hide-and-Go-Seek or SPUD???? Wow. And I thought it was my teenage games that would have got me arrested.
And finally... not that in London they have to worry about this one too much...
It's illegal to go sliding on snow or ice or fly kites in the street
Didn't Mr Banks take Jane and Michael flying kites at the happy epic end of Mary Poppins singing loudly about the law they were breaking?
So it may be miserable weather conditions here in Canada this spring but go ahead and get loaded at your local bar. Slide down the snowy streets singing the explicit songs of countryman Drake. Gather your drunken friends and play a loud boisterous game of street hockey. It is your national birth-right.
Beat that rug, roast whatever poultry or fowl that pleases you...you are worthy. Let your horses, dogs and cows decide for themselves if they are out of their league in the royal parks. After all we might still be suffering through the misery of a Canadian spring but we can proudly carry that 2 by 4 plank from Home Depot over our shoulder on the sidewalk while jumping the queue at the rodeo. We are Canadian. Our spring weather sucks...yes even compared to yours Great Britain. But just you wait until our 12 days of summer arrives...we will see who gets the last laugh.