London A to Z


Q is for one of the weeks you’ve all been waiting for…
I know that the Question on your lips has been, how will she find things to cover this week ?  And I confess that it has been Quite a Quandary.  Since the Queen hasn’t been in touch with me to invite me round for a Quick cuppa, I have spent Quite a lot the Quieter moments pondering how I would tackle this one.  Rather than Quaking in my boots wondering whether I have got an appropriate Quota of Quality Qs, I thought I’d take Quirky approach and focus on one: Q is for “Queue”.

It sounds a bit obvious now, but it was the Queues for food at lunchtimes here that finally made me realise just how many people work in the city!  Queues were spilling out of small shops and cafes, and I found surprisingly long queues at street food market stalls, of which there are several great places close to the Save offices.

Farr Q

Discovering something unexpected about the place we are working and changing our assumptions, preconceptions and misconceptions is all part and parcel of our PULSE assignments.  Although Queuing feels like a Quintessentially British pastime I thought it would be a good Query to pose to my fellow Save volunteers around the world.  What have been the queue surprises of their assignments ?  Here’s a flavour Quoting from their experiences:

Peru Q

In Peru, the most striking queues for Maciej have been in banks at the end of month when salary pay is available.
However my inquiry didn’t get to him in time for a photo of that, so instead, the other queues which are unusual for him are the lines formed as people wait for public transport.

Kenya Q

On to Kenya where Jim continues to find that life there isn’t always as expected.  This time it’s a contrast between the approach to wet weather.  When the rain comes, it comes heavily and the main queuing he has seen is for the rain to stop.
Kenyan people find him very amusing as he takes the UK approach and ventures out in his is all weather gear rather than patiently waiting for it to stop.  The photo is taken from inside a shop.

Phil Q

And last but by no means least, over to the Philippines where Alli has discovered that queuing is part of life there too.
She’s been astounded at how long people can spend getting to and from work due to the poor transport infrastructure – 6 hours (a Quarter of the day) is not unheard of – one to consider next time we’re queuing in traffic for a little longer than usual and we start thinking Querulous thoughts.

My thanks to Maciej, Jim and Alli for the local-global insights provided.



  1. Ques can be an entertaining topic and perhaps an educational one too. The ques tell us what a culture has in short supply relative to the demand. Everyone knows this instinctively. What may be less well known is what is the supply people seek when they crowd to see the happy Pope Francis. Or what they seek when they turn out en mass for the Hajj Muslim pilgrimage.
    We may do well to understand these ques too.

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