It’s so bloody typical of London (alas, of many large urban centres) to be so self-centred as to ignore the goings-on of the surrounding villages and countryside. H. G. Wells certainly knew it, and no doubt saw it first hand when the spider-like monsters from Mars invaded the first time.
As described in The War of the Worlds, most of Woking had been vaporized whilst Londoners were sipping tea and gallavanting on the Thames. Had it not been for the vigilance of the tabloids to keep them abreast of important news… likely the deathcount would have been much, much higher.
I have read, in another account of these events, that on Sunday morning “all London was electrified by the news from Woking.” As a matter of fact, there was nothing to justify that very extravagant phrase. Plenty of Londoners did not hear of the Martians until the panic of Monday morning. Those who did took some time to realise all that the hastily worded telegrams in the Sunday papers conveyed. The majority of people in London do not read Sunday papers.
Of course much has changed since then, and when the Martians return (which I think we can assume is bloody likely), we must be ready.
I, for one, will be sitting on a terrace by the Tate Modern, watching pigs fly, indulging in one of my favourite cocktails of all time — one no doubt inspired by the blasted death-ray of the Martians’ ships…
1 part Gin
1/3 part simple syrup
1/3 part Absinthe
2 splashes Orange Bitters
Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Try not to get vapourized.