LONDON — Normally staid and unruffled British commuters talked about it on the London Underground. Office workers partied and bookmakers reported a booming trade in bets on Margaret Thatcher's successor as prime minister.
London was in the midst of an air of disbelief and celebration today, a resignation hangover.
Thatcher, the long-lived Iron Lady of British politics, was effectively history, and whether or not they agreed with her policies, people felt a gap in their lives--the loss of a favorite hate figure or a cherished leader.
Hundreds of bouquets were laid at the gates of Westminster during her farewell speech in the British Parliament. Fans spoke movingly of her importance as a role model, even though her political ideologies may have never made a dent in their lives.
Bookstores reported a booming trade in instant Thatcher memorabilia.
"The telephone has not stopped. It's remarkable. They want Thatcher mugs, T-shirts, postcards, anything they can get their hands on," said Keith Read, manager of a bookstore near Westminster.