Had a column idea. Kept hearing that the betting shops in London offered humorous and bizarre prop bets. Wanted to see if that was true.

So I asked the people at my hotel to point me toward a few betting shops. I'm staying in Euston; they recommended taking the bus to Angel.

It didn't look far on my map, and I prefer walking when possible, so I set off on foot.

A career of covering sports in America's major cities has taught me this: You don't know a city until you've gotten lost in it. You don't know New York until you set off the for the Upper East Side and instead find yourself in Harlem.

Inevitably, I got lost. I found myself on street after street of quaint shops and restaurants, and then I found myself on streets that made me frequently check my wallet.

Finally, after a few extra miles and a jaunt through a bunch of residential neighborhoods, I found a betting shop.

It was called Wiliam Hill, and it was small and sweltering. There were two employees behind what I assume is bulletproof plexiglass. One customer stared at a video screen, and one perused the racing forms. They didn't offer bets on the Olympics.

The woman behind the glass pointed me to a betting shop called ``Coral.'' It was bigger and marginally nicer, and did offer bets on Olympic events, but they were mundane. You could bet on who would win the gold in various events, but I was hoping for a shop that offered odds on how many Mary Poppinses would be in the Opening Ceremony. (I was going to be the over.)

No such luck. I found a larger William Hill with the same results. On my way back to Euston, I found a place called Betting Shop that did offer prop bets on the Olympics, like 6-to-4 on Usain Bolt winning both the 100 and 200. But no Mary Poppinses.

I wanted to bet on how many times Paul McCartney will utter the syllable ``Na.'' No such luck.


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