Friday, 17 April 2015

Why I'm Practicing for England

So, I have my flights booked for my annual (except I missed last year) trip to the homeland. In preparation for the inevitable weight gain that comes with not working out for a month and eating and drinking my way around the UK, I plan to lose a few pounds, but that's just the start of my prep list.

Getting used to being hungry. Not that I don't get fed in the UK, - quite the reverse - but meals are so much later than they are here, my stomach sometimes thinks my throat's been cut. Here, we eat lunch at noon, on the dot; when we're in England it can sometimes be 2pm before a morsel is seen. Dinner here is never later than 7pm whereas in England sometimes it's 8pm before it's even mentioned.

Sleeping in the daylight. In the north of England, where I spend most of my time, it's still broad daylight at 10pm and the sun comes back out at a criminal 4am. I like it dark in my bedroom, which tends not to happen in the UK. Must remember to pack one of those sleeping masks and hope I don't wake up with elastic marks on the side of my face.

Recognizing coins. I shall have to go online and make sure I'm up to date with the UK coinage. A few years ago I handed over a 50p and the man behind the counter laughed, gave it back to me and told me it had been out of circulation for about five years. Very embarrassing. Even more embarrassing having to inspect each coin before paying for anything like someone who's just landed from a different planet (which in some respects I have). The fact that I have an English accent makes for some confusion and I can almost hear people wondering why on earth I don't recognize my own legal tender.

Teaching my kids how to eat. Well, sprucing up their table manners so that they don't show me up. Like many Americans, they treat as much food as they can as finger food, use a fork if pressed and rarely touch the knife that I always put out for them. (The triumph of hope over experience.) While I explain to Brits that it's not rude in the US to eat with the fork in the right hand, in reality, it makes for a much easier life if they just eat Brit-style while they're over there.

And while I'm on the subject of manners, I should also remind them to say "Please" about ten times more than they do, and not to say "he" or "she" when the person in question is standing right in front of them, unless they want to give grandma a heart attack!

Have I left anything out I wonder.


  1. You know that it is compulsory to wear bunny ears at all meals in England now don't you? Oh and you must sing the national anthem between all courses!! Hee hee, just kidding! You will be fine. I hope you have a great visit over here!! xx

  2. That just about covers it!
    Our household has always had a midday meal and we have never eaten late.
    Maybe we are unusual. (For England)
    Maggie x

  3. Apparently, I'd fit right in since I'm a lefty and ALWAYS have my fork in it. I've never heard that there was a rule about what hand you should use.

  4. Great post!
    I can never believe how often they change currency in the UK. In the EU, we occasionally get a different look to our notes, but they stay the same colour-ish. Your coins are always changing! And I never know why.
    My children annoy the in-laws by saying "can" instead of "may." Drives them up the wall.

  5. Could we meet up? I promise to use both knife and fork, not refer to you as "she" when you're right in front of me, and... my personal pet peeve... not say "Could I get?" in a cafe, but use "Please may I have?" or "I'd like" instead.

  6. Yes my Dad told off my youngest about the please and thank you - and yet in the US people say Cy is very polite. There has to be loads more of them in NZ too and loads of sorry sorry.
    Interesting about the different lights in the north - is that totally diff from lOndon? I remember in winter in London it would get dark about 3pm.
    PS are you finding this checking Im not a robot is cutting down on spam. I have that comments mderation and just wondered if your system would be better.

  7. I would suit living in America as I love eating an early evening meal. At home I hate waiting for Dougie to come home from work to eat as I am past it by then. I always had my tea with Rory when he came home from school!

  8. Oh, I'm glad it's not just me, although at least I have an excuse as a foreigner. The markings on the coins are so tricky to read, and it's even worse when there's a huge queue behind you and the shop assistant is waiting impatiently for you to hand over the correct change. I haven't experienced summer yet, but we've been noticing that it's now light well past 8 and it's only April. That explains the heavily-lined drapes in all the bedrooms, I guess...

  9. I hear you re the money. I get confused with the coins because our dime is the same size as their 5p coin and the 10p, or is it the 20p, is the same size as our quarter. It's hard being a stranger in your homeland. No more 50p's? I hadn't realized. Thought I'd used them last year?

  10. ALW - I don't tend to get a lot of spam so I can't say I've noticed the difference with the bot thing.

    Clippy - Still have the 50p but they scaled it down a while ago. The one I handed over was the bigger version which was miles out of date. I have also been known to try to pay in old notes. Must check my stash of money beforehand this time.


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