A Reply To '(30) Things Non-Brits Just Don’t Get About Britain'
We love you too but we're not THAT weird (well maybe)
1) The popularity of the long-running, incredibly tedious Radio 4 drama The Archers. Eavesdropping on your neighbours is more exciting. Phoning your great-aunt is more exciting. Even silence is more exciting.
I agree. I'm pretty sure the only people who actually listen to the Archers are over 60 and from a generation where they were literally the only form of entertainment. And you know how much we like tradition.
2) Being snobby about the different words for "toilet". Whether you call it the "loo" or the "lav", it's where you pee and poo. End of.
I think you're getting us confused with the States, we call it all sorts and really don't care – except 'Restroom' and 'WC' which really are American names
3) Being snobby about the different words for furniture. So that thing that you sit on when you watch TV – is that the sofa or the settee?
We do seem to have several words but I don't know that we're necessarily snobby about it. Unless you say 'serviette' instead of 'napkin' or 'tea' instead of 'dinner' – so terribly common
4) The way "common" sometimes means "vulgar". That particular usage, with all its Nicky Haslam snobbery, is bizarre.
Ah. Yes common does mean vulgar. No idea why. Sorry
5) How weird you all are about flags. So adorning your armchair in Cath Kidston Union Jack cushions is OK but hanging St George's Cross flags out of your window is not. Is that right?
I guess unlike a lot of countries, we identify with two flags – generally speaking the Union Jack is used everywhere and causes little problem (expect those who are so 'patriotic' they refuse to lable themselves as British and instead insist they are 'English' or 'Welsh', no realising that automatically makes you British, but we won't go into that,). The only time the St George's crossed is used instead of the Union Jack is in sports - this is because this is the only time where we are specifically separated from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as they have their own teams (except in the Olympics where we're all together for some unknown reason). Unfortunately we have a bit of a problem with football violence in our country and the flag has consequently become associated with beer-chugging, bottle-throwing. tattooed-clad hooligans. And that is all just so common.
6) Pub closing times. 11pm is just too early to go home. In the summer, it's still bright outside at 11pm. In Spain, they haven't even finished their dinner at 11pm.
In Spain they can sit outside, stroll home in a t-shirt and siesta the next day's hangover off. I would happily follow suit.
7) Pubs being open on Christmas Day. CHRISTMAS DAY! So you close all the pubs at 11pm on Saturday nights but then you open the pubs on the laziest, cosiest day of the year. Just baffling.
We're very much a pub based country as opposed to bars, and there is something so Christmassy about having a few drinks in a cosy pub by the log fire – Christmas is definitely the busiest and most social time of the year in the pubs so having it open Christmas Day seems pretty logical. Most pubs generally only open a few hours during Christmas day though and it does seem to be mainly full of lonely old folk that maybe don't have a family, so it can be a nice thing for them - especially if it means they are able to have a Christmas dinner cooked for them and chat with friends when otherwise they might be sat at home on their own. I would say it is a dying tradition though and most of us are lazy don't get dressed all day. The Americans go to the cinema Christmas Day and I find that very strange.
8) Your weird celebrities. Like Cliff Richard, the third-top-selling singles artist of all time in Britain, beaten only by the Beatles and Elvis Presley. So strange. And Katie Hopkins. Just, simply, why?
Oh God I know, so embarrassing. I promise we do have decent ones too.
9) Your weird TV shows. Like Strictly Come Dancing, Jonathan Creek, and basically everything on Channel 5
Channel 5 is a big ol' pile of crap and I would definitely avoid unless you just like adverts and repeats.
10) The way you all say "sorry" when you don't really mean it.
Yep. Like the work Fuck, Sorry is a versatile word that can be used in almost any situation from forgetting to feed the neighbour's fish to accidentally looking someone in the eye.
11) Saying anything when you don't really mean it. "Thanks." "It's fine." "How lovely." Really?
So true, we are a reserved bunch
12) Baronets. We can just about figure out knights and dames but baronets… Sorry, you've lost us
Pfft I thought it was a musical instrument…
13) The popularity of "Keep Calm" merchandise. That joke is over, so over, and still you sell us that tat in twee gift shops.
Oh we hate it just as much as you – I'm pretty sure the only people that still buy that shit are tourists
14)Your pub snacks. Like pickled eggs. And pork scratchings. Even the name "pork scratchings" doesn't make sense.
But they do taste good
15)The queues in your post offices and banks. They're always so long. We've heard y'all like queuing, but seriously.
Oh we love a queue. And we love a moan. So why not go to the Post office in your lunch hour and you can kill two birds with one stone.
16) The way "public school" means "private school".
Yeah it is totally weird, I've never really got it either. But then the whole public school thing is weird.
17) The whole public school thing, actually. Eton College, for example, has produced so, so many of your prominent politicians (William Gladstone, David Cameron, Boris Johnson) and your prominent sex symbols (Tom Hiddleston, Eddie Redmayne, Prince Harry). That can't be fair and good, can it?
Exactly! I guess it's all about the money, there are many non-public schools (so 'public' schools to you… normal schools anyhow) who probably produce a fine specimen but without the resources to get to the top. The country's ideal prime minister could be waiting your table next time you're in town. And no, it ain't fair or good.
18) The strange love-hate thing you've got going on with France. You act like you hate France, but then you buy your lunch at Paul and fantasise about spending a year in Provence.
Wow never thought about it like that but it's totally accurate. I'm not sure anyone actually hates France, it seems to be one of those things that we all do because everyone else does but we're not actually sure why (like the monkey/banana experiment).
19) Alton Towers. It's basically a rainy Disneyland, right?
Yes and it's awesome
20) Butlins. It's basically a rainy Kellerman's, right?
Probably and it is tacky but ideal for a cheap family holiday, if a chalet full of hyper kids is your thing. By the way I have no idea what Kellerman's is.
21) The way you mix up names for meals. "Lunch" is "dinner" and "dinner" is "tea". And then there's "supper". What even is "supper"? And why is "dessert" is called "pudding"?
Ah the good old fashioned class argument. Right, so it used to be that the upper class would have breakfast in the morning, lunch/dinner (even I have no idea) at midday, afternoon tea and then supper which is basically an evening meal. I can't speak for the upper class now but normal people tend to stick with the 3 meal format – generally if you have a hot meal at midday it is considered 'dinner' and then you would likely have a light meal in the evening which would be classed as 'tea'. However if you were to have a light meal at midday that would be called 'lunch' and then you'd probably have an evening meal which would be called 'dinner' - this is what the average person does nowadays to fit in with the working day. It is also seen as lower class to call it 'dinner' and 'tea' instead of 'lunch' and 'dinner' (let's not get into that). No one has supper anymore unless a late night kebab counts. I have no idea about puddings, most people do say dessert, so maybe it's a posh thing as well. And you thought it was confusing?
22) The great North-South divide. As far as non-British people can ascertain, there's a complicated mistrust that stems from a disagreement over how people pronounce the word "bath" and how much a pint costs.
Northerners are weird
23) Your condiments. No mayonnaise. So much vinegar. And what is with this Branston Pickle?
Also something that comes under the North/South divide argument – Northerners are known for their love of gravy (by in my experience it really isn't just a stereotype), Southerners traditionally have their chips with salt and vinegar, the Welsh pour curry sauce over everything and everyone while Scots dip eggs and Mars bars in batter. I guess we're all pretty weird actually. I don't know anyone that like Branston Pickle though.
24) The words "cor" and "blimey".
I'm pretty sure they died out with the 1930's chimney sweep
25) The way house prices are included in newspaper reports about murders.
Property is our porn
26) The efficiency, efficacy, egalitarianism, and, above all, FREENESS, of the NHS. Britain, it is amazing. And baffling. But bravo.
Summed up nicely. We love to moan about it (obvs) but cor, blimey are we are proud of it
27) Yorkshire puddings. Firstly, they're not really puddings, are they? Secondly, they proliferate in pubs and homes everywhere, not just in Yorkshire. Thirdly, they're not even that nice. British people act like Yorkshire puddings are edible sublimity; the rest of the world sees them for what they are: slightly tasteless, puffed-up batter.
Whoa! Whoa whoa whoa, insult Yorkshire puddings, you insult my family. Yorkshire puddings are the staple of our country and Aunt Bessy is our queen, 'nuff said.
28) The pronunciation of Holborn (Hoe-born or Hole-born?), Marylebone (just so tricky), and Loughborough (why isn't it just LOCK-burra?).
We like to confuse foreigners
29) How you have to be some sort of train website sleuth if you want to buy a reasonably priced train ticket. To a foreigner, it seems logical that if you want to travel with a certain train company, you should visit its website. But that's not right, is it?
Yeah good luck with that
30) And then there is the Royal Family.
Another great nation divider, you either love 'em or hate 'em! Great TV show though (Brits will understand)