Sunday, December 23, 2007

Loves and Hates of the UK~II

Then, there are the things that drive me batty.

The heating systems. To know the UK is to freeze in the UK. It is seldom...if ever...that I am warm in this country. Heating is restricted to the aforementioned teeny tiny white radiator units attached to the walls in the rooms. Currently, I am in the lounge, a room that is approximately 10x15...and there is one lousy radiator. The air that is within 6 inches of it is moderately warm.ish.... everything else is chilly. Loo has discovered the electric blanket, which she puts under her sheets... I've never thought of that, and may consider buying one when I go home.

The lack of ice in drinks. Yes, I know... it's so cold, why do I want ice in my drink... because it's a drink, that's why! I've been to pubs where there is a little bucket of ice, and when that is gone, it's gone. I've learned to like warm beer...although I miss cold beer on a hot day (I remember a hot day here.. it was in June of 2001)...I am used to room temperature beer now, and will drink it..still, I do like my mixed drinks with least more than one cube of it, thanks.

The vast array of strange foods that are really good in the stores. I don't need the temptation, thanks.

Crisps.... potato chips to we Americans. Not crisps themselves, because I am a Walkers whore, but, flavours you can't even imagine. Red Onion and Vinegar? Roast Chicken? Prawn? Why?

Marmite. Everything you've heard it true. It's vile. Beyond vile. It smells, it tastes like vile...I assure you, I will eat haggis with a smile on my face... I will not touch Marmite. This is a food that is delivered in tanker trucks. Tanker trucks! Now, ask yourself, what can be worse than Marmite? Marmite flavoured crisps. Why?

Roundabouts. I fear them. I don't understand them, and I fear them. I believe you drive into a roundabout by blindly entering them, screaming, and looking for a way out. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Blood Pudding. Need I say more?

Tea. I don't drink tea at home, I'm a coffee drinker. Here, I consume it in vast quantities, feeling I simply can't do anything until I've had my morning cuppa. This worries me... I become an addict. When I go home, it's not the same, and I have to go though withdrawals.

Keys. They still use those skeleton keys. Now, they are quaint, fun to look at, and I love to see them on a key chain. However, using one when you are in a hurry is a pain in the arse. You have to jiggle it about, then remember to also use the other turn lock. The turn lock causes you to lock yourself out of the house on a regular basis, not that I ever have... *cough*

The dollar. It's useless here. I continue to expound on it's pathetic value, but, let's be honest... you start to look at things, and think of them in dollars.... Loo takes them from my hand and says, "What are you thinking, woman! Double that amount!"

The vast array of soaps. Again, I become addicted, and can either stick to the basics, or fill my case with what are now overpriced soaps that I will bathe myself with, delighting in primrose or fresh lemon or any other exotic scent all mine at the local stores.

Translation. Wind is gas. Crisps are chips. Chips are fries. Bugger is a number of things. Four legged creatures are not always sheep, they might be ponies or cows. I do speak English, and some Irish and a smattering of Scots, still, I do get confused on occasion, such as when the 20 year old clerk calls me "Darling". Why?

Toilet handles. They are on the opposite side, and in the middle of the night, when I go to flush, I have to move both arms, since I try first with my usual elbow, then, I have to use my English elbow.

Mains switches. You may plug something in... it doesn't mean it will work. You have to have the mains switch turned on. I often forget to do this, cursing whatever electric object I am trying to get to work as defective until I remember to look at the switch plate to see if the mains switch is on or not.

The Metric System. Please. I don't understand it...and don't want to.

Chocolate. This alone will kill me, there is so much of it, and all of it wonderful. Add to it fresh bakeries, cream everything, Devonshire cream, Brandy cream, short pastry pies, and I'm a goner.

I can live with the rest, the coins for a pound that cause your pants pockets to weigh down and eventually throw one hip out of joint, people who keep saying "Wot?" when I say something, being called 'Yank', eating parsnips, even remembering to not get in the car on the right hand side as a passenger....

These things, though... these things I've struggled with, and always will.


golfwidow said...

I got used to the mains switch thing pretty fast, because that's how the Mom's house is wired. It makes a lot of sense to have a switch on the wall that will turn off the lamp in the far corner of the room. I like it.

Unless I can find a place serving French pressed coffee, though, I would rather have tea than the horrible watery crap they think is coffee over there, though.

Writeprocrastinator said...


Prawn chips are huge in Japan and to a lesser degree in China. Good stuff.

"The Metric System. Please. I don't understand it...and don't want to."

As explained to me by a former girlfriend years ago, the metric system was invented by men to boost their egos below the belt-line and height-wise.

I'm okay with roundabouts, though I never had to contend with them as a driver in a right-hand drive country. The crossing the street thing is what gets me, I was always looking at the wrong side.

The pubs closing early wouldn't effect me now, but my nineteen and twenty year-old selves were livid.

The radiators, micro-water heaters and washing machines are a Euro-wide epidemic. Those and a lack of good Mexican or Chinese food, are two huge drawbacks.

austere said...

What I absolutely gloat about is the reverse return of the Raj,so to speak. Tetley, Jaguar Indian-owned.

Did you ever read brit comics as a child? Very different, from the Archies etc. And Enid Blyton?

Bud said...

I'd just be repeating myself on the food situation. You hit the rest of it rather well, I think. Lovely but nutty little place. I do love it, though.

Peter Varvel said...

Similarly, I was too nervous to try driving in Japan. As in the UK, they drive on the left side of the road, which makes me think that we Yanks are the ones who are all backwards.

Loobell said...

Writeprocrastinator will be pleased to learn that we now have pubs with 24 hour opening here in the UK. It is not however compulsory, when it was introduced a few years back there was a bit of an outcry that we would have more alcoholics and drink related crime etc etc.. It generally hasn't been the case. Most local pubs stay open until 1am or so, with longer opening for special occasions no more the 11pm chuck out.
Oh and we don't generally like the metric system... That is those of us whom were taught the good old imperial system.. Good old Lb's and Oz and Feet and inches...I struggle, particularly with the weights.. and I blame the French (As an English person it is my perogative to do so!)
I have to say.. on a personal note.. that Americans being disparaging of English food....!! ?? We have very good food here nowadays you know (as well as the usual rubbish!) Having been to the US of A I would say that whilst the food can be good, it is nothing like outstanding everywhere..but the quantities are somewhat larger. WE may be an island but we are more and more cosmopolitan and there are very good examples of most national foods if you take the time to ask for recomendations.
*crawls off soapbox..*

Writeprocrastinator said...


Nuts, does me no good now. Maybe when Procrastinator Junior is of drinking age.

"We have very good food here nowadays you know (as well as the usual rubbish!)"

Um, yeah, it's called Chinese and Indian takeaway.

Seriously, I've seen many a fine London restaurant on the telly, but actual British cuisine? Not as of yet.

bobclay said...

Blood pudding ? Is that a Klingon dish ?

Being from the north of the UK I'm assuming ya mean 'black pudding'. I can't imagine a full english breakfast without it.

eeee baaa goom, ecky thump, appen.


Quin said...

a~i can certainly understand your semi smug smile. and, no, only american comics, i'm afraid. i did read all of the tarzan books, though. quite an interesting perspective, seeing the films and reading the way he was created when you are 8.

to the battling foodies~wp and bud~ you simply cannot base your feeling about british food on anything that's not home cooked. i, too, would be looking to the takeaways if i had been put in that position. come stay with loo... home cooked is where you learn the beauty of english food.

bob~one and the same. and i can full imagine one without it. and i do. now, a good haggis.... och!