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mike Meehan

The Thoughts of an American in England

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Obviously this was written by an anglophile who stayed for a few weeks, it is believed in Cornwall:

AN AMERICAN VISITED THE UK AND THIS IS HIS DESCRIPTION OF BRITISH LIFE

 

 

11 Oct 2015

 

If you're from Britain it's quite easy to often forget how great this place is. If you're not from Britain, however, we probably seem like quite an odd bunch at times. The following Facebook post, written by 66-year-old American Scott Waters, pretty much fits both of the above. Penned following a visit to the UK this summer (most of which appears to have been in Cornwall, England), Waters wrote up the various cultural differences and posted them to the world of social media. The post promptly went viral and has been shared almost 50,000 times. Here's what he had to say about us:

 

I was in England again a few weeks ago, mostly in small towns, but here's some of what I learned:

* Almost everyone is very polite.

* There are no guns.

* There are too many narrow stairs.

* The pubs close too early.

* The reason they drive on the left is because all their cars are built backwards.

* Pubs are not bars, they are community living rooms.

* You'd better like peas, potatoes and sausage.

* Refrigerators and washing machines are very small.

* Everything is generally older, smaller and shorter.

* People don't seem to be afraid of their neighbors or the government.

* Their paper money makes sense, the coins don't.

* Everyone has a washing machine but driers are rare.

* Hot and cold water faucets. Remember them?

* Pants are called "trousers", underwear are "pants" and sweaters are "jumpers".

* The bathroom light is a string hanging from the ceiling.

* "Fanny" is a naughty word, as is "shag".

* All the signs are well designed with beautiful typography and written in full sentences with proper grammar.

* There's no dress code.

* Doors close by themselves, but they don't always open.

* They eat with their forks upside down.

* The English are as crazy about their gardens as Americans are about cars.

* They don't seem to use facecloths or napkins or maybe they’re just neater than we are.

* The wall outlets all have switches, some don't do anything.

* There are hardly any cops or police cars.

* 5,000 year ago, someone arranged a lot of rocks all over, but no one is sure why.

* When you do see police they seem to be in male & female pairs and often smiling.

* Black people are just people: they didn't quite do slavery here.

* Everything comes with chips, which are French fries. You put vinegar on them.

* Cookies are "biscuits" and potato chips are "crisps".

* HP sauce is better then catsup.

* Obama is considered a hero, Bush is considered an idiot.

* After fish and chips, curry is the most popular food.

* The water controls in showers need detailed instructions.

* They can boil anything.

* Folks don't always lock their bikes.

* It's not unusual to see people dressed differently and speaking different languages.

* Your electronic devices will work fine with just a plug adapter.

* Nearly everyone is better educated than we are.

* If someone buys you a drink you must do the same.

* Look right, walk left. Again; look right, walk left. You're welcome.

* Avoid British wine and French beer.

* It's not that hard to eat with the fork in your left hand with a little practice. If you don't, everyone knows you're an American.

* Many of the roads are the size of our sidewalks.

* There's no AC.

* Instead of turning the heat up, you put on a jumper.

* Gas is "petrol", it costs about $6 a gallon and is sold by the liter.

* If you speed on a motorway, you get a ticket. Period. Always.

* You don't have to tip, really!

* There are no guns.

* Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Cornwall really are different countries.

* Only 14% of Americans have a passport, everyone in the UK does.

* You pay the price marked on products because the taxes (VAT) are built in.

* Walking is the national pastime.

* Their TV looks and sounds much better than ours.

* They took the street signs down during WWII, but haven't put them all back up yet.

* Everyone enjoys a good joke.

* Dogs are very well behaved and welcome everywhere.

* There are no window screens.

* You can get on a bus and end up in Paris.

* Everyone knows more about our history than we do.

* Radio is still a big deal. The BBC is quite good.

* The newspapers can be awful.

* Everything costs the same but our money is worth less so you have to add 50% to the price to figure what you're paying.

* Beer comes in large, completely filled, actual pint glasses and the closer the brewery the better the beer.

* Butter and eggs aren't refrigerated.

* The beer isn't warm, each style is served at the proper temperature.

* Cider (alcoholic) is quite good.

* Excess cider consumption can be very painful.

* The universal greeting is "Cheers" (pronounced "cheeahz" unless you are from Cornwall, then it's "chairz")

* The money is easy to understand: 1-2-5-10-20-50 pence, then-£1-£2-£5-£10, etc bills. There are no quarters.

* Their cash makes ours look like Monopoly money.

* Cars don't have bumper stickers.

* Many doorknobs, buildings and tools are older than America.

* By law, there are no crappy, old cars.

* When the sign says something was built in 456, they didn't lose the "1".

* Cake is pudding, ice cream is pudding, anything served for dessert is pudding, even pudding.

* Everything closes by 1800 (6pm)

* Very few people smoke, those who do often roll their own.

* You're defined by your accent.

* No one in Cornwall knows what the hell a Cornish Game Hen is.

* Soccer is a religion, religion is a sport.

* Europeans dress better than the British, we dress worse.

* The trains work: a three minute delay is regrettable.

* Drinks don't come with ice.

* There are far fewer fat English people.

* There are a lot of healthy old folks around participating in life instead of hiding at home watching tv.

* If you're over 60, you get free TV and bus and rail passes.

* They don't use Bose anything anywhere

* Displaying your political or religious affiliation is considered very bad taste

* Every pub has a pet drunk

* Their healthcare works, but they still gfuqhgfpjh about it

* Cake is one of the major food groups

* Their coffee is mediocre but their tea is wonderful

* There are still no guns
 

*They have towel warmers!

 

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WE take so much for granted don't we! They're clearly impressed by the lack of guns, they are so not British, does everyone still feel uncomfortable seeing policeman abroad with them? I know I do.

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6 minutes ago, chrisbell-nottheweatherman said:

Not sure on all of his observations, but some are uncomfortably accurate, IMO.:D

well the only thing i take issue with are the criticisms he makes of our language/culture. the uk is the daddy, america is the child, its the americans who are different from us - not the other way around . :)

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On 2/11/2016 at 4:31 PM, davehsug said:

WE take so much for granted don't we! They're clearly impressed by the lack of guns, they are so not British, does everyone still feel uncomfortable seeing policeman abroad with them? I know I do.

I don't think I'll ever get used to seeing guns close up. I hate the things, even hunting rifles and shotguns. 

I think he would go back on some of his impressions if he dug deeper under the surface of British culture, but it's a great cultural profile. Because it's the musings of an "immersed tourist" - someone who has taken the time to take part and observe but needs to go further - some of it is a little shallow. There are some great British wines and French beers! Dogs are nowhere near as welcome in places as he thinks! He needs to try German and French trains!

Otherwise a lovely find - strange I didn't find it as I'm always looking for informal cultural profiles for my students...

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Guns give me the 'willies', Spike...Apart from culling deer and foxes, I really can't see their use, here...

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I saw this a while back...

i would disagree that you never get away with speeding on the motorway, everyone sits at 80 imo (depends on time of day). 

However, an awful lot of that is pretty accurate tbh, some of it hilariously so...

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On 11/02/2016 at 3:31 PM, davehsug said:

WE take so much for granted don't we! They're clearly impressed by the lack of guns, they are so not British, does everyone still feel uncomfortable seeing policeman abroad with them? I know I do.

Have to say yes! I don't trust anyone with a gun to be honest...

5 hours ago, SW Saltire said:

I saw this a while back...

i would disagree that you never get away with speeding on the motorway, everyone sits at 80 imo (depends on time of day). 

However, an awful lot of that is pretty accurate tbh, some of it hilariously so...

Yeah that one raised an eyebrow. I remember seeing a Traffic Cops episode and they were sitting trying to catch speeders on a motorway. The copper actually said "we're not after those doing 80 or even 90, we are after those doing excessive speeds". You'd have to come across a copper having a really bad/slow day to get nicked doing 80...

Conversely, I did 85 in a 75 in Texas and got ticketed for it!

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Are you sure this wasn't written in 1975 not 2015? oh wait he was visiting Cornwall...sounds about right...a lot of it is way of the mark some is true..maybe more a reflection of rural life but not the vast majority of the England today.

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