Sunday 15 June 2014

A very British post . . .

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I got to thinking yesterday about how different things are here in the UK from what I was used to back home and I thought it would be fun to talk about some of those differences!  For instance did you know that a courgette is a zucchini and and an aubergine is an eggplant?   I rather like the name aubergine better.  It has a nice ring to it!

Mind the Gap - London, UK

For instance when you are travelling on the trains or underground here, you will always be reminded to "Mind the Gap."  The gap is that little space between the train and the pavement you are stepping onto or off of.   They don't want you to fall into that space.  It's not very big usually, but you could do yourself some serious harm if you were to accidentally put your foot in there!  It wouldn't be very pleasant at all.  It is usually a reminder done by a voice with a cute British accent saying "Mind the gap!"

Iconic Abbey Road.  I cannot wait to walk those infamous footsteps.

This is the iconic crossing at Abbey Road, the one which is famous for that picture of the Beatles crossing it.  In North American we would call this a cross walk.  Over here it is called a "Zebra Crossing."   I love it!  Not that you will see many Zebra's crossing here . . .  probably because of the stripes!

This is called a Belisha Beacon, sometimes called a Pelican Beacon.   It's a flashing amber light which is placed at either end of a Zebra Crossing.   It is supposed to alert drivers that there may be pedestrians crossing in this area.  It was named after Leslie Hore-Belisha (1893–1957), the Minister of Transport who in 1934 added beacons to pedestrian crossings, marked by large metal studs in the road surface.  

Crawshawbooth Chip Shop, Rossendale, Lancashire. 

A fish and chip shop over here is lovingly referred to as a "Chippy!" You can get a lot more than Fish and Chips in a Chippy.   They usually sell meat pies, sausages (battered or not)  burgers (again battered or not) kebabs (what we would call a Donair in Canada) chicken, and in some chippies, Chinese Food.  You can get your chips with curry sauce or mushy peas.   They aren't wrapped in newspaper these days because of the ink, but in what we would call packing paper back home.  They'll ask you at the counter if you want salt and vinegar on them and if you do they will do a huge swash of salt from a large shaker and lashings of vinegar over top. I don't see the purpose in this because it only hits the top layer, and it's usually too much salt.  I would rather do my own.  You can also buy chips in a cone, which is a cone shaped holder, either made from cardboard or styrofoam.  As soon as you ask for ketchup they know you are from over the pond, accent aside.  The accent would be the first give-away you are not exactly from around these parts!

I only used the recipe for the fish batter, which turned out really good! I had just finished watching a marathon of U.K. Kitchen Nightmares and couldn't think of anything other than Fish and Chips.  

Mushy Peas are exactly what they are.  Marrowfat peas cooked and mushed up.   I think they add food colouring to them and some mint.   They are quite nice actually and go well with fish and chips.  You can also buy them in the tin over here, ready made.

Mushy Pea Curry Recipe - Slimming World - this is supposed to be delish!   

They kind of taste to me like the peas my mom always used to make pea soup with, except they're green and mushed.   It doesn't sound very appealing I know, but they are rather good.

The Chip Butty. Traditional English drunkard food. Season with salt and vinegar. 

This is a Chip Buttie.    They call sandwiches butties in some parts of the UK and sarnies in others.  Here in the North they are mostly Butties.   A chip buttie is a lovely thing.   Hot chips with nothing but vinegar and salt on them, sandwiched between two slices of buttered bread.  It's such a simple thing, but it tastes so good!

The Churchill Arms: classic London pub 

The great British Pub.  This is a famous one in London, the Churchill Arms.  Most pubs are not that fancy, but they will have lots of flowers in pots hanging about the outsides.   They have a wide diversity of names.  Not all are the Queens Arm's, or the King's Head or . . . the Nag's head.   Some of their names are quite fascinating actually . . .  like The Hairy Lemon (do I really want to know how it got its name?) or The Dirty Duck. (Again, do I want to know?)  Most pubs with more unusual names have a story behind the name which will be quite fascinating.   Some are very historic and go back really far.  One of the pubs we had down in Brenchley was an old coaching inn dating back to the days when all that lay between London and Hastings was a dirt path.  Most are filled with lots of atmosphere, some pretty good food, cask ales, some witty conversation and a character or two!  

London Bus - outside our BoBelle London HQ at Somerset House 

When I first moved over here almost 14 years ago, double decker buses were quite common.  Not so much now, although there are plenty of them down London way for the tourists.  Most larger urban centres will have one or two for the tourists, but generally speaking these days we travel in single decker buses.  I do have to say the transport systems over here are excellent.  On every day but Sunday there will be a bus every fifteen minutes or so in most urban places, dropping down to less on Sundays.  If you live in a really small place, you might only get one or two a day however.  When you get on a bus you usually state where you are wanting to go and then say return (if you require both ways) or single (if you are only going one way.)  Whatever you do, do NOT queue jump!  (Which means enter the bus out of turn)  That is very poor manners.  The British are very queue conscious and everyone waits their turn.  Jumping the Queue is considered to be in very bad taste and you might get told off.  I have never been a queue jumper any ways.   Oh, and a gueue, that's a line up!  And, they do them everywhere, the Butchers, the Bakers and the Candlestick makers!  On Friday nights most chippies will have queues going out the door and around the corner.

This is typical of the hedgerows along the byways in the Cornwall area of England. 

When you get off the beaten path the roads are winding, narrow and there are almost nil spots to pull over, being bordered on both sides by tall green hedgerows and in the North most likely stone walls.  This is a very green and lush country.  And they do drive on the wrong side of the road to most of the world, however they would argue that it is the right side of the road!  Actually they probably wouldn't argue . . . but politely disagree, depending on where you are of course.  In some places they might argue and in some places you wouldn't be able to understand what they are saying and that would be because they don't all talk like the Royal family . . .

"If I Had a British Accent I'd Never Shut Up" Vintage Book Page Art Print...That's why I never shut up - my great accent lol :) 

There are about as many different British accents are there are British locales.   You would find that each area has a very distinctive accent and you can tell which part of the country people come from because of that accent.   For instance, the Welsh accent is very musical, and the Devon accent is very "ahar mateys!"  Then there is the Liverpool accent (think Beatles here), and don't get me started on the North East . . . or Jordie land as it is lovingly known.  I find them really hard to understand if they really get going.   The East Enders London accent is very unique as is the Manchester area accent.   In Manchester they speak like wot they do on the show Coronation Street.  Here where I live there is a happy mix of the Liverpool and Manchester accent.   Interestingly enough the Liverpool accent was greatly influenced by the Irish settlers who flocked to Liverpool during the Potato Famine, and London itself has about 4 different accents, depending on which part of London you come from! Not everyone talks with a plum in their mouth or like a Cockney!  You gotta love it!

Magic roundabout in Swindon.  How does this roundabout even work?! Ahhh! I would freak out! 

Roundabouts.  Insert horrified look here.  The main reason I don't drive, or at least not very far if I do, is fear of these monsters.  Imagine hundreds of cars going around these things, in the wrong direction, leaping off or on at will.  Okay so maybe it's not really like that to people who have grown up with them, but to a North American coming over here, these are just about the scariest thing ever invented.  I don't know that I will ever, ever get used to them.  There are some roundabouts here in the UK that even strike fear into British hearts, like the Gallows Corner Roundabout in Romford.   Every time you enter that one, you take your life into your hands.


Trucks are called Lorries.  Your car trunk is it's boot, and the hood it's bonnet.  We have oodles of history, cream teas and castles . . .  and a lovely Royal Family.  We love sandwiches and tea and cake.   It's beautiful and it's green and some of the loveliest people in the world live here.

And it's home.    

Tea time set cute

A thought to carry with you through today . . .  

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"The trouble is, you think you have time."
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A reminder to stop and smell the roses along the way . . .


I'm talking about Father's Day over in The English Kitchen today!

A very Happy Father's Day to my dad.   I love you Dad with all of my heart.   I could not ask for a better father.  ♥♥♥

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Sunday blessings to you all!


  1. Thank you for adopting our country Marie We sure is a mixter maxter of names/sayings/accents/ somtimes almost impossible to understand !! You missed out our weather ! now that is almost unpredictable !! lovely morning down here though nice few clouds which will maybe keep the heat from getting too much for us...but lobg may our summer continue. Have a lovely Sunday, and love to Todd and Mitzie as well xx

  2. Marie I think my corner of Australia is very much Anglified. We use most of the terms you have used. Trucks are rarely lorries here.

    As for that roundabout mum read of it the other day. I took great delight in showing her this photo. Mum asked me why on earth did they put parking spaces in the middle of the roundabout.

    We have some doozies here and I agree they take getting used to. When I taught in Bundaberg they were introducing roundabouts to a small city with only two sets of traffic lights. The local Apex club released a newspaper with confused driver ahead signs in it.

    Meanwhile today we have spent the afternoon in park by a river listening to a jazz quartet and a brass band. The band leader was from Yorkshire so we had many brass band traditional pieces and songs from the Proms. I surprised myself when I remembered all the words to Jerusalem. This was followed by an afternoon tea with scones.

    God bless your day.

  3. Oh Yes, Sybil, I meant to mention the weather. I think Bob Hope said it very well when he was talking about our weather. He is attributed to having said, "Don't like the weather? Wait five minutes!"

    It IS changeable at best! You just gotta love it no matter what! And the cotton boll sheep which we see everywhere rural!

    Suzan, it sounds a lovely day. I am glad that you have lovely days sometimes, interspersed between the stressed. You are a treasure. The afternoon tea and scones sound fab! xx

  4. I like your British post today and learned a few things I didn't know before. There are a lot of different expressions and accents used here too. It's amazing how folks in the same country can be so different. I love how we are all so unique. Hope you have a wonderful Sunday. The sunshine is out here this morning !

  5. Really enjoyed this one Marie! You are a very lucky lady. I'd give my eye teeth to live in the UK or Ireland. It's a dream I have.

  6. Awww, thanks Pam and Linda! I enjoyed doing it! xxoo

  7. It looks and sounds enchanting..I kid you not I find a British accent makes people more attractive.
    I do.
    Put a regular voice on some ..and well they are regular..which is still very lovely..but put a british accent on those lips?

  8. I know what you mean Monique! There is just something about that accent which makes the heart skip a beat!

  9. Thank you so much for clearing up what a courgette and an aubergine are! I am a Texan but I read English fiction and have long puzzled over those. Another that I would appreciate knowing is, What is a vegetable marrow?

    I agree whole-heartedly with you about the roundabouts!! We have few of them here but I understand that they are supposed to be safer than 4 way stops. I find that hard to believe though.

    I enjoy reading your blog though I seldom comment. Best wishes from Texas!

    1. A marrow is pretty much an over grown courgette 😉

    2. A marrow is pretty much an over grown courgette 😉

  10. Thanks for commenting Florence. I always enjoy reading the comments, probably more than you know!

    A member of the squash family, the marrow is a distinctive looking vegetable. Its edible shiny skin can be any shade of green and its flesh is tender with a subtle flavour. When buying marrow choose the smallest one that you can. Over-sized marrows tend to have watery, bitter-tasting flesh. It should be firm and heavy for its size.

    People stuff them, roast them, steam them, sauté them.

    Personally, I am NOT a fan! ☺

  11. "The bad news is, times flies.
    The good news is, you're the pilot."
    ~ Michael Altshule ~
    What a delightful post and gave me more places to put on my visit list when next I'm in the UK. I prefer roundabouts to lights although I've never been in one like Romford. That one looks like it would overwhelm me!
    The tea tray is lovely, makes me yearn for one of my own.

  12. Marie - I will need to share this blog with my husband. He served his mission there and thoroughly enjoyed it. He speaks of England often and hopes to some day return. I really enjoyed this blog because even though my husband talks about all the different usages of language, there were quite a few he hasn't mentioned. We've also had some people he taught come to the U.S. and visit - wonderful people and I too, love the accents!

  13. LOVED this post! I can't wait to come visit NEXT FALL and see those narrow, winding green roads, and go to your favorite chippy, and try mushy peas and cream teas and EVERYTHING!! Of course, You already know I'm more than a little obsessed. :) And by the way, that roundabout looks TERRIFYING. I've never seen one that huge, I would have no idea what to do with it!

  14. This was such a fun post. Our family has been to England and so it was fun to see some familiar sights and learn of new ones. Thanks! PS. I don't like driving too far even here in the US. One of my fears. :-O

  15. Love it! I am quite the Anglophile but learned a lot of new things.

  16. Thanks ThistleCoveFarm! The Romford roundabout is a nightmare. We have to use it to visit Todd's brother and I close my eyes and say a prayer all the way through it. All I can say is Todd is a brave man!

    Marsha, I hope your husband enjoys it. I think most missionaries love serving here. It's a hard place to serve as the UK has become very secular but there are many, many good things about here to enjoy.

    April, I can't wait to show them to you! xxoo

    Yet another way we are similar Valerie!! Did you guys come over to bring Kyle home at the end of his mission? I know a lot of parents do!

    Thanks Anna Banana!

  17. Oh and don’t forget our Midlands accents! There is the instantly recognisable Birmingham accent, the Derbyshire accent which has a few variations: North Derbyshire a much, much softer version of the South Yorkshire accent, South Derbyshire (my own accent,) is Derbyshire with a twist of Nottinghamshire mixed in, Nottinghamshire (and parts of Lincolnshire,) are similar but not as soft and add “eh” instead of pronouncing the Y to words such as Monkey… it would be Monkeh the way it’s pronounced there.
    Also we all have our own dialects and words for things. The most famous being the controversial bread roll which we here in the Midlands call a “cob.” Other areas have their own names for them such as baps, muffins, rolls etc and it’s a subject sure to create a great debate as we all insist that our word is the correct one! 🤣
    We’re a confusing bunch 🤪


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