Foreigners in the UK: What do you just not "get"?

(390 Posts)

I've been in the UK for 10 years now, I think. I do not understand:

- the Archers
- tea (why? why? why?)
- cryptic crosswords

Anyone else?

DumbledoresGirl Sat 07-Oct-06 21:13:27

I am English born and bred (and well educated!) and I don't get cryptic crosswords NQC!

Or do you mean, why people would do them?

expatinscotland Sat 07-Oct-06 21:15:46

-chips w/brown sauce - yuk

-no mixer taps except in the kitchen - WHY? WHY? WHY? Washing your face w/warm water is bliss.

-one bathroom homes

-those fucking under-worktop fridges - those are for beer, people!

-no plugs in the bathroom

-manual cars. yes, i drive them and sat my practical on one. but gimme an automatic ANY day.

Oh, I think I see the point of doing cryptic crosswords, I just can't even vaguely solve them. My brain just curls up and hides. Or something.

Yeah, I don't think "brown" (or any other colour) is a good descriptor of food. Surely I should care about what flavour it is, not what colour? Why don't they sell "gloopy sauce"?

The absence of mixer taps I think is down to WWII. Or something?

No plugs in the bathroom I sorta get - 110V doesn't really hurt, I've taken it loads of times, but I gather 220V actually does something to you.

DumbledoresGirl Sat 07-Oct-06 21:19:01

Expat - no plugs in the bathroom? I wouldn't say that was the norm. It might explain why you miss mixer taps though. As far as I am concerned, I put the plug in and run a basin full of water (half hot, half cold, therefore warm) to wash my face in.

Sorry, feel like I am the uninvited guest at the party here. I will butt out now.

DumbledoresGirl Sat 07-Oct-06 21:19:49

Oh PLUGS as in sockets? Not as in rubber bungs?

Definitely going now

Hey, Brits are welcome here. Maybe some of you will see the error of your ways!

expatinscotland Sat 07-Oct-06 21:23:18

-fruitcake for wedding cake. NO, NO, NO! fruitcake is only good at Xmas, and only if it's been made with large quantities of rum or brandy.

-the queen and the royals

-short assured tenancies - a recipe for homelessness

-buy to let - same thing.

the rest of my things are mostly scottish, b/c i've never lived in england, wales or northern ireland.

Gobbledispook Sat 07-Oct-06 21:31:56

One bathroom homes are usually older ones - having several bathrooms is a relatively modern thing. THere are no ensuites in our house even though it's much bigger than a lot of modern houses, just because they weren't something people had when our house was built!

However, the owners did have servants and we still have the bell indicator thing over our morning room door that tells you if the ringing is from bedroom 1, bedroom 2 etc!!!

See, it's just how times have changed

Totally with you expat on manual cars - why? I'm never going back to manual - crappola

southeastastralplain Sat 07-Oct-06 21:35:26

fruitcake because the cake will keep for the christening, tea because it's yum

GarfieldsGirl Sat 07-Oct-06 21:43:43

Automatic cars yuk yuk yuk! Thats where you're so very, very wrong! Manuals are there so you can drive the car properly. I have an automatic because DP can't drive a manual anymore, but give me a manual any day of the week. So much better to drive.

Or maybe I'm just strange.

I'll butt out now.

I'd like to learn to drive a manual, but I don't really drive, so it's kinda irrelevant. My bike is manual, though ;-).

I like fruitcake as wedding cake and am always faintly shocked to be offered anything else as wedding cake. What else could wedding cake be? Sponge? It always seems like styrofoam in food form. (Ok, not really, those extruded corn snacks are edible styrofoam, but still!)

foundintranslation Sat 07-Oct-06 21:48:16

The Germans don't get the no mixer taps thing either, and tbh, after living in Germany for years, neither do I.

Renting is the norm over here (I think 60-70% of the population rent) and I feel quite horrified when I read on here how little protection tenants have in the UK. Nobody can chuck us out of our flat without a very, very good reason, and even then have to give 3 months' notice.

saggarmakersbottomknocker Sat 07-Oct-06 21:49:53

Hey expat I lived in a no bathroom house until I was 7. Joy!

220v isn't nice either - thank the lord for the circuit breaker.

Cryptic crosswords and the Archers we do agree on.

franca70 Sat 07-Oct-06 21:50:52

-agree with expat, why no plugs in the bathroom?
-carpet in the bathroom
-the romantic views on living in the country
-it's cold, it's windy, why not wrapping up warm?

blueshoes Sat 07-Oct-06 21:51:10

underheated homes
holidays that involve scorching yourself under the sun
going for a drink after work does not involve dinner even when it drags on
binge drinking
when tube/trains break down, people just shrug and shuffle off
a packet of crisps as part of a lunch

Oh good god, carpet in the bathroom! In a damp and cold climate! Why would you want carpet in the bathroom! Aaaaack!

(Actually, carpet anywhere but bedrooms annoys me, and even then I can't stand it really.)

foundintranslation Sat 07-Oct-06 21:55:28

NQC, carpet is the other thing I have gone off completely since living in Germany. We currently have fab parquet floors and love them. last year dh and I stayed in a holiday cottage in the UK and he spent the whole week exclaiming over the carpeted bathroom.

pupuce Sat 07-Oct-06 21:57:45

Yes carpet in bathroom - can you get MORE unhygenic!!!! YUK YUK YUK!!!

southeastastralplain Sat 07-Oct-06 21:57:56

we like carpet because it's snuggly and keeps sound to a minimum, it's cold here and tea keeps us warm and toasty

I remember the first time I came to the UK, I was 11, it was May. We were in North Devon I think, in a little tiny old cottage. Which had carpet everywhere which was, for the entire week, always wet. Ewwwww.

madchad Sat 07-Oct-06 22:03:00

I'm here 18 years.
I still don't understand why:
you have to call before you visit
carpets in bathrooms
people ask how much you earn
weddings finish so early

foundintranslation Sat 07-Oct-06 22:04:14

I won't hear a word said against Marmite! It is yummy and healthy and fab.

Where are you from madchad?

Gillian76 Sat 07-Oct-06 22:05:23

Weddings go on for ages in Scotland. You should move up here!

franca70 Sat 07-Oct-06 22:10:39

actually if wiring weren't so dodgy, probably you could have olugs in the bathroom

franca70 Sat 07-Oct-06 22:10:57


foundintranslation Sat 07-Oct-06 22:11:36

There are usually these 'shavers only' things. What else would you want plugs for, in the bathroom?

bctmum Sat 07-Oct-06 22:12:25

Something good about uk houses is the windows open out and have a catch to hold them open (what's it called!)

fridascruffs Sat 07-Oct-06 22:14:56

you don't have to call before you visit in Wales madchad! That's an English thing I reckon. (and southern at that)
automatics use too much petrol. And are we talking tea as in cuppa, or tea as in dinner? I mean a cuppa hardly needs explaining does it- nectar of the gods .

Gillian76 Sat 07-Oct-06 22:15:41

Calling before visiting depends on the individual I reckon. We don't usually

Molesworth Sat 07-Oct-06 22:16:36

I'm appalled when people don't call before they visit

hana Sat 07-Oct-06 22:17:05

having a good laugh here
also don't get

no screens on the windows - have been thinking of going into business for this....
washing machines in the kitchen
Mr Blobby
celeb culture and those cheap weekly mags

prob lots more it's just too late to think
and ditto lots people have already said

Gillian76 Sat 07-Oct-06 22:17:10

I hate it because our house is a tip. But it happens all the time

madchad Sat 07-Oct-06 22:19:46

Yes, I am in the SE.
I could have added no-one talking to you on buses, and my pet hate people not routinely admiring babies (a friend of mine thought hers must be ugly because of the lack of compliments that even a gorgon would have gotten at home)
All that said I do like it here, have three English kids, and have come to terms with the fact that I probably won't ever leave.

madchad Sat 07-Oct-06 22:22:48

Why do people invite you to dinner, or anything else, months in advance. I have no idea what I'll be doing tomorrow generally.

franca70 Sat 07-Oct-06 22:23:05

dry hair in front of the mirror?

franca70 Sat 07-Oct-06 22:25:59

madchad, I'm the same. I find this thing of not admiring (or smiling) to babies and kids in general quite upsetting. convinced that mine are horrible.

brimfull Sat 07-Oct-06 22:26:26

well I've lived here for 23 yrs now I still hate the single tap thing,have finally had ours changed.

Also chips with lasagna or pizza,how much carb do you need?

Hate the fact there are no basements here,they're so useful.

Used to think it was very strange when the whole world stripped bare when the weather gets slightly warm,but now kind of understand they're making the most of it.

Must say I prefer manual cars though

Molesworth Sat 07-Oct-06 22:26:56


I'm English

I admire babies and wouldn't dream of having carpet in my bathroom!

southeastastralplain Sat 07-Oct-06 22:28:51

aw i admire babies! we can't have basements because our earth is so clay ey

Linnet Sat 07-Oct-06 22:28:52

I'm Scottish and I agree with Hana, why don't we have screens on our windows?

I hate it in the summer when it's hot and you have the windows open you either have to sit in the dark or deal with all the daddy long legs and moths that come in. then during the day you get flies and wasps. I live in an older house but I'm amazed that with all the new houses being built they don't build them with screens on the windows.

I don't get cryptic crosswords, or any drossword for that matter, much to the disgust of my late mother who was a huge crossword fan. I just don't get them, my brain doesn't work that way. I prefer sudoku myself.

madchad Sat 07-Oct-06 22:30:26

Obsession with house ownership?
I am enjoying this thread no end!

brimfull Sat 07-Oct-06 22:31:58

I also used to find it odd that everyone went on a summer holiday, every year.
I'm completely converted now though

southeastastralplain Sat 07-Oct-06 22:32:44

house ownership / maggie thatcher

brimfull Sat 07-Oct-06 22:34:46

Oh god I would kill for screens on the windows.

franca70 Sat 07-Oct-06 22:35:20

me too, but don't want to sound too rude... as I do love a nice cuppa.
I really missed that stage when in my home country old ladies would have surrounded the pushchair going all ohhhh ahhhhh.
I'm now convinced that mine weren't exactly the cutest kids ...

brimfull Sat 07-Oct-06 22:35:55

There are sooo many things I love about the uk though,that's whhy I'm still here.

Molesworth Sat 07-Oct-06 22:36:35

I never 'got' Thatcher either

Earlybird Sat 07-Oct-06 22:37:05

Don't get eggs or pineapple on pizza.

Pruhoohooohoooooni Sat 07-Oct-06 22:38:45

I am Scottish too, completely agree about the screens.
I can't understand why perfectly well-off people live in old houses with mismatched worn carpets, lino that doesn't fit, curtains that aren't lined, no insulation in general...I mean I understand that houses are old and upkeep is ongoing (I live in one myself) but surely, come on, some insulation?? We lived in one that had no insulation except two windows that had been double-glazed, in the two rooms at the top of the house that even the owners didn't use when they lived there. WTF?????
We don't tend to live for comfort here, many of us, it's a puritanical thing I think: must be stoic, come on, straighten your back, that sort of thing.

kama Sat 07-Oct-06 22:39:03

I am half british & have spent half my life here, but spending half away was enough for me to not understand the following:

pub culture

the fondness a lot of british people have for techno, rave, garage & hard metal music.
old fashioned taps (hot out of one, cold out of the other, argh! or not so bad but still quite bad, they mix in the middle but from seperate pipes, so it just feels like you are washing your hands in cold & hot water at the same time, rather than a nice blend!). OH & the habit of filling the basement, then washing your face & hands?? Ewww that is like a bath for your face, dirty water.

carpet everywhere (and I come from NORWAY so for gods sake people, there are other ways to stay warm)

tiny windows, usually covered in those black lines (sorry, I do not know the term for them) dividing it into diamond shapes or squares/frosted windows/the excessive use of net curtains


brimfull Sat 07-Oct-06 22:39:07

mushy peas ..bluergh

kama Sat 07-Oct-06 22:41:41

thought of another one:


jennifersofia Sat 07-Oct-06 22:42:12

Hey, what about washing machines that take about and hour and a half or longer. Why? why why why?
Plumbing generally - showers tend to be a dribble, and the design of toilets (don't think I will go into detail on this one).
Also, that programme (why does that word need two m's and an e?) on Radio 4 where contestants are given various clues and they have to figure out what the answer is (what is it called?) seems so terribly British to me.
I do love marmite and (quietly) the Archers, but can't get stout.

southeastastralplain Sat 07-Oct-06 22:42:21

i love carpet!

Linnet Sat 07-Oct-06 22:43:54

At the risk of sounding stupid here, Kama what do they use in Norway if they don't use carpets?

Do they just have wooden floors with rugs?

I'm in a rented flat and we're not allowed to have laminate or wooden floors unless it's agreed with the landlord as neighbours have complained in the past because of the noise.

franca70 Sat 07-Oct-06 22:44:10

agree with the stoicism pruhooooo. and my inferiority complex kicks in, always feel like a spoiled brat here. don't understand what are the screens you are talking about?

Linnet Sat 07-Oct-06 22:45:50

bug screens on the windows like they have in America and Canada and I'm sure other countries have them also. Means you can open the windows when it's hot but no nasty wasps etc can get in.

Earlybird Sat 07-Oct-06 22:46:42

I had never heard of carpet in a bathroom until I moved here. I now live in a flat with carpet in the bathrooms, but it's fine because:
1. I've got one child
2. That child is a girl
3. The carpet was new when I moved in, so it's only ever been used by me and my friends/family
4. I have carpets professionally cleaned twice a year.

Under any other conditions, I would find it awful.

kama Sat 07-Oct-06 22:47:00

Linnet, yes wooden floors & rugs. Tiles in the bathrooms (often with underfloor heating though). Norwegian houses are built differently, and noise just isn't an issue - atleast it wasn't when I lived in the ground floor of a flat.

Which brings me to another thing - so many british people I have met keep their shoes on indoors. I hate that.

geekgrrl Sat 07-Oct-06 22:47:44

lamb with vinegary mint sauce

gag, gag, gag - it just does not go.

and separate taps for hot & cold water - why??????

carpet in toilet areas - another gagging one.

Linnet Sat 07-Oct-06 22:51:13

I have vinyl in my bathroom, although when we first moved into this flat there was a carpet. My mum always had carpet in her bathroom as does my granny. I agree that it's warm but when it gets wet and smelly, yuk!

I'm guilty of keeping my shoes on in the house as is dh. Funny thing is that both dd's take their shoes off as soon as they come in and even at other peoples houses they take them off as soon as they go in without ever having been told to do it. When I get my new living room carpet I'm starting the rule of no shoes in the house.

franca70 Sat 07-Oct-06 22:51:24

ah bug screens! though I think that in england there are less bugs than italy. no mosquitos in the sw, at least ime.
and why do kids go to school so early? I mean so young.

expatinscotland Sat 07-Oct-06 22:52:05

'Glamour' 'models'.

They're strippers, man, two-bit hoochies.

That ain't something to be proud of.

And yet that's a way to launch a broadcast career?

Um, yeah.

The accent thing. Who really gives a fat rat's arse where you're from? BFD.

Getting drunk and punching someone. What a way to ruin a good drunk!

franca70 Sat 07-Oct-06 22:52:38

lamb with vinegary mint sauce, I like that!
crisps, i don't get

expatinscotland Sat 07-Oct-06 22:52:39

GhoulsToo Sat 07-Oct-06 22:54:26

weirdy people

brimfull Sat 07-Oct-06 22:55:40

Page three
topless women in newspapers

expatinscotland Sat 07-Oct-06 22:56:06

Crisps are nasty.

I remember when I first moved to France, and it was 1986, and when you went to a sort of supermarket, there was like one tiny part with a few snack foods.

And I met a Brit who was aghast.

'Wot? No crisps?'

It was like heaven to me!

Medea Sat 07-Oct-06 22:59:44

I don't get:

--gardening obsession
--non-preventative health care (eg no mammograms until you actually have breast cancer)
--indirect criticism
--use of the word "sorry" to mean "move!"
--and most of the things expat mentions (taps, brown sauce etc)

expatinscotland Sat 07-Oct-06 23:01:57

Yes, too right, Medea, about the preventative health thing.

What's with that?

At any rate, it's SOOOO cost-prohibitive .

I do like the watershed, though.

I remember the first time I saw TV here after 9PM.

My mama and I were staying a B&B in Bath, and as I went for a shower down the hall, she said, 'I'm going to watch British TV.'

I came back and she was staring at it w/her mouth agape.

She said, 'They're saying the F-word on TV! On regular TV!'

I thought, 'Cool!'

cece Sat 07-Oct-06 23:02:12

I'm English and prefer separate taps - don't get on with those mixer things at all...

expatinscotland Sat 07-Oct-06 23:04:07

Line-dried everything, including towels and sheets and jeans.

Mmmm, crunchy towels and stiff jeans!

Just what I wanted in the middle of winter.

Bathrooms w/NO shower.


expatinscotland Sat 07-Oct-06 23:04:46

'The toilet'.

No, sorry, but you will never catch me saying 'I need the toilet'.


Excuse me, but where is the ladies' room?

kiskidee Sat 07-Oct-06 23:14:41

why decamp to the Med in august? its effing hot there in august! why not stay home in august when you have a modicum of heat? go in november when its effing miserable here.

bran Sat 07-Oct-06 23:21:44

Madchad, do people really ask what you earn? That doesn't sound very English to me.

I don't get Marmite (I think you have to have tasted it before a certain age to like it), or yorkshire puddings. On the whole I've adapted pretty well to English ways and I think I will find it difficult to settle back into Irish ways when I move home. For instance I really like that strangers never start up conversations on public transport, they do in Ireland and the subject is usually varicose veins or arthritis. I also really love people phoning before they come around, so I can either tidy or pretend I was just going out the door when the phone rang.

I don't get the working hours thing, people seem to either drop whatever they're doing in order to walk out of work the second their working hours finish, or they work all the time only going home to sleep and shower before starting again. Surely there's a happy medium.

GuppinBuppin Sat 07-Oct-06 23:22:35

gotta agree with most things on here. especially:
-carpet in the bathroom
-no screen on windows
-people keeping their shoes on indoors

I'd also like to add:
-the drink culture
-religious bigotry (i'm in scotland where it is an issue)
-how FREAKIN' expensive it is to live here
-the amount of litter and dog poo on the road

expatinscotland Sat 07-Oct-06 23:25:51

Also remember 'Irish time', as my DH calls it.

His nana was Irish, and his mother's sister moved back to when she was 18 and stayed and had a family, so we go back to see his auntie and three first cousins - and all their crew.

They just sort of show up when they show up.

You say, Oh, pub at 8 and that means they all sort of drift in any time between 6-10.

madchad Sat 07-Oct-06 23:32:03

Bran, how did you know I am Irish, which I gather you are.
I do like it here, and lots of things about the UK, not least of which is the NHS-amazing to get it all free.
About the salary thing, that really is true, I have been asked numerous times-perhaps it's the company I keep.They don't ask what I earn now, but did when I came here. I was really taken aback-these were usually relative strangers, but then it was the 80s....

bran Sat 07-Oct-06 23:40:44

Expat, we once explained Irish time to some German friends when we were in Dublin, we said that although you give a specific time the interpretation is fluid but usually averages about 20 mins late. We arranged to meet up at 2pm the following day and they showed up at 2.20pm on the dot.

Madchad, I think the 80's was different, I only caught the tail-end of it as we moved to the UK in 1989 (ish) but I remember people only talked about money/property prices/shares then.

expatinscotland Sat 07-Oct-06 23:54:11

Then there's a driving there, bran.

I became a reformed Catholic once we got out of Dublin on the way to Cork. And I wasn't even driving!

I could just hear my sister's sweet Southern accent in my head, 'Oh, dear Lord, we're gonna die. We're all gonna die!'

bottomburp Sun 08-Oct-06 00:05:18

i love this thread, am english (indian dad tho) but read loads of these thinking either you're so right eg carpet in bathrooms is revolting, we've just moved house and have the blimin stuff in our kitchen!!!! how mad is that. other stuff like loving marmite and hating mixer taps - i never knew that was an english thing but guess it is.
glad that am not a sheep though as love nothing better than people just popping round, must point out tho that am very messy all the time.all friends know that the later they are the tidier it'll be.

amyway had to share smthg i found funny laws had friends visiting from copenhagen.discussion turned to boarding school as DH and his brother were both sent away, and one of them said to F-in-l, i am not wanting to upset you but am just trying to understand why anyone would WANT to send their child away to school!!!

Astrophe Sun 08-Oct-06 00:05:37

washing machine in the kitchen
the teeny tiny fridges
the teeny tiny houses
carpet in the bathrooms (eeewwww!)
Kiddies having crisps for lunch
chips on the menue at Indian restaurants (???)
Restaurants that don't have their 'cold' drinks in the fridge
So-called 'cafes' where you have to go along with a tray and collect your own food
calling squash 'juice'

As my Dad would say "They're a funny race, the Pom"

But I say all this with th greastest affection we must have a thread called "What I love about this green and pleasant land"...

Gillian76 Sun 08-Oct-06 00:07:18

So where am I to keep my washing machine then?

Astrophe Sun 08-Oct-06 00:08:40

We have a 'mixer' tap at the kitchn sink (not the bathroom though ) but it doesn't actually mix the water, just sends out hot and cold in two streams right next to each other. So you burn one finger and freeze the next. Maddness!

Astrophe Sun 08-Oct-06 00:09:03

In the laundry!

Gillian76 Sun 08-Oct-06 00:13:33

If only I had a laundry, I might!

ilovecaboose Sun 08-Oct-06 00:15:08

I'd love a laundry

And more than one bathroom

Yeah, the lack of tenants' rights here is shocking. I lived in Montreal before here, where the province has an official contract for home lettings. If you verbally agree a rental, or if you sign another contract, it doesn't matter - you're subject to the Official Contract.

The whole idea that landlords have the right to inspect your home, wtf!?!?!?! And then complain about it being messy?!?!?!? I mean, if they're showing the place for sale or rent, fine, it needs to be tidy, but otherwise, bog off!

The carb obsession is bizarre. Chip butties! When I've worked places with canteens, I was always startled by the people with several different servings of (boring, white) carb on their plates ...

The drinking is really puzzling to me. At DS1's last school, there was booze at all school events . You would never have that in Canada. Never ever.

Page 3 is weird, but the Canadian equivalent wears a bikini, so I probably can't really bitch.

Carpet in the kitchen or dining room is also v weird, but not as gross as in the loo.

I am ok with the use of the word "toilet". I hate the coy "bathroom" (will you bathe?) or "restroom" (do you need to rest?).

admylin Sun 08-Oct-06 08:58:40

Now I am quite worried, have been away from UK for so long now that all your "complaints" sound normal to me. My wish is to move back, as soon as possible but I think I am going to feel like a foreigner for quite a while.
I understand things like Marmite but all the rest even the automatic for cars and the whole carpet and tap business is going to be hard! I can't even drive on the correct side of the road anymore!

Earlybird Sun 08-Oct-06 09:28:25

Ooohhh - here's a big one for me. Why, oh why is it so stressful to buy a property in this country? The nervous-breakdown-inducing exchange/completion/chain stuff, gazumping, gazzundering (or however you spell it), solicitors who don't reply for days, etc. And then there's the issue of generally lousy estate agents. Being an estate agent in other countries is a respected and lucrative professional job. It's also viewed as a service, where being lazy, unethical, flaky etc is the exception rather than the norm.

I guess people put up with the system here because they don't know how different/straightforward/relatively easy it is to buy property elsewhere.

lilmamma Sun 08-Oct-06 09:31:15

The carpet in the bathroom,I think was a fad years ago as most english houses were cold,this is before central heating.the bathrooms dont have plugs as water and electricity is dangerous,and if you notice the light switch is outside the bathroom,or on a pully,again water and lecky..As for marmite well thats yuk!dont get that at all.Screens ? well we dont really get hot enough weather for them maybe 6 weeks a year,so not really useful.One bathroom,probably cause most houses are small but we do have two toilets..cant stand those toilets abroad with hardly any water in the bottom very strange!! mixer taps,nope defently prefare seperate,then one for cold and one for warm why mix? must be the english in me ha ha in liverpool everyone coos over a baby,must be were you live? move up here you will be ok

eidsvold Sun 08-Oct-06 09:40:09

oh yeh - no plugs in the bathroom.

carpet in the bathroom

toilet in the bathroom?!?! usually next to the basin where one cleans ones teeth.

the minute it is remotely warm and sunny wearing the bare minumum of clothing and turning yourself into a lobster.

no laundry area let along room - so washing machine and dryer in kitchen

agree with no screens......

on street parking - okay room is an issue but why the hell can't we make enough room for people to park off street.

food wise

* brussel sprouts with christmas dinner
* seasonal veg
* brown sauce
* mushy peas

going overseas on holidays and insisting on british food - full english breakfasts, etc

whole binge drinking culture

obsession with football and ridiculous money paid to footballers

SueW Sun 08-Oct-06 09:44:43

Mythbusters (TV prog) I think - DH would know - showed what happens if you drop an electrical appliance in the bath. Serious damage to any human who happens to be in there. Until I saw that, I had a problem with no sockets in bathrooms too (and I'm Brit born and bred).

saggarmakersbottomknocker Sun 08-Oct-06 09:47:50

Love this thread,'m English and agree with a far bit of it! Especially carpet in the bathroom....madness.

I've noticed the not talking on the bus thing. At one time people always spoke to you on the bus.

DumbledoresGirl Sun 08-Oct-06 10:01:08

This is a very amusing and enlightening thread. As I said before, I am English born and bred, and it is fascinating to know what "foreigners" find peculiar. Some things I would agree with you - eg binge drinking - and some things mentioned I find my hackles rising in true, "must defend my culture" style!

but one thing I just find plain odd. I have had 4 children and have always found strangers extremely complimentary about them all. When we moved to the south east, dd was just 5 weeks old and I will always remember taking her to the local little supermarket on our first weekend. I could not move down the aisles for people complimenting me on her beauty! Everywhere I have been I have found strangers smile at my children, so much so, that I now find myself doing to other people's babies, even though I have no love for babies other than my own. I cannot imagine where you live if people don't smile at your baby or compliment you on them.

NotSoUseless Sun 08-Oct-06 10:43:35

almost everything has been said except for:

british fear of bidet in bathrooms. why???

saggarmakersbottomknocker Sun 08-Oct-06 10:47:42

We keep our shoes on in the house have carpets. Clean feet - so we don't need a bidet

taMummy Sun 08-Oct-06 10:48:56

We have mixer taps in the bathrooms Am intrigued to know why WW2 would suggest that we shouldn't....

GuppinBuppin Sun 08-Oct-06 11:46:17

-the way people back into parking spaces
-or the way people park willy nilly on the street ESPECIALLY when they park up on the sidewalk. then don't leave any room for a buggy to go by.

southeastastralplain Sun 08-Oct-06 12:00:05

non-preventative health care (eg no mammograms until you actually have breast cancer) i think even us brits can't understand that one!

i don't have carpet in the loo, much as i love it . why do houses in germany have those metal screens that come down at night?

rustycreakingdoorbear Sun 08-Oct-06 12:04:37

We've just redone our bathroom - we have mixer taps on both basin & bath and as far as I remember, when we were loking at taps in DIY stores they were nearly all mixers. (btw mine are definitely mixers, not side by side - I've just been up to check. I now have wet hair because the bath one was switched to shower!)

rustycreakingdoorbear Sun 08-Oct-06 12:07:11

What on earth is wrong with backing into parking spaces?
It means you can see where you are going and don't back out into people, as someone did to me at Tesco's. It's really not difficult to do.

meowmix Sun 08-Oct-06 12:16:13

I lived in a house in Tooting for 6 months that had carpet on the toilet - up the sides of the pan/leg bit and all over the cistern with just the seat, inside and handle uncovered. The carpet was peach shag pile.

So by comparison, carpet on the bathroom floor seems only mildly revolting.

bran Sun 08-Oct-06 12:23:57

Ugh Meowmix, that just made me gag. How on earth did you manage to use it?

jabberwocky Sun 08-Oct-06 12:42:11

As an American living in the US, I am finding this thread fascinating. Can't imagine fruitcake as a wedding cake (mine was a luscious Italian Cream Cake) or carpet in the bathroom . If it's that cold and uncomfortable, run hot water pipes under the tile - lovely!

southeastastralplain Sun 08-Oct-06 12:46:15

seriously i do think that the carpet in the bathroom thing was just a 70s fashion that some people still have

OMG at carpet up the sides of the toilet. Eww eww eww eww.

What is it with carpet, it's gross under any circumstances, why do some people have to cover anything that's sitting still in their houses with the stuff?

meowmix Sun 08-Oct-06 14:13:07

we took it off when we moved in. the smell was unbelievable. The whole house was over soft-furnished. Even the skirting boards in the hall had carpet on. (it was also opposite an IRA bomb factory allegedly and had a lovely skip dead outside which was set on fire every Friday night , presumably to encourage community spirit). Cheap tho.

I hope there were no sleeping pets in the house when the carpet fairy came!

expatinscotland Sun 08-Oct-06 17:12:27

My work colleague had carpets in her bathroom, which she found minging and she's from Aberdeen, where it gets plenty cold.

She said in summer, they had mushrooms growing round the loo and sink.


expatinscotland Sun 08-Oct-06 17:13:13

It was a rental flat, so she couldn't rip out the carpets.

They're so minging.

So are shoes a house w/carpets. Even worse than shoes in a house w/vinyl, wood, laminate, etc.

franca70 Sun 08-Oct-06 17:13:52

It probably was my kids then who weren't that attractive as babies. I also know that I'd love to live in Liverpool. Bidet aren't for feet! You can't always take a shower everytime you, ehm, you know.
Anyway, just had a lovely day today, which reminded me how nice it can be to live here, even if yes, I miss the bidet thing.

meowmix Sun 08-Oct-06 17:23:27

LOL! Carpet fairy. I don't remember any random bumps....

DumbledoresGirl Sun 08-Oct-06 18:46:56

I want to turn this thread around and say what I as a "Brit" do not get about other countries. Well, America actually!

Can someone from the Land of the Free please explain to me why grocery bags over there do not come with handles? It is a common sight on TV and films to see someone struggling down a road or into a house with 2-3 large paper bags full of groceries in their arms. What is that about? Why no handles?

Dh says it is because the food goes straight from trolley to car, and people don't walk home with their groceries in America, but I am not so sure.

bran Sun 08-Oct-06 19:06:12

Also in America, I don't get sweet things for breakfast (like pancakes with syrup, muffins etc).

suedonim Sun 08-Oct-06 19:34:21

As I now have residency rights in the US some things that puzzle me about America are:

Why do they drive on the wrong side of the road?

Why do public toilets have a large gap down the sides of doors so people can see you sitting on the throne? (love the ass-gaskets in public loos, tho!)

Why do US loo cisterns have furry covers over them??

Why do so many of their houses have no internal walls and doors and why do they have so much wood panelling that combine to make their houses into gloomy echo chambers?

Why do US kitchens have those weirdy small taps that spout water so hot it gives you a third degree burn if it gets on your skin, but isn't hot enough to make a decent cup of coffee or tea?

Brits have small houses because the population density of America is 76 per sq mile, density of Britain 244 psm. And only fruit cakes will stay the course for the first baby's Christening - obvious, innit?? As to tea, if it wasn't for tea, the US would still be a Britsh colony.

I've not lived in the US, but in Canada, grocery store bags are plastic, and have handles. And the people who work in the grocery store pack your bags for you ... sometimes well, sometimes badly, but at least they do it!

I think you can still get paper bags in some places, and they tend not to have handles, as they'd just tear. But I think paper bags are more of a tv + film thing than a reality thing, iyswim.

I'm not a fan of sweet things for breakfast, but they are quite common in North America. I stayed in a B+B once where the breakfast was v tasty but sent me into a diabetic coma ... waffles, fruit, syrup, whipped cream (fake with sugar in), and I think there were muffins too? It was scary.

I don't know the history of the sides-of-the-road thing, but I think you'll find Americans actually drive on the right side of the road! (ha ha ha Seriously, I think it has something to do with Napoleon or swords or something. Only the UK, Japan, and maybe Australia drive on the left, it's not really v popular at all)

I dunno about the gaps in loos. I had to stop DS1 from peering through them at people when we were in Canada this summer . What is an ass gasket? Do you mean those plastic covers? Most US women (I think?) either hover, or cover the toilet seat with toilet paper, if there are no plastic covers.

The furry cisterns are just to make it look less toilety I guess? I never had one.

I like open plan houses, I live in one (in the UK!). I hate the "tiny little rooms all over the place" style so popular here.

Oh, and I don't know what those tiny weird taps are for, other than burning children. Never had one.

christie1 Sun 08-Oct-06 20:09:02

This is my second time living in the uk. I love to bake, don't understand why things like, vanilla, chocolate chips and other baking supplies come in such small packages. Maybe I shop in the wrong stores or am I just too north american, large size it and all that.

suedonim Sun 08-Oct-06 20:12:49

NQC at you going into a diabetic coma, poor you.

Yes, ass-gaskets are those paper seat covers in public loos.

Dh says Brits drive on the left because, as a long-time military nation, men armed with swords on horseback could pass each other r-hand side to r-hand side and lop each others heads off as they went. Nice!

DumbledoresGirl Sun 08-Oct-06 20:35:49

It is the same reason why in a church at a wedding, the groom stands on the bride's right - so his right hand (sword hand) is free to protect his bride with. I wonder how often a groom has had to draw his sword as he emerged from the church with his bride on his left arm?

(Sorry! Not actually a diabetic coma! Sarcasm, exaggeration! I've been here too long! I felt gross and over-sugared!)

Baking here is weird - I like recipes that go by weight, now I've got used to them. You can't get baking chocolate though (no sugar), and although the general quality of the chocolate is much better, you can't get "nice" chocolate chips, iyswim. Peanut butter comes in risibly small containers too, like it was marmite or something noxious, rather than an essential part of life.

Ok, so why do non-brits drive on the right?

DumbledoresGirl Sun 08-Oct-06 20:41:37

It is to do with Napoleon. People used to drive on the left to have their sword arm free as suedonim said. After napoloen had conquered most of Europe, he decreed that people should drive on the right to prove that peace had been brought to all nations and ther was no need for passing travellers to draw swords against each other.

Hmm, some pages say he was a lefty.

MrsSchadenfreude Sun 08-Oct-06 20:45:02

Well I have just moved back to UK having spent half of my life out of it, and have to say, so far, am hating every minute. Why is it so expensive? Why can't the trains cope with falling leaves? Doesn't autumn happen every year? Why don't you drive automatics? Why are your rooms so small in your tiny houses? (I can sit on the loo with my feet in the bath and my hands in the washbasin in my rented house.) Why do you drive on the wrong side of the road? (I am currently a menace, bouncing round the country roads in North Bucks in a left hand drive 4x4.) Why do I have to spend 14 pounds for half an hour's riding lesson for DD1 when it only cost 11 euros for an HOUR in Belgium? The overheads can't be that bloody different.

And I agree, why do baking ingredients come in such tiny weeny packets? I don't want 25g of poppy seeds, I want a huge bag to make a Tort Makowy, I don't want to daintily sprinkle a few on a loaf of bread.

And yes to plugs in bathrooms. For drying hair or plugging in a washing machine (I had washing machine in my bathroom in Poland).

Rant over (until I think of something else).

Hmm, the mystery deepens, Wikipedia says (in a not-very-solid-looking page):

One frequently hears the story that Napoleon changed the rule of the road in the countries he conquered from keep-left to keep-right. The justifications mentioned are usually symbolic, such as that Napoleon himself was left- (or right-) handed, or that Britain, Napoleon's enemy, kept left. This story has never been shown to have a factual basis and it appears to be a legend.

Hmm, this link provides lots of info, but nothing definative.

Napoleon definately had something to do with it, but it sounds like at least one pope (in the 1300s) wanted people to walk on the right. The Americans went for right-side laws two years before the first French one.

I loooovvvve those toilet seat covers you get in the States and yes you're right you can see into public loos and they have big gaps under the doors too.

What I don't get about Britain is why in the last 9 years the Govt has actively seeked to dispose of Britain's ancient traditions and customs.

MrsSchadenfreude Sun 08-Oct-06 21:03:50

I don't get conservatories either. Ours is crap and is either freezing or boiling hot, depending on what the weather is doing.

Oooh, why do Brits only use balconies as storage rooms? Balconies are lovely, you can pretty much live on them, and it's not like the weather isn't warm enough, a lot of the year. (And they're nice in the rain, too, as long as they're covered.)

But they only actually get used to store crap on, as far as I can tell.

I'm probably biased, one of my home cities is sometimes called "Balconville" - "Balconytown", more or less.

(But then Brits are v wimpy about the weather, anyway ... they can't understand how I can bike all through the "winter".)

MrsSchadenfreude Sun 08-Oct-06 21:27:37

It's because they don't dress up properly for the weather, NQC. I remember my mother visiting me in Warsaw, when it was minus fifteen, thinking that a short wool jacket with a cotton roll neck jumper under it, and jeans would be quite warm enough...

expatinscotland Sun 08-Oct-06 21:29:19

Bidets RULE!

franca70 Sun 08-Oct-06 21:32:54

Yes, here is to bidets

We use ours to wash feet. I haven't really got my head around the bidet ... so to speak.

Hmm, I find Brits generally overdress for the weather, although not as badly as Germans. But then Canadians are inclined to wear shorts if it's over 15C ...

expatinscotland Sun 08-Oct-06 21:37:13

Erm, NQC, you were not instructed in proper bidet use ?

I learned from my S. American nanny.

TwigTwoolett Sun 08-Oct-06 21:38:12

My mate is just about to re-do her bathroom ... she was told by bathroom showroom that they hadn't sold a bidet in 3 years

brits do not know what to do with bidets

No, I was not. We don't have 'em back home, and I never had a nanny.

I've stayed in places with bidets before.

I do know what they're for, but the jet on ours is quite, ahem, lively and I find it startling. Also, the angle is weird. I have used it properly, but not for ages, and it just seems a bit slovenly to just wash one's bits.

suedonim Sun 08-Oct-06 21:44:50

NCQ, lol @ the coma! Can see it happening though.....

Dh reckons the nations that drive on the right are all wimps who couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag.

As to Brits being weather wimps - ds's IL's were horrified when I ate my brekkies on their patio when it was 'only' 68degF!!!

One serious q - why do Americans still use the terms 'handicapped' and 'retarded' even in the media. It makes my stomach turn.

franca70 Sun 08-Oct-06 21:46:23

so, you have got one?

expatinscotland Sun 08-Oct-06 21:46:44

You could use it to wash out your mooncup, NQC .

How much awareness there is about various issues varies from place to place. I find the UK really backwards on wheelchair facilities (so many stairs!) but great for blind people.

Similarly, I can't believe everyone here uses the term "Oriental", which is really really not ok back home. It's a really dodgy word with a dodgy history and best forgotten, although to be fair, it's probably mostly progressive people who are aware of its offensiveness back home. (DH works with someone who honestly thought it was ok to say "I'm going for a chinky" <shudder> when going for a Chinese takeaway. <boggle>)

eidsvold Sun 08-Oct-06 21:57:09

Aussies drive on the left - think they do in the Carribean too....

franca70 Sun 08-Oct-06 22:00:08

in the british caraibi, don't think in the french ones for instance. and probably in new zealand, although not sure

suedonim Sun 08-Oct-06 22:22:52

I haven't heard the term Oriental for years - do people really still use it in the UK?? I must lead a sheltered life.

I love bidets, I have to say, esp at TOTM. Also ueful for many other things such as bathing babies and small dogs, soaking icky clothes etc.

Oh yeah, another thing - why do you have to clear your table after eating at cafes in the US? Isn't that what waiting staff are for?

jennifersofia Sun 08-Oct-06 23:19:10

Sweet things for breakfast - hmmm, which would you rather have, a kipper and grapefruit, topped off with marmite toast, or pancakes with proper maple syrup?
By the way, NQC, aren't you somewhat near Spitalfields? If so, do pop into the health food shop there, they sell BIG tubs of PNB, smooth or crunchy.

jabberwocky Sun 08-Oct-06 23:28:35

As far as paper bags with no handles, if you hold it by the handle, you are more likely to get a rip in the bottom of the bag and everything can fall out. Plus, there's very little carrying done as it's just unloading the groceries from the buggy/trolley to the car and then from the car to the kitchen.

I think Wild Oats and a few places like that do have paper bags with handlesbut actually most stores do plastic bags (with handles) now.

jabberwocky Sun 08-Oct-06 23:29:20

btw, what's a kipper? And marmite?

expatinscotland Sun 08-Oct-06 23:35:43

Mmmm. Kippers.

Nothing beats an Abroath smokie.

This chap from an Abroath smokey got permission to trade at the Edinburgh Farmer's Market - he needed special permission b/c he was outside the 35 mile radius.

The queue was ENORMOUS. He had 5 hands to help and they were going nonstop. The kippers were smoked over whiskey barrels w/burlap sacks over the top.

I got us a few smokies, and some for the ILs and SIL.

Worth the wait!

OMG! Pure heaven.

expatinscotland Sun 08-Oct-06 23:37:09

What I don't get is Bovril.

As a bevvy.


jennifersofia Sun 08-Oct-06 23:42:54

Ya, actually, I do like kippers, but they don't like me! (And if I am truthful, I actually now prefer a savoury breakfast to a sweet one!)

melaniek Mon 09-Oct-06 00:37:25

We are making a short film about skincare for a conference and still need to speak with an American mum living in London. Ideally late 30's/40's with great skin. Only requires 10 mins to say 5-6 scripted comments to camera. Financial reimbursement for time. Must be able to be filmed by Tues eve latest. Can travel to you or arrange Central London location. Many thanks, Melanie.

anniediv Mon 09-Oct-06 00:39:25

melaniek I think you need to post this in the media requests section....

superloopy Mon 09-Oct-06 00:48:08

I'm from Oz and after 9 yrs here still don't get/like washbowls in the kitchen sink! Hate them actually. What is the point? Also why does eveyone here accept that tradesmen are dodgey, overpriced and unreliable AND THEN have to make the f**kers cups of tea???

Still not used to the dog poo on every street and rubbish blowing all over the place. Must agree with not liking...
separate taps
bad showers
carpet in bathroom
no laundry (especially miss big laundry sinks)
page 3
poxy little fridges
no power plugs in bathroom WTF!! Didn't manage to kill myself in Oz??

It also drives me crazy that you can't easily buy a swimsuit year round or anything else out of season. Narrow lanes on the road, tiny car parking spaces and skinny footpaths bug me too.

Sorry I sound like a horrible moany cow but I really do like being here or I would have left by now. It's nice to vent once in a while

nappyaddict Mon 09-Oct-06 01:05:54

ok mixer taps i don't get. i thought they were pretty normal in the bathroom AND the kitchen.

fruit cake i don't get personally cos i hate it, but lots of people love it.

buy to let? don't really get what's not to get about that one. you buy a house to rent it out. (i hope that's what buy to let is!)

under worktop fridges - no they are far too small you can't get enough food in them!!##

carpet in the bathroom - so it isn't slippy

marmite and bovril - i agree YUK!!

manuals use less petrol and are just better to drive somehow.

not talking on buses tends to be a yunger generation thing - you'll often find the older generation having a good old natter.

we only ring before popping round to actually check they are in, but if we are already passing by we just knock on the door and see.

we have a laundry and i can't imagine not having one either.

we have a bidet, but admittedly use it for storing dirty washing, washing feet and babies.

Oh, I was somewhat kidding about mixer taps and WW2. It's just a general explanation for anything is rationing and WW2 or WW1 or similar.

Jennifersofia, I am near spitalfields, I should give that health food store a try. Our local one annoys me. (I quite like Waitrose own-brand organic peanut butter ... but it does come in a size more suitable for lip gloss than peanut butter ...)

Suedonim, because Brits say "Asian" to mean (what I would call) "South Asian", they are stuck with no word for (what I would call) "East Asian". So they say "Oriental".

Oh, and I do use the bidet for rinsing out mooncup, very practical.

I had a classic "foreigner" interaction yesterday. I was taking my two DSes on the tube (5, 2) on my own with no pram, and ended up in a busy carriage. I nabbed a seat, and was sitting with the 2-year-old on my lap, and trying to work out what to do with the 5-year-old. The woman directly across the aisle offered, quickly, to have him on her lap, and she held him that way for the two stops we were on, chatting with him, and with me. But then, she was South African, not English.

GeorginaA Mon 09-Oct-06 08:29:07

The mixer taps not joining together at the bottom (so you get a cold stream and a hot stream without it mixing properly) is a safety thing - they have to be used when attaching to the mains so water from the hot tank doesn't feed back to the mains water...

Basically, many things to do with water & electric in the bathroom that annoy are to do with stricter safety regulations in the UK.

bloss Mon 09-Oct-06 08:34:02

Message withdrawn

GeorginaA Mon 09-Oct-06 08:36:40

Well FIL was an electrician & boiler engineer so I think he knows the safety regulations more than anyone

harpsichordcarrion Mon 09-Oct-06 08:42:41

what I always hear is:
church fetes, esp raffles and the sacred tombola

ScareyCaligulaCorday Mon 09-Oct-06 08:57:38

Well I'm not a foreigner but one thing I've never been able to get is the bizarre idea they have about putting the heating on "on the 15th October/ 1st October/ 31st October" and then turning it off again on the 1st march/mid march/ end march, irrespective of how bloody cold it is.

I've stopped accepting invitations to people's houses between the months of September - November and March - May when it's cold, unless I know the people well and know their heating will be on.

bloss Mon 09-Oct-06 09:37:27

Message withdrawn

DumbledoresGirl Mon 09-Oct-06 10:02:56

Superloopy, the point of washing up bowls in the sink is that you can still throw any dregs/dirty water etc that your dirty dishes may contain down the sink without soiling the washing up water. (I know some people have a second sink or a small sink beside the big one for just such a purpose, but most houses only have a single sink.)

That said, I recognise your wonderment as my in-laws are Australian and my FIL scoffs about washing up bowls in sinks too.

BTW, when I asked about paper bags with no handles, I did realise that paper bags with handles would mean the weight of the groceries might rip out the bottom of the bag! What I meant was, why not plastic bags with handles?

DumbledoresGirl Mon 09-Oct-06 10:05:10

Also, the dog poo in the street is surely not a big problem these days is it? most places seem very clean nowadays and loads of dog poo bins in parks, open spaces. I hardly ever see a dog poo on the street nowadays whereas when I was a child it was the norm. I realised things had improved when I went to Paris a couple of years ago. There you can hardly use the pavements or gutter at all - DISGUSTING!

expatinscotland Mon 09-Oct-06 10:05:19

Re: the washing bowls in the sink.

I don't know about Aus, but in the US, most places have double sinks.

So they wash up in one and rinse in the other, thereby cutting out the need for the basin.

This is why I think the basin is a bit of a foreign concept for them.

expatinscotland Mon 09-Oct-06 10:06:11

The pavements here I find disgusting, although I no longer notice them much anymore.

Load of dog poo, and vomit and blood.


DumbledoresGirl Mon 09-Oct-06 10:08:40

Oh Expat, that sounds disgusting! Ever thought of moving south where people can be a bit more civilised?

Truly, the poo problem is a lot less than it used to be.

expatinscotland Mon 09-Oct-06 10:09:22

Our council is pants, DG.

Earlybird Mon 09-Oct-06 10:11:22

No idea if it's less than it used to be, but lots of uncollected dog poo on pavements around my part of central London.

DumbledoresGirl Mon 09-Oct-06 10:16:50

I have lived or know well a variety of places (Hampshire, Cornwall, Lake District, Sussex, Warwickshire, Bedfordshire and now Gloucestershire - also know London well but will exclude that place!) - admittedly all well to do counties or places of outstanding natural beauty - and I really do think the chance of seeing dog poo is very small. I even live next to a riverside walk and walk it 3-4 times a day and have only seen a turd there once in the last couple of months. (There are also dog poo bins quite frequently placed). I really thought dog owners were more responsible these days. I feel a bit sad to think my experience is not the norm throughout the country.

lucy5 Mon 09-Oct-06 10:35:01

Been reading this thread with interest as I am a brit living in a foriegn country. Most of what you say I agree with, i am now a convert to mixer taps .

But I can honestly say that the last time I lived in England, the streets where I lived weren't flowing with dog poo and I have never heard anyone use the term oriental except maybe about a carpet. I think the common term is Asian, which is one hat fits all, covering a huge amount of the world, which is not great either. I also agree that the word chinky is truly awful and makes me cringe and being totally English I think it's a class thing

Daemara Mon 09-Oct-06 10:36:48

I still don't get the full english breakfast thing. Why would anyone want baked beans at breakfast? fried toast? a grilled tomato? What?

TV Licenses

car tax, road tax and petrol tax

Caravan holiday parks, why stay in a caravan that doesn't actually go anywhere when the point of a caravan is so that you can travel with comfort.

English food to take away at the Chinese. (isn't the point of going to the Chinese to get chinese and not egg and chips.

Mushypeas there is just no reason for they. ewww

binge drinking culture

Earlybird Mon 09-Oct-06 10:42:46

Definitely not overflowing with dog poo - didn't mean to imply that. But, dd and I walk to school each morning (I guess shortly after dog owners have had their early morning walk), and we do probably half a dozen skips/hops to avoid a messy step during our mile long walk to school.

I'm surprised that no one else has responded to my moan earlier about how complicated/stressful it is to buy property here. Maybe it's not a problem to others....

expatinscotland Mon 09-Oct-06 10:43:58

It's a non issue for me, Earlybird.

Will be a lifelong renter here.

That's not altogether a bad thing, seeing is how messed up the system is.

Mum2FunkyDude Mon 09-Oct-06 10:45:49

Terrace houses, semi-detached houses, driving past skips with entire perfectly fine kitchen or bathroom units (what a waste, at least try and sell) I had a fridge to give away (nothing wrong with it), a cheeky school leaver moving into a new flat first time, declined!!!!! if the fires do not do any damage to the environment, hunting defenceless cuddly animals for fun...if you hunt please have the decency to eat what you kill, high taxes, Shit private medical aid system, dole!, small parking spaces, narrow roads, school system, reading about diseases kids get at nursery school that I never even heard of, Christmas cards and cards all year round!, putting up with crap and never complaining, voting labour back in....I'll stop now before I get blasted!

Redlorry75 Mon 09-Oct-06 10:48:33

I am Brit born and bred and dont get the Archers either - unless it's with lemonade

However we have no sockets in the bathroom because our power supply runs at the exact same voltage which can stop a human heart - which is dangerous enough on it's own, but mix it with water and you would really make a mess - besides, that's what batteries are for

expatinscotland Mon 09-Oct-06 10:49:17

Cards, though. Well, I'm from the South (US), where cards and all things crafty are a passion.

As is randomly baking foods for work colleagues, friends, neighbours, etc.

Our streets are full of dog poo. The local council has started arresting people for not picking up after their dogs in the local park (hurrah! finally!) so that's really improved, so people who can't be bothered picking up just get them to poo in the street. I'm in East London.

I still don't actually know what a "tombola" is. I also don't get "pass the parcel" and plimsoles (not even a word! never mind a shoe!).

I am a bit of a convert to the washing up bowl, except now we have a double sink, so it's gone .

I don't think anyone has ever actually eaten a grilled tomato. The taste is gross. The texture is worse. Maybe grilled tomatoes are actually poisonous, only nobody's noticed coz nobody's eaten them?

expatinscotland Mon 09-Oct-06 10:50:07

All alcopops are nasty!

Those are to drink when you're 14 and just experimenting and only the boys are drinking beer from the kegger in the fair grounds .

expatinscotland Mon 09-Oct-06 10:52:34

I agree, Mum2, about the diseases.

It's a source of profound curiosity to my sister, who has two daughters aged 12 and 9, brought up in Texas.

My dad was like, 'Scarlet fever!? Huh? I had scarlet fever in 1942. Who gets scarlet fever in the 21st century!? '

Earlybird Mon 09-Oct-06 10:53:42

Expat - guess I was lucky to have got onto the property ladder 10 years ago when things were more affordable.

However, a few times a year I have a "nervous breakdown" about desperately needing more space. But, I quickly calm down when I hear friends talk about their nightmare experiences. The challenge of financing something larger is almost as much of an issue as the stress of finding/buying another property. It seems to be a process that dominates the life of whoever is going through it for the better part of a year.... and I've never heard of anyone who's had a smooth experience unless they are chain free.

We have two bidets and we use them both, fantastic for washing the kids and perfect for when they were tiny. And great for bums too!

expatinscotland Mon 09-Oct-06 10:54:49

I deal w/my lack of space nervous breakdown by internally screaming pretty much every day.

expatinscotland Mon 09-Oct-06 10:56:07

My sister with her shocked, 'My lawd! How do you live like this?'

Her husband, bless his soul. 'It's a fine enough place. But I'm afraid I'd be making for that harbour and jumping ship soon enough if I had to stay here.'

Redlorry75 Mon 09-Oct-06 11:00:02

Expat - when you said about alcopops were you referring to Archers?? It is not a an alcopop - it is a very nive peach liquer - if I remember rightly as am 7.5 mnths PG, and it's been a long time snce any alchol crossed my lips.

Just for the record - Dh and I would love to emigrate to USA! Have been there loads of time and love the way things are made easy for you - although a bit cross Pr Bush doesnt have much consideration for environmental issues - but thats for another thread!

Earlybird Mon 09-Oct-06 11:01:53

yes expat, I keep telling myself "it's not cramped, it's cozy!"

expatinscotland Mon 09-Oct-06 11:02:35

Thanks for hte clarification, Red.

I don't much care for sweet drinks like alcopops and liquers, except when the latter is mixed into a smooth drin , so I thought Archers was an alcopop.

It doesn't sound like something I'd drink.

Redlorry75 Mon 09-Oct-06 11:02:36's cramped!

expatinscotland Mon 09-Oct-06 11:04:36

, Earlybird. As opposed to, 'I'm fixin' to bust in this place!' 'I'm fit to be tied in this place!'

eidsvold Mon 09-Oct-06 11:07:24

never did work out what a tombola was...

guy fawkes - huge bonfires and fire crackers - potential for disaster - stupid oiks letting them off from Nov5 til New Year

we have 240 volts in Aus and have never ever managed to electrocute myself - neither has anyone I know or have come across.

oh yes - bovril - retching just thinking of it.

yes - washing up bowls - only have a single sink here but do not use washing up bowl....

Earlybird Mon 09-Oct-06 11:15:43

yes, as I turn sideways to edge past the ironing board propped up in the entry hall corner, I think to myself "better get to a museum quick so I can remind myself why it's a good idea to pay a fortune to live in a shoebox in central London"!

janinlondon Mon 09-Oct-06 11:16:04

People who say that driving an automatic car is not really driving and that you're not in control with an automatic, and then roar off up the road in first gear for the first two miles, apparently unable to hear that ghastly noise? Not sure I can agree with lots of things here though - we have 12 times the population density of the US and most of our plumbing and streets are Victorian, so the lack of off street parking, separate laundries, extra bathrooms and decent plumbing is really an historical thing. But I agree that conveyancing is unnecessarily and frighteningly complicated, there is no known logic for a basin in a sink or carpet in a bathroom, and the lack of electrical outlets in bathrooms is a mystery - people seem to resist immersing their toasters in their kitchen sinks while washing up - can't imagine why they would have problems in the bathroom...? Not sure about the no preventive medicine thing? We are offered cervical and breast screening during most of our sexually active adult lives completely free of charge?

janinlondon Mon 09-Oct-06 11:19:39

Hey I looked up Scarlet Fever incidence in the US - about 1% of the population still get it.

expatinscotland Mon 09-Oct-06 11:33:41

This thread isn't a UK v. other countries - as you noticed, there are expats here not just from the US but France, Germany, Aus, etc.

No need to take it so seriously.

Most of us who are expats here are married to British people and have British kids, so it's not mean to slag anyone.

I can't be bothered to look up how many people getting freakin' scarlet fever, tbh.

Never heard of anyone getting it growing up, though.

The NHS is free at the point of service.

But definitely not free of charge! One look at the wage slip proves otherwise.

I'm sure there are reasons for all these things, but I really didn't mean this as a "why the UK sucks" thread, and I don't think it is, really.

Although if you want to defend the existance of cryptic crosswords and the national addiction to tea, go ahead ;-)

expatinscotland Mon 09-Oct-06 11:39:55


I get that completely!

In fact, you'll find a lot of Southerners addicted to iced tea, and when you point out that they're nothing but little tea drinkers clinging to the habits of their forefathers, they get all bent out of shape.

expatinscotland Mon 09-Oct-06 11:42:26

My sister owns an iced tea maker!

Yes, indeed.

And she's not alone.

Plenty of folks at my office in Denver pitched in to buy an iced tea maker for the office kitchen.

janinlondon Mon 09-Oct-06 11:43:43

Sorry Expat - I was working on a paper about childhood illness - not something I usually do! Didn't mean to upset you.

GeorginaA Mon 09-Oct-06 11:43:52

Iced tea - WTF is THAT all about, eh?! Never did see the point...

expatinscotland Mon 09-Oct-06 11:45:46

I'm not upset, but you seemed to be.

Nothing like iced tea on a REALLY hot day.


expatinscotland Mon 09-Oct-06 11:46:58

The heat in the Southern US gets unbearable, especially b/c it's sooooo humid, too.

You get a huge tumbler full of iced tea, w/plenty of lemon.

It just hits the spot.

And a lovely, icy mint julep of an evening, before supper.

GeorginaA Mon 09-Oct-06 11:49:51

Hmm, not convinced. You want something cold and caffeinated, you buy a coke!

Ok, you've named the beverage that's grosser than hot tea, iced tea. It's so sweet. Gah.

The point of hot tea is to make boiled water not taste gross, as historically, unboiled water wasn't safe (cholera etc). But the tap water is safe now! No need to boil it and steep little weird bags of leaves in it, you can just drink the stuff!

(And wtf is an iced tea maker, don't you just make tea, cool it, add sugar and lemon, and drink it?)

expatinscotland Mon 09-Oct-06 11:53:12

Tea is soooo yummy! Much better than water.

And it gives you that warm feeling in your veins.

Also, an article published by the BBC last week reported the results of a study which found a cuppa helps you cope w/stress on a biochemical level.

Long live the cuppa!

The iced tea maker makes it comes out cold. No need to wait for your brew to cool down or melt a bunch of ice and have it all watered down and gross.

Lipton has 'cold brew' bags now, too, which will do in a pinch.

My fav is sun tea.

I freeze the syrup from canned fruit into ice cubes and use it to sweeten my iced tea.


GuppinBuppin Mon 09-Oct-06 11:58:28

oh iced tea! I miss iced tea!
whenever we go back to canada we send a care package to ourselves filled with iced tea, aunt jemima syrup, stovetop stuffing, shake'n'bake, cheez whiz, miracle whip, some chocolate bars you cn't get over here, etc....
it costs a bomb but its; sooo worth it!"

expatinscotland Mon 09-Oct-06 12:00:08

Shake n Bake is brilliant!

blueshoes Mon 09-Oct-06 12:02:32

why so many adults and children have such sweeeeet tooths. find most sweets cloyingly sweet.

I love it here!

janinlondon Mon 09-Oct-06 12:03:15

I know I'm goping to regret this, but what is Cheez whizz???

expatinscotland Mon 09-Oct-06 12:04:43

Cheez Whizz is nasty.

Cheese-its are yummy.

So is Hershey's syrup, especially if it's drizzled into your mouth after a squirt of whipped cream from a can.

meowmix Mon 09-Oct-06 12:08:40

I never got the point of ice tea in the UK but now I'm overseas and its flipping hot it makes perfect sense. There used to be thsi awful Lift stuff in the UK which was meant to be ice tea and god it was sweet. The real stuff is nothing like that

ditzymum Mon 09-Oct-06 12:20:44

Grilled tomatoes are yummy!

Ok, ditzymum, please put up your postal address, I'll mail you all the ones I get (when I forget to say "no tomato please").

expatinscotland Mon 09-Oct-06 12:21:42

Mmmm, grilled tomatoes!

I agee!

An important part of any full on Scottish fry up brekkie.

hannahsaunt Mon 09-Oct-06 12:27:06

Expat - chips with brown sauce is an Edinburgh/Lothians thing. Not available where we are (NE Scotland) and I miss it! Heavenly .

expatinscotland Mon 09-Oct-06 12:36:42

That 'sauce' just tastes like glue, IMO.

The first time DH and I went out 'for a chippy' and he ordered a 'pizza supper' w/brown sauce, it was all I could do not to hurl.

Even DD1 likes brown sauce. She'll eat anything Scottish w/relish, even haggis.

It was years before I started eating chips w/o ketchup.

When we got a chippy in Blair Atholl, though, poor DH asked shyly, 'Is there nae sauce then?'

You could see their Heilan' minds working away, thinking, 'No, you sad Lowland git.'

DumbledoresGirl Mon 09-Oct-06 12:49:51

The taste of a grilled (or fried) tomato is one of the most evocative in my personal experience. I can never eat one without being transported back to my childhood and cooked breakfast every day but Sunday (wow my mother was superwoman!) and cold frosty mornings, walking to school. I can understand some of you lamenting the lack of things from your own upbringing, like sockets (not plugs!) in bathrooms and automatic cars, but how can anyone object to a grilled tomato?!

expatinscotland Mon 09-Oct-06 12:51:28

i love a scottish breakfast w/grilled tomatoes.

something about grilled tomatoes w/toast. and beans. and mushrooms and fried egg and bangers and rashers or lorne sausage.


more for us!

meowmix Mon 09-Oct-06 12:56:31

lorne sausage! oh expat please have some lorne sausage for me. And a potato scone. or two.

GeorginaA Mon 09-Oct-06 12:57:09

Oh damn, I really want a fried breakfast now. I hate you all

WideWebWitch Mon 09-Oct-06 12:59:54
Astrophe Mon 09-Oct-06 16:07:20

Ooooh, well tea is one thing I LOVE about living here (although TBH the tea selection in Sydney in much larger than here in Derby - but I'm sure London etc are better) - I love that its a habit and I think making and drinking tea is very relaxing and sociable. Mmmmmmm

BUT - what is the deal with the 1p and 2p coins? I am drowning in them! Why do we still have them? Its madness.

Astrophe Mon 09-Oct-06 16:08:44

AND, why is it legal to drive onto the wrong side of the road in order to park on the opposite side of the street - facing the wrong way. Its so dangerous!

rustycreakingdoorbear Mon 09-Oct-06 16:12:05

btw for the people who said rather plaintively that they still don't know what a tombola is:
It's a kind of raffle, often held at school fairs, where the prizes have tickets stuck on them with numbers.You use a book of raffle tickets, which has 2 copies of each number, and you put (for example) the numbers ending in 0 and 5 from one set on the prizes. You then fold up all the tickets from other set and put them in a box or other container.
You sell tickets at say 25p each, or 5 for £1 -the buyer chooses their tickets from the box. If they have a 5 or 0 on the end, they win a prize. If not, they don't.
A bottle tombola is a very good way of making money if you can get people to give you the bottles - but you do have to make sure an adult is there for a child to collect a prize.
You probably do this in other countries, but just call it something else.
If I can be bothered i might just try to find out where the name came from.

rustycreakingdoorbear Mon 09-Oct-06 16:15:52

OK, it comes from the Italian 'tombolare' meaning to tumble or fall upside down, presumably from when you 'tumble' the tickets to mix them.
If you're posh yoiu can have a tombola drum with a handle to turn it, but a box with a hole in the top does just as well.

You probably didn't want to know as much as this about Tombola.

franca70 Mon 09-Oct-06 16:28:16

Tombola, one of my nonna's (grandma) favourite things at xmas. also being italian I don't find taxes particularly high in this country. sorry, I know this won't make me v. popular...

EmmyLou Mon 09-Oct-06 16:45:47

To go back to the OP, surely the whole purpose of the Archers is to make you question "Why?" (whilst banging your head against the too small fridge).

Tea is actually thirst quenching - don't find coffee hits the same spot, just leaves me wanting a drink of water.

Dog poo. Hate it - daily menace to us but only saw some ONCE during a five week stay in Melbourne.

BTW, my DD1 had Scarlet Fever when she was 3.

Am UK born (but have lived abroad) but love reading what you 'foreigners' hate about us!

InvisiblePinkUnicorn Mon 09-Oct-06 18:59:53

Not rinsing dishes in water after washing with detergent. Not sure how many people do that but I saw an English lady doing that regularly at her home.

harpsichordcarrion Mon 09-Oct-06 19:06:14

no no I disagree it is essential to know what a tombola/raffle is, otherwise you will never get to grips with English life. my (American) friend phsl about it. she says whenever you get more than five English people together they get an irresistible urge to raffle something. she was particularly amused to note that the promotional literature for her wedding venue boasted that they could provide a raffle drum.

saggarmakersbottomknocker Mon 09-Oct-06 19:42:48

My ds had scarlet fever too.

Chips and gravy is better than chips and brown sauce. But it has to be from the chippy.

NotSoUseless Mon 09-Oct-06 20:35:53

Invisiblep... the dishes thing gets to me everytime.

Frizombie Mon 09-Oct-06 20:52:51

Guppinbuppin, Aunt Jemimas stuff is available in Selfridges

I agree, hc, english people do feel an urge to raffle something (either normally, or via their bizarre "tombola" ritual) whenever they congregrate in groups.

Redlorry75 Tue 10-Oct-06 10:55:06

Woukld like to say in defense of the tonbola and raffle that government or even local governemtn funding and support is so bad the us English peeps always turn to these methods of as tried and tested fund raisers. Just happens prizes for a Tombola ar usually donated by individual - therefore years old bars of soap. And raffles are mostly a bit more hi-spec and prizes are donated by businesses.
You non-English are so funny to read

Redlorry75 Tue 10-Oct-06 10:59:17

Guppinbupin. There is a shop called Lets Eat here in the Uk that imports all the foods you mentioned and sells them - albeit at hugely inflated prices. But we always make up a hamper from there for my DH's Grandad's birthday as it reminds him of his favorite holiday destinations.
I think they have a website, but can't find it right now!

Redlorry75 Tue 10-Oct-06 11:02:32


hope this link comes out for Lets Eat

GeorginaA Tue 10-Oct-06 11:04:06
Redlorry75 Tue 10-Oct-06 11:05:14

I followed the instructions - how'd ya do that?

Red lorry, your link was good, you just needed to:

a) leave out the final / on the link
b) end it with a \ and a "name", iyswim. GeorginaA used "Lets Eat Direct" as the name.

Anchovy Tue 10-Oct-06 11:35:45

Haven't read all of this, but last weekend I was taking DS to a party in a softplay centre which was very close to our well known and extremely popular local municipal dump/tip. <Proud to live in an area where we have what the Evening Standard call the best tip in London emoticon>.

As ever, there was a long queue of cars waiting to get into it. I met up with one of DS's classmates and her parents, who are Australian, and the father said "are the queing for a shop or something?" Me: "No, they are going to the dump". And they literally could not understand what I meant. So I explained. And they still could not see the attraction. They kept saying - but is it recycling? do you swap things? do you get paid for doing it?

(When I got home DS said thoughtfully. "I'll go and pick DS up from the party as there are a couple of things I want to take to the dump".)

Ah, foreigners. How can they not see how essential a municipal tip is to your quality of life.

Yup, that's definately also something I don't get.

Redlorry75 Tue 10-Oct-06 14:28:09

All non-Brits. When in your native lands and after clearing out your home/garden/garage what do you do with all the broken stuff, or things that you no longer need or want?

EmmyLou Tue 10-Oct-06 15:05:43

When I lived in Warsaw, all stuff was put out by the bins at the back of the flats. I picked up a few nicely 'distressed' pieces of furniture there actually .

To be honest, we couldn't read Polish and just assumed that was what everyone else was doing with their rubbish (other than the day to day stuff that went down the waste disposal chute). They did look bemused at the strange western foreigners taking their old bits of furniture back up in the lift...

We're ALL bloody weird. Every last one of us.

Astrophe Tue 10-Oct-06 15:20:32

I'm an aussie and know what the dump is! I'd call it the 'tip', bUT SAME CONCEPT. Woops sorry, ds playing with keyboard.

I think there are dumps in Canada? I never had a car, so they were irrelevant. There were special Big Rubbish days, a couple per year, when people could put out things like sofas.

Anchovy Tue 10-Oct-06 16:54:12

It was just so strange the way I kept explaining and expecting that I was just going to say one thing that would make them understand. DS's friend's father said really politely "I'm sorry, I really just don't understand what you're talking about". (Bet they sneaked a look on the way home, though!)

Ah, see, but I think an English person in that situation would just nod and pretend to understand ...

mapleleaf Tue 10-Oct-06 19:33:11

Don't quite get why the central heating system is so old fashioned. The radiators are huge and take up too much room, especially given the house sizes. Also do not understand why so many people here wash their dishes and leave the soap on to drip off !! Primary school league tables are also ridiculous IMHO.

USAUKMum Tue 10-Oct-06 19:53:53

Ditto on not understanding the whole central heating and rads thing. Especially when they put them on two walls or under windows ! And I really want *screens for my windows* drives me nuts.

And still don't get Lamb flavoured crisps, or any savoury type really. Why? !

Mum2FunkyDude Tue 10-Oct-06 20:12:59

Pork Pies!

Redlorry75 Tue 10-Oct-06 20:33:46

Mapleaf - I think I speak for most Brit parents when I say we also think primary school league tables are a load of - you know what!

kiskidee Tue 10-Oct-06 20:36:16

radiators are under the windows because cool air seeps in most at the windows with the hot air rising cool air sinking thing, they 'work' best when placed under windows.

insert smug emoticon [here]

expatinscotland Tue 10-Oct-06 20:39:12

i remember the central heat in my house outside Denver, w/the registers/vents in the floor. and how the cats loved to sit over them and the hot air blow over them.

sometimes i dream about that place . . .

hana Tue 10-Oct-06 20:54:50

oh am having a really good time reading this
I so don't get the parking on the side of road in either direction?? makes harder to get out!

and what's with not being able to turn left on a red?
and so many roundabouts! there aer 2, only 2 back from where I come from!!

Redlorry75 Tue 10-Oct-06 21:13:41

Roundabouts!! have you been to Milton Keynes - you can't go half a mile without encountering at least 2!

Being able to turn on a red light is quite nice.

The roundabouts are easy to explain - they make the country seem larger, what with all the going around in circles.

MrsSchadenfreude Tue 10-Oct-06 22:39:37

Where did you live in Warsaw, Emmylou? I lived in Ochota, near the airport, then moved near the prison on Rakowiecka (off Pulawska, near the Supersam and Moskva cinema).

In Belgium we could put out "groot huisvuil" every couple of months or so, where you could basically get rid of anything big and the gypsies would come round and get it before the bin men. We called "groot huisvuil" "Gross Hausfrau". We have a childish sense of humour in our house.

How do I dispose of large things in Milton Keynes? I got a box for my glass, and only had to ring three times before it arrived, bit of a record actually, TV licence took 5 calls and 2 letters and then they mis-spelled my name and got the date wrong.

MrsSchadenfreude Tue 10-Oct-06 22:40:33

Actually, if there are any Dutch speakers or pedants out there, I think it was called Grof Huisvuil, come to think of it.

expatinscotland Tue 10-Oct-06 22:56:47

F*ckin' hell, I just booked a ticket to Texas for next Easter.

For all of us.

I'm going to eat my way through the whole damn state.


eidsvold Tue 10-Oct-06 23:03:30

here in aus stuff that is broken etc - goes to the dump. Usuable but unwanted - charity shops or garage sale or sell through classifieds.

I am sure if I asked what do foreigners in Aus not get - be the same sort of thing.....

okay here's my list:-

1.Making the speaker of the House of Commons sit on something called the Woolsack
2pork pies with egg in (yummy but my US friend does not understand them at all)
3. branston pickle (good stuff!)
4. a game like cricket that seems to have no beginning or end (is the only game I know of where the players stop for a meal)
5. carpet in bathrooms
6. beans on toast
6. milk in bottles
7. Christmas pudding
8. Christmas crackers

However, what other nation in the world could have possibly given us William Shakespeare, Gardeners Question time, the chocolate digestive biscuit and Ordnance Survey maps to name but four?. None of course.

Oh, yes, cricket is on my list. They throw v funny.

Mirage Wed 11-Oct-06 09:02:37

Haven't read most of the thread as have to go to work.
I must live in a paralell universe to most people on here.People in my area always admire babies,chat to you on the bus,in the street ect.

I had to laugh whilst watching CNN on holiday-Daryl Hannah was preaching that we could save the world if we listened to her & air dried laundry instead of tumble drying it!DH was astonished that most people don't own a washing line in the US.

On the Bovril/marmite question,I don't like either.Is the US equivalent 'Beefmato' & 'Clamato'?uRGHHH,clam juice,who thought that one up.

I'm with Saggar,we didn't have an indoor bathroom until about 1974,as there were no sewers in our village.We didn't get mains gas until about 15 years ago.

Amaretto Wed 11-Oct-06 09:08:06

I will have to go the tap issue in the batroom. I had to fight with H to have a one tap bassin when we redid our bathroom...
Also : chip sandwich
carpet in bathroom
Getting drunk just for the sake out it. I don't mean that been drunk is bad but still don't get the 'Oh, I went out last night. I can't remember a thing so that must have been a good night' type of thing.

All the rest : well I guest I just got used to it!

On the good sides (and why I would go back to France) : politness, the ability to stay in a queue wo trying to go in front of someboddy else, how open people are here.

eidsvold Wed 11-Oct-06 11:12:10

chip butties - oh yum.....

miss getting milk in bottles delivered by the milkman - now here in Aus - cardboard or plastic cartons/bottles.

eidsvold Wed 11-Oct-06 11:13:06


LiliLaTigresse Wed 11-Oct-06 11:18:31

anyone mentioned pork scratchings yet??
WHY??????? (obviously scarred by dh buying me some in a pub years and years ago)
thread is too long to read now but I don't get the no mixer taps, the 'drinking until you're drunk is fun' mentality, the wearing tiny summer clothes to go out in winter, the love of the lilac colour (puke)............

girlinfrance Wed 11-Oct-06 11:24:10

I'm a Brit in France and find myself cursing French bathrooms all the time. Why don't they have loos in their bathrooms? What's wrong with a loo in the bathroom, so long as it's not the only loo in the house? There are times when you just need to do everything at once

Oh and we have lived in houses where there was no washbasin in the loo. Yukkety yuk.

LiliLaTigresse Wed 11-Oct-06 11:25:19

no no no, loos in the bathroom are horrid and not logical hygiene-wise!!!

KTeepee Wed 11-Oct-06 11:38:09

Has anyone mentioned that when it is your birthday you have to buy the drinks/cakes?

Oh god, that is so weird isn't it. Also you have to buy your own leaving drinks! WTF!

eidsvold Wed 11-Oct-06 11:40:09

oh yeh that's right - your birthday - you buy the cake.... very strange.

expatinscotland Wed 11-Oct-06 11:40:52

No indoor toilet till the '70s?

For real?!

LiliLaTigresse Wed 11-Oct-06 11:43:04

and I'm sorry but proper 'eclair au chocolat' are not filled with cream , they are filled with a chocolate cream ganache type
I should know it's my favourite cake and I cannot get it here

I really miss those towering mousse type things, although I shouldn't any more, as there's a Patisserie Valerie, and a Paul, reasonably near me. Oh, and Apostrophe is good for French food, too.

I like loos that aren't in the bathroom, but you really do need a little hand sink in there, don't you?

LiliLaTigresse Wed 11-Oct-06 11:49:55

We need a good french patisserie in Bristol
the only good thing about living in Guildford was Maison Blanc YUM

rustycreakingdoorbear Wed 11-Oct-06 12:04:40

Attila: it's not the Speaker in the House of Commons who sits on the Woolsack, it's the Lord Chancellor in the House of Lords. Originally (14th century) it was stuffed with English wool to symbolise the main source of England's wealth, but now it is stuffed with wool from all the Commonwealth countries to symbolise unity.

But the House of Lords has no authority over the Commonwealth any more, does it?

clop Wed 11-Oct-06 12:17:53

Culture of envy.
Culture of resentments (although that's less a tradition now than it used to be).
The racist version of eenie meenie miney moe being the traditional/normal version.
The constant running themselves down (gets tiresome).
The socially deprived underclass/socially excluded.
The subculture that thinks that "paki" is an ordinary word, and tells anyone without the same accent as them to F off back to their own country.

I like or at least don't mind the other stuff people said (I guess that's why I live here). You CAN get screens on windows, it's really funny it's being marketed as this exciting new idea.

Agree with Astrophe about the driving/parking on the wrong side of the road. I think technically Highway code says you shouldn't, but it;s like parking on pavement or driving with a mobile, "everyone" does it even though they shouldn't.

Drivers think they have the right of way to drive over pavement if it's into their home driveway, so dangerous when you have children walking on pavement.

On the whole I think there's even more I don't get about my home culture, though.

eidsvold Wed 11-Oct-06 12:18:11

nope it doesn't - not here in Aus anyway.

rustycreakingdoorbear Wed 11-Oct-06 12:23:05

The House of Lords doesn't really have authority over anything, NQC, it's just a symbol.For the Commonwealth countries who still share our Queen, you could say that the Lord Chancellor is a representative of the Queen, as originally he was an official of the King's Court rather than a politician.

lucy5 Wed 11-Oct-06 12:23:13

Clop, Where do you live? I think your first paragraph is a bit harsh, either that or people where you are, live in a 1970's time warp.

Mixer taps in the bathroom? No thanks - they have them in France and I always hit my head when cleaning my teeth.

clop Wed 11-Oct-06 12:36:28

Lucy5, I've lived in Midlands and East Anglia.

There was this thing in the Daily Telegraph about 2 years ago about saying that some version of Eenie Meenie Miney Moe in an American movie was PC. I had to have DH explain to me what version he grew up with and the Telegraph readers would all know. I was horrified.

I think culture of envy is still very strong. Maybe the resentment thing (where someone is your best friend but won't say anything directly then it all blows up at you one day and they never speak to you again, either) has gone. That really shocked me.

I had someone tell me just a few weeks ago to F off back to my country, this country is for English people, etc. (I'm white and a native English speaker)... all because I asked him to control his dog who had tried to bite my son in a public park (I was polite and barely said anything, honest; he was a an old man out with his young grand-daughters).

Actually, I could have added to that list the social divisions. It seems to me like people might be more isolated and insulated in their own social class/community in Britain than in most other developed countries.

Mirage Wed 11-Oct-06 12:41:28

Yes,Expat,for real.We had no indoor toilet until I was about 6.We had a little shed at the bottom of the garden with a wooden bench seat with a big tin container under it.It was emptied once a week.
We were only 10 miles away from the nearest city,but may as well have been on the moon.We had no mains sewers until 1974,no gas supply until the 1990's & one bus a day.

I moved back here last year & we still have red phoneboxes & our post boxes have King George's initials on them rather than the Queens.

Agree with the poster about the government trying its best to get rid of English traditions.

slug Wed 11-Oct-06 13:34:23

Class system - totally beyond me. I should be subservient to you because your daddy was rich??? Why???

Over heated houses and air freshners - have you people never heard of windows? Why to you seal your houses during 9 months of the year?

Not talking to strangers - I'm in London so it's probably worse here. I'll talk to anyone on the tube, especially when inebriated.

Throw away consumer culture. - Why don't you hand down and recycle? And why do you have to have everything new every few years?

Being 'proud' of being uneducated. - I can't count the number of people who proudly tell me they 'Can't do maths' As if that was something to be proud of.

Toilets in bathrooms. I can understand the space considerations, but so unhygenic.

Private schooling.- study after study shows it is no better than state education and if anything perpetuates inequality in society and yet there is still hysteria if one can't get Tarquin into the best local school so one will have to privately school him. No you don't. A private tutor is much more cost effective if you are worried about their educational attainment.

Why do people feel the need to get out diaries to book social appointments? Does nobody just drop around in this culture?

Supermarkets - The first time I visited one here I got the giggles. Cans of tuna, can of tuna with sweetcorn, can of tuna with mayonaise, can of tuna with sweetcorn and mayonaise. Can you not mix things for yourself?

Page 3. Why is there no outrage at the blatant portrayal of women as nothing but sexual bimbos?

I could go on......

SnowFall Wed 11-Oct-06 14:06:16

A couple of new ones:
- Washing Machines with no cold cycle - everything shrinks!
- The archaic banking system! Why does it take 2-3 days for the bank to transfer money even if it's between my own accounts!? This takes around 2-3 seconds in Aus! Also taking hours to print up a bank cheque?

lucy5 Wed 11-Oct-06 14:16:35

Wow Clop, that's an eye opener. I don't live in England anymore, maybe i'm wearing rose coloured spectacles.

Hmm, a lot of this much be regional. Or (ahem) class-based. I certainly don't hear "paki" or similar words ever.

Also, um, where isn't there a class system? Canada and America are theoretically classless, at least according to some, but they obviously are not.

SnowFall Wed 11-Oct-06 14:30:50

The sub-culture that considers "Paki" a normal word is probably the Aussies. In Aus "Paki" is considered a nick-name like "Aussie", "Kiwi" or "Pom" and it is even used during cricket commentary!

TartanTeddy Wed 11-Oct-06 14:32:05

This has been a really good-natured fun thread until the last few postings (yes clop and slug, I mean you) Do you have some sort of chip on your shoulder? I think Britain's a brill place to live where we can all indulge our idiosyncracies without being jailed and I really like supermarkets, as I'm too lazy to mix my own tuna and sweetcorn

harpsichordcarrion Wed 11-Oct-06 14:33:21

expat, plenty of people didn't have indoor loos/bathrooms in the seventies. There was a big refurb programme on the council houses where I lived, during the 70s, to put bathrooms in upstairs.
when I was a child I lived in a row of tied cottages and we had one shared bathhouse with loos and we did our washing in there too. it was cool actually very friendly.

EmmyLou Wed 11-Oct-06 14:33:51

MrsSchadenfreude - I lived on the top floor of some flats on Waszyngtona, between Saska Kempa and Grochow (had a great view over the park down to the Palace of Culture). But it seems so long ago now and I've just had to consult a map to jog my memory .

The things I missed from/about the UK when living abroad sometimes overlap the things that the non-Brits don't 'get': especially Marmite and baked beans...until you can't get 'em, you just don't know how much you liked them

harpsichordcarrion Wed 11-Oct-06 14:34:52

oh yes and class/poverty/social division/racism are entirely confined to the UK never happens anywhere else, that's for sure

expatinscotland Wed 11-Oct-06 14:40:46

Not all British people 'get' Marmite, though.

Many find it minging.

My Scots husband can't even abide the smell of it.

EmmyLou Wed 11-Oct-06 14:41:52

In Warsaw you were judged by your shoes...

saggarmakersbottomknocker Wed 11-Oct-06 15:13:08

Expat <<<No indoor toilet till the '70s?

For real?! >>>>

No blimmin running hot water, one coal fire and no other heating either. You can see why once we got a bathroom mum went into overdrive and put carpet down

Agree about the banking system.

saggarmakersbottomknocker Wed 11-Oct-06 15:13:51

Marmite - yuk and even worse, Bovril.

lucy5 Wed 11-Oct-06 15:32:23

harpsi and Tartan, good I thought it was me! Stereotypes and all that! Perhaps we need an a sarcastic emotion, i don't think my post was clear enough. oh well put my rose coloured specs back on

slug Wed 11-Oct-06 16:03:43

Sorry TartanTeddy if I uset you I didn't mean to. After 12 years in the country I still don't understand why you need so many cans of nearly identical products. It just strikes me as incredibly wasteful.

And as for the class system, it is a real shock not to get a job because it went to some bimbo whose daddy could afford to send her to Rodean, so she added some 'class' to the business. (Managers actual words) Never mind she couldn't spell and spent her whole time on the phone arranging dinner dates with chinless wonders and I ended up doing all her work for her anyway, but without the pay.

I have to agree with clop about the racism. I pass as English until I open my mouth and I'm often shocked by the comments people make at bus stops.

slug Wed 11-Oct-06 16:04:30

I decided long ago that the English banking system must employ a fleet of carrier pidgeons.

expatinscotland Wed 11-Oct-06 16:06:05

Hmmm. I hadn't noticed the cans here.

I don't often go to supermarkets, though.

franca70 Wed 11-Oct-06 16:26:51

"Actually, I could have added to that list the social divisions. It seems to me like people might be more isolated and insulated in their own social class/community in Britain than in most other developed countries. "
That is my feeling too. But then again, perhaps it's strikes me more because I'm a foreigner, and I feel I don't belong anywhere. I think that, at least until ten years ago, borders between different classes were more fluid in my country of origin. And I think it was also due to the fact that kids didn't go to private schools that much
. So I went to school and grew up with people from different backgrounds. Mind you, it might have been just my experience. Mind you, my country has many other v. serious social problems. so, please, don't think I'm patronizing or anything.

Astrophe Wed 11-Oct-06 16:32:40

Why don't they pack the groceries into a bag for you at the supermarket? Its actually quicker if they do it as they go IMHO.

Anyone get the 1p and 2p coins?

Am intrigued at someone saying that something they like about the UK is 'how open people are'. Intrigued, because I find exactly the opposite!

quokka Wed 11-Oct-06 16:34:24

people have already said this but I have to say it again Carpet in the kitchen and bathroom is soooo gross! Can you imagine all the bugs and germs that live in it .
Brown pebble dash houses would have to come in second - and I live in one!
The fact that people don't really chat to you. Maybe thats just a london thing, but I'm sure I used to talk more to strangers back home.

quokka Wed 11-Oct-06 16:35:09

thats so true about packing groceries!

expatinscotland Wed 11-Oct-06 16:37:07

ARRGGGH! If I get another person who, upon hearing my name, remarks, 'That's not an American surname . . . ' or hear DD1 speak and exclaim, 'That child has a Scottish accent!' I'm going to run away screaming.

If I had 10p for everytime my husband comes up and the other person says, 'Oh, your husband is Scottish' I'd be rich.

SherlockLGJ Wed 11-Oct-06 16:39:42

If I live to be 100 I will never understand this one.......................

It is your birthday,so you buy the cakes.

quokka Wed 11-Oct-06 16:41:04


expatinscotland Wed 11-Oct-06 16:42:26

Crisp flavours

Now crisps are rank as it is, and only suitable to eat whilst rat-arsed.

But lamb mint or bacon ones?


EmmyLou Wed 11-Oct-06 16:43:32

The only place I had to buy cakes because it was my birthday, was Poland. Is this a north/south divide thing???

quokka Wed 11-Oct-06 16:43:45

don't they do marmites one as well?

Actually, I shared a lovely little bag of Tyrrells crisps that were sausage and mustard flavoured, with quite a kick, the other week.

But yeah, generally crisp flavours are grotty, I only bother if they're from a "nice" brand. Those Walkers Sensations are particularly rank.

(In Quebec, we have "All dressed" crisps, which is so not a flavour. And briefly, when I was a kid, Canada had crisps that were Orange, Cherry and Grape flavoured, and coloured accordingly. Gah.)

SherlockLGJ Wed 11-Oct-06 16:46:07

I have worked in the North, I have worked in the South,

<<< LGJ gets her guitar out as she feels a song coming on>>>>

And I have bought them in the North and I have bought them in the South.

<<<<<<<<<<<All it needs is a tune...........

EmmyLou Wed 11-Oct-06 16:51:01

But...but...all that having to pretend that you didn't know the receptionist had been sent out to buy a cake malarky...I could've just BOUGHT ONE I LIKED, MYSELF?

SherlockLGJ Wed 11-Oct-06 16:53:18

Emmy Lou, with a name like that you could sing my song.

EmmyLou Wed 11-Oct-06 16:53:20

(suggestions for spin off thread: "Things that British born British people just don't get about Britain...")

EmmyLou Wed 11-Oct-06 16:54:47

And I think my spin off thread title could make a catchy chorus.

All together now...

shimmy21 Wed 11-Oct-06 16:58:49

speaking for dh here - why do British people never move down the bus or tube but stand in a big sweaty crowd near the doors?

And for myself -i'd prefer to come from a country where electric plugs are not allowed in the bathroom than dh's country where we had a live socket conveniently placed in the shower of the first flat we rented . I'd blithely assumed it must have been disconnected as I watched the drips run down it. Luckily dh checked it before I found out the hard way that it was live.

Whoowhoobewhooooooh Wed 11-Oct-06 17:13:25

Franca: having read this thread, I made a point of stopping and cooing over a five-week-old baby when walking to the doctors. And I'm a Londoner.

Thing is, in London you're much more likely to have a knife pulled on you for no reason than most other places in the country. (I live near the recent McDonald's shooting incident). Puts you off approaching strangers...

Marmite: Yuck.

Tube-bunching phenomena: because people sitting down are at arse-level, and you might fart? Just an idea.

quokka Wed 11-Oct-06 17:24:59

did she run away or call you a nutter?

Whoowhoobewhooooooh Wed 11-Oct-06 17:33:05

She screamed, stabbed me and her baby called me a ho.

quokka Wed 11-Oct-06 17:38:30


franca70 Wed 11-Oct-06 17:54:21

And I was convinced that london was one of the safest capital city in europe... it must have a v. good pr then!

Whoowhoobewhooooooh Wed 11-Oct-06 17:59:17

Don't worry, I just live in a rough bit.

Which is fine, coz I'm well 'ard, I am.


EmmyLou Wed 11-Oct-06 18:47:49

pmsl @ baby calling you a ho, Whoooo.

Whoowhoobewhooooooh Wed 11-Oct-06 19:01:22

I'm telling you, if that darn baby had been a couple of weeks older...

<Whoo wonders off muttering to herself in order to assuage feelings of impotent rage>

Oh, I do speak to strangers, even in London.

That being said, people comment on it - at our local childcare co-op, about half the parents have come to the co-op via me, and one claims we met because I walked up to her in a park and started talking to her . I don't remember doing this, but it wouldn't be out of character, so I probably did do it.

DH was in a park in Canada in the summer with one of my friends, who was explaining that he makes his own aftershave now. The woman next to them got involved in the conversation, and got his recipe, because she was interested. DH pointed out, that would never happen in the UK. He's probably right.

(But then again, there's a dark side to being overly friendly, some North American women (not me!) will tell other women they don't know about their periods, appropros of basically nothing. So I'd rather have UK standoffishness ... as long as I get my 'foreigner exemption', so I can do what I like.)

quokka Wed 11-Oct-06 19:19:22

aftershave recipe, now thats a first, and he makes it?!

Yeah, he makes it. Apparently he now shaves with a straight razor, so you need something particularly calming afterwards? Or something?

I don't really want to think about it, tbh, why would you shave with a straight razor? Freak.

quokka Wed 11-Oct-06 19:46:18

you said it . I am impressed, does he have any other recipes?

kamikayzed Wed 11-Oct-06 20:17:48

LloydsTSB. What a shite bank, why haven't they been lynched???

Eastenders. When DH's boss asked whether he was watching it tonight (response was no) he was told "You're weird." lol.

I don't think he has any more recipes. I was a bit perplexed by the whole conversation ... the aftershave involves a lot of honey, and is hence very sticky ... not a quality I'd look for in an aftershave, but what would I know?

Hmm, I hated all the banks in Canada, who charge you for things like "making a withdrawal from a machine", even if you only use the machines of your bank. Oh, and they charge you per cheque you write!

And soaps suck everywhere, imo. At least the English ones have normallish-looking people in them, from what I know.

kamikayzed Wed 11-Oct-06 20:44:43

Agree. We don't really watch telly anywhere, just thought the deadly serious "You're weird" was hilarious

Ah, see, DH is v English, but doesn't watch any soaps, or support any football teams, so we're used to weird.

(DS1 has told us, because of the "house" he is in at school, he supports Arsenal. Grr.)

kamikayzed Wed 11-Oct-06 20:49:32

There's no escape lol

kamikayzed Wed 11-Oct-06 20:50:56

I have to say I 'get' things here vastly more than where I'm from (Sydney) - but that's another thread

eli70 Wed 11-Oct-06 21:33:34

Hi there. On top of what you have already said I've always wondered why the majority of you just washes the dishes in a bowl and do not rinse them afterwards under running tap water to take the washing up liquid off and ... why being so fussy about drying them? In my country we have cupboards over the sink purposedly designed to let dishes, glasses etc get dry.
Not a criticism, just a question...

EmmyLou Wed 11-Oct-06 23:09:54

Where are you from eli70?

hana Wed 11-Oct-06 23:21:30

and what's this 'reading' business at university

'Joe Bloggs from Oxford Uni is reading Classics and Latin'...blah blah

what's wrong with 'studying' or 'taking'

and why do consultants go by Mr or Mrs and not Dr - haven't they worked bloodly hard to become doctors, so why don't they use the title?!

eidsvold Thu 12-Oct-06 03:48:40

oh yeh that got me - consultants called mr or mrs or miss but gps called Dr.... very strange.

HauntedsandCastle Thu 12-Oct-06 05:37:19

eidsvold, it's all about their expertise, iirc.

They start off as Miss/Mrs/Mr then when they qualify they become Dr. But the higher they go in their chosen profession depends on if they become a Miss/Mr or stay a DR

Mr/Miss/Mrs is higher in medical/dental fields than Dr. Hence a dentist is a Dr, but once he specialisesms etc and becomes a MR..etc.

HauntedsandCastle Thu 12-Oct-06 05:39:55

specialisesms etc and becomes a MR..etc.

should be "specialises and starts passing more exams, he comes a Mr etc"

Hope that previous post makes sense!

eidsvold Thu 12-Oct-06 07:26:03

I still called them all by their dr X - but did that mainly for dd1 - at least now she can say doctor. Our GP is Dr Michelle..... much easier for dd1 to say than her surname.

bloss Thu 12-Oct-06 07:43:59

Message withdrawn

quokka Thu 12-Oct-06 08:31:29

what about the wait to see one of the little buggers on the NSH (consultants). Thats a whole other thread

Grandad1 Thu 12-Oct-06 08:32:24

In response to the USA demanding that anyone arriving in the USA has a criminal reoord check or a visa is denied.

Anyone entering the UK will now have to have the same treatment.

Plus show a full understanding of the Archers, and demonstrate, they can make drink tea without pulling a face..

And on fear of the Stocks, stop whineing about manual cars and not having plugs in bathrooms


Oh, I thought of another one: fruit and veg stalls. The quality is often lovely, the prices are great ... but why can't I bloody well pick out my own fruit and veg? Why can't I touch the fruit and veg?

I once got into an ... altercation ... with a fruit and veg guy because I wanted to check that the corn wasn't gross.

(Also, why do they have to call me "lover" or "sweetheart" or whatever? This morning's one was clearly not that comfortable calling random women "lover", but did it anyway, maybe it's some sort of bylaw?)

expatinscotland Thu 12-Oct-06 10:57:56

I don't get 'lover', either.

That's too intimate.

Luckily I don't have to worry about that in Scotland.

Just call me 'hen'.

slug Thu 12-Oct-06 12:06:58

Oh yes!! The stalls! What's with that? My suspician is they keep the best stuff in the display and sell you the minging fruit without you realising. I go to the stalls run by Africans because they look at you funny if you don't touch the fruit first. Mind you, I love the cheap bowls of fruit and veg on sale or "A pahhhnnd fer a pahhhnnd" as they say round here.

I was boggled today to find they also have other fruit and veg that's not on display - I asked for Russets, and ta-da! they had them! Grrr, what's wrong with lovely seasonal english apples, rather than crap red "delicious" from somewhere random.

DumbledoresGirl Thu 12-Oct-06 12:29:42

Can I explain the Mr title for seeming doctors? A doctor who is correctly addressed as Mr is actually a surgeon. Other specialists are still addressed as Dr.

Oh, DG, I'm glad you said that - I thought that was how it worked. SIL went from "Miss" to "Dr" and back to "Miss" again, for that very reason. (She became a "Miss" when she became a surgeon, not a consultant.)

Didn't surgeons used to not be doctors? Which is presumably the reason for the distinction?

crazycanuck Thu 12-Oct-06 12:43:17

oh gosh yes, all the wrapped and packaged produce at the grocery stores! and it's usually the organic produce that comes swathed in plastic and styrofoam... even when it's locally grown!

And I find it very off-putting when men who are obviously younger than me (well not 'men' really but teenage boys!) call me 'love'

glad to see that I'm not the only one who doesn't get the lack of mixer taps

I do love the tea though! Though I must admit that I prefer the Tetley tea you get back in Canada. my mom regularly sends me some in a care package, along with Tim Horton's coffee...mmmmmm

DumbledoresGirl Thu 12-Oct-06 12:44:23

NQC, this isn't an official answer but it moreorless covers it:
"It is surgeons who are called Mr usually after they have passed the FRCS
exam (Fellow of Royal College of Surgeons) - this includes the surgical
specialties such as ENT, Ophthalmology, Obstetrics and Gynaecology,
Orthopaedics etc. I think because in 'ye olden times' surgeons were often
barbers and not medically qualified. Some revert to calling themselves Dr
if they then obtain a PhD. Surgeons in training are usually still 'Dr'.
Medical consultants ie physicians, paediatricians, geriatricians etc stick
to 'Dr'" (Copied from another webiste)

Whoowhoobewhooooooh Thu 12-Oct-06 12:49:50

Also re the Mr/Miss/Mrs/Dr issue, I think it's partly a hangover from the tradition in this country of the 'gentleman amateur'.

'Gentlemen' did not become 'professionals' (i.e. akin to trademen).

So it's another class thing.

leanoracat Thu 12-Oct-06 13:26:36

The whole Dr/Mr thing is to dowith the speciality of the doctor. Traditionally, i.e. two hundred years ago, surgeons weren't medically trained as all they did was lop off a limb if the need arose - they tended to have other professions like barber. So the tradition stuck when medically qualified doctors became surgeons - the title Mr?Mrs/Miss for a surgeon is an honorific. Also, you will only qualify to call yourself Mr once you have passed exams that allow you to enter the Royal College of Surgeons. So that is why surgeons are called Mr/Mrs/Miss and all other doctors - physicians, GPs etc are still called Dr.

eli70 Thu 12-Oct-06 13:47:13

For EmmyLou:

Whoowhoobewhooooooh Thu 12-Oct-06 13:50:00

That's what I mean. The 'higher' you get in the profession (and I know that's arguable), the more likely your professional title will be removed.

Class snobbery.

Hmm, not sure I agree with you there - surgeons used to be essentially unqualified, so the "Mr" thing, historically, wasn't really an honorific per se ...

fortyplus Thu 12-Oct-06 17:03:13

No one answered the question about why you buy cakes on your own birthday!

It's obvious, innit? If everyone bought you a cake on your birthday you'd be sick, whereas if you work with 11 other people then on average you get a cake once a month, which is a treat.

Where I used to work we'd go out to lunch on everyone's birthdays and everyone else would chip in to pay for the birthday person's lunch.

Ah, but normally, where I used to work, there was one v sociable person who'd organise cakes, and collect cash for them, and organise a card etc etc etc. So you wouldn't get 11 cakes, you'd only get one!

clop Thu 12-Oct-06 17:21:13

TartanTeddy, I think that was a bit mean. I didn't realise it was supposed to only be a silly thread, maybe it belongs in chat instead? I guess I don't get the point of moaning about someone else's fridge size.

leanoracat Thu 12-Oct-06 17:28:27

Sorry - I meant that NOW it's an honorific. I blame the all day moring sickness and the vestiges of a migraine for my mistake.

tinbus Thu 12-Oct-06 21:10:57

why do they love there celbs and magazines they are so obsense with them

eidsvold Thu 12-Oct-06 21:58:24

here in AUs the people in your office usually get together and organise what they are bringing for your birthday and you have a nice long morning tea

Not everyone's obsessed with celebs - I'm sick to death of them. Do I really want to know that Posh thinks she's got no bum? (Front page of Yahoo today)Or what Kerry's up to this week? What have they done to earn themselves this place on our front pages?

I do find myself flicking through OK or Hello at the hairdresser, though, to see these people who've set themselves up as 'stars' make a*ses of themselves with awful outfits & falling drunk from taxis, and to gawp at their taste-free homes - and weddings, Katie.

I know Brits aren't alone in having celeb mags; my NZ friend buys mags on our Royal Family!

firemaiden Thu 12-Oct-06 23:10:38

Very enjoyable, and instructive, to hear what's good and what's not so good.

I'm afraid i really like people not talking to you on buses/tubes etc (my private time, private space - no interaction, thanks) but can see this is completely anal. I lived in Japan for a year and experienced this from the other side since I was the "outsider" noticing that no one spoke to each other, however I thoroughly approved!

I find everyone coos over babies and find it a bit uncomfortable actually.

Love marmite, hate carpet in bathroom (and would prefer not to have it in rest of house but would be too noisy).

Would love a big house/off street parking/separate laundry room/more than one bathroom .

Have weaned myself off net curtains but miss them (again, a privacy issue).

Can't stand outdoor shoes inside but this is an Asian cultural thing I was brought up with (here). Accept that most of my friends aren't comfortable doing it (and think I'm asking because I want to keep my carpets clean).

fortyplus Fri 13-Oct-06 00:07:07

I am so NOT obsessed with celebs that I usually don't know what people are talking about. Posh who? Someone told me today that John Terry drinks in our local pub sometimes and I didn't have the faintest idea who they were talking about. Apparently Richard & Judy do too - sadly I do know who they are!

Ah, Culture - I was thinking about the differences in Brit culture and 'Abroad'. I've come to the conclusion that ours is a kind of 'milder' version of others, eg:

Where you have the bullfight, we have... Crufts
Where you have the chador, we have ... the shellsuit
You have female genital mutilation, we have ... false nails
NZ rugby dance thingy? We have Morris dancing
Friends, extended family? Replace with Coronation St
And finally....
Where you have ceremonial intoxication
with Arak, schnapps, peyote, ganja,
shisha and hundreds of others,
we have.............. TEA!!

(NB this is just a bit of fun, didn't want to offend anyone, especially the Morris Dancers, fertility rites etc, big blokes bashing their big sticks together)

EmmyLou Fri 13-Oct-06 10:06:46

And Bless those Morris Dancers eh? (shouldn't be rude - they are meant to be well 'ard)

But you could extract the perfect kitchen design from this thread:

1) Italian cupboard over sink for draining plates
2) BIG fridge
3) No minging carpet
4) Separate laundry
5) Tea caddy labelled "Weirdo Brits only - coffee on next shelf"

Anything else?

franca70 Fri 13-Oct-06 13:37:20

lol emmylou
actually I'll whisper this, I'm Italian but I prefer a nice cuppa to an espresso........

merlotmama Fri 13-Oct-06 15:05:08

Having read my way through all of this I would like to say:

It's because car parking spaces are so small that people reverse into them. (Can't get head first into a small space, can you?)

Expat - for an expat you have certainly absorbed and incorporated the patois: 'Boak' and 'minging'! (which I'm convinced originated in Scotland.)

I think a lot of what others see as strange is caused by the need for parsimony, especially re. fuel costs. Why do we never open windows? To keep the heat in. Why do we keep our houses so cold? 'Cos it's too dear to keep them roasting. Likewise, carpets keep rooms cosier and stop draughts coming up between the floorboards.

Once, when I had an American friend and his daughter staying, this cry of alarm came from the bathroom:'Dad, there's cold water coming out of the hot faucet! They lived in an apartment block in the US where the heating was communal. She didn't realise she could - and had - run off all the hot water. Once her Dad moved to England, I kept getting letters complaining about how much it was costing him to heat his flat.

Linnet Fri 13-Oct-06 22:40:23

I find this thread really interesting but...

I don't understand why people keep mentioning how the check out people don't pack your bags for you in the supermarket?

are you too lazy to pack them yourselves?
don't want to offend anyone just curious.

I for one don't like other people packing my bags as they always do them wrong.

Also, North American houses generally don't have timers on heating and hot water - energy is a lot cheaper there. (They probably do have timers now, at least in some places? Maybe?)

Having someone else pack your bags is quite useful if you have two children to deal with, or other stuff going on. Also, if you're not used to packing the bags, you (ok, I) often forget to pack them as you go, if you're distracted, and then it's quite embarassing.

eidsvold Sun 15-Oct-06 07:54:12

the checkout operator packs the bags here - very helpful when I have two little ones to wrangle. Also our checkouts don't have the long conveyer belts like the UK ones do so there is no room made at the end to do it.

However a variety store has just introduced self checkouts - you scan and pay and pack and on your way - handy when you only have a couple of things to get and don't want to cue.

eidsvold Sun 15-Oct-06 07:54:38

oops that should be queue

HauntedsandCastle Sun 15-Oct-06 08:03:07

"I don't understand why people keep mentioning how the check out people don't pack your bags for you in the supermarket"

I shop by myself with LO and as I'm putting the stuff on the belt, the checkout girl is packing it. I like it because I don't feel I have to rush to do it all as I'm holding up the