Saturday, July 17, 2010

Things I'm Discovering in/about England

There are all sorts of foods here that are new to me/us that we are having a good time sampling.  For example, there are several brands of canned soups (in contrast to Greece, wehre we've found none so far), and there are flavors you don't readily find in the U.S.:  Spicy Parsnips, Carrot and Coriander, Oxtail, for example.  There is also a variety of local sausages with mild spices and herbs added, all of them, so far, delicious.  Cheese here is inexpensive.  Other dairy products abound:  clotted cream, double cream (double-thick), custard.  YUM!  Cadbury's makes chocolate in a jar that has the consistency of peanut butter.  I just eat a spoonful of it for dessert.  There are several kinds of pate available too, such as Duck Orange, but Chicken Liver Parfait is still the best we've found thus far. 

If you ask for 'lemonade' you will be served Sprite.  If it's a non-carbonated drink you want, made with lemons and sugar, you ask for lemon squash. 

There are linguistic things I'm learning, too.  For example, in the Scouse dialect, the short u is pronounced like the oo in look or book.  Thus, bus doesn't rhyme with pus, but with pussBut rhymes not with putt but with put.  Also, the Brits don't so often speak of solving a problem as of sorting it (and, less frequently, of sorting it out).  'Right, then, it's all sorted.'

There is a peculiar, strong wind around here that Demetrios says is frequent, but I only heard last night, that moans and wails around the chimneys.  It's just one factor, along with Victorian architecture and misty evenings, that makes it easy to believe in ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night.  (Did you know that is actually a bad translation/corruption of one of St. Basil's prayers?  Lord, Lord, who has delivered us from every arrow that flies by day, deliver us from anything that lurks about in darkness. )

Before crossing streets, you have to look both ways backwards.  That is, we keep forgetting that the traffic is not coming from the direction we expect. 

The lime scale that builds up in the bottom of the tea kettle is easily removed by swishing some vinegar around in the teapot with a brush or Scotch Brite pad.  Rinse well. 

When we go for groceries, we walk back home through Coronation Park, and we stop on a certain bench for 5 minutes and we watch the ducks and swans.  ('The swans watch ME!' Demetrios says, in correction.)  Most swans in the UK belong to the Queen.  If you end up in a fight with one, as Demetrios nearly did, you end up in combat with one of Her Majesty's birds...!

8 comments:

elizabeth said...

sounds lovely (other than a fight with a swan!)...

Chris Jones said...

we keep forgetting that the traffic is not coming from the direction we expect.

Please be super-careful about this. One of my wife's friends lived part of each year in the UK, and she was struck and killed by a motorcyclist because of not expecting traffic to be coming from the right.

DebD said...

yes, please be careful about crossing the street. I've heard of other Americans who have ended up in the hospital for looking the wrong way.

The Cadbury stuff sounds a bit like Nutella. I love that stuff. I wonder how they are different?

The soups sound so interesting. We ordered a "chocolate milk shake" when we were in England in 85 and got chocolate milk instead :)

GretchenJoanna said...

Just the other day a friend and I ordered lemonade in a Mexican restaurant here in California and I think what we got must have been Sprite. I can assure you there was no Lemon Squash on the menu, though.

Anonymous said...

swans can be mean, especially if they think you have food, and they are big enough to hurt

Nina said...

Ooooo...this all sounds so interesting....tell us more!

莊雅和莊雅和莊雅和 said...

人生之中,比冒險更危險的一件事:不去冒險。..................................................

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Yes, we are being super careful!

Deb, Nutella is very similar but better.