English

Living in the UK: Things They Don’t Teach You – Part 3

Britain is a wonderful, quirky country. When I left the Netherlands in order to move to the United Kingdom over 11 years ago, I was fully prepared to getting used to eating baked beans and to finally have a go at being part of an orderly queue, but I there were a great many facets of British life that I only found out by experiencing them.

Below is the third part of my observations that I could only find out by living here:

  1. It appears to be customary to shout ‘wahey!’ whenever someone drops something in a pub. Dropped your pint? Wahey! Someone slipped in the puddle of beer and fell on the floor? Wahey!
  2. It’s a modern myth that Eskimos have a thousands words to describe different kinds of snow. Even though that may not necessarily be true, I have found out that the British probably do have a thousand words for ‘being drunk’. Hammered, plastered, shit faced, pissed as a fart, rat-arsed, trollied, sloshed, wankered, wrecked… Come to think of it, maybe there are more than a thousand?
  3. Britons get very excited about Christmas adverts from shops they never go to
  4. There appears to be some sort of conspiracy between road surfacers and the windscreen industry. When a road gets resurfaced in Britain, it often only gets covered in a layer of loose gravel that passing cars are supposed to ‘compact’ into a new road surface. Of course, it results in lots of pieces of gravel being launched into windscreens which can only please Gavin from Autoglass.
  5. Many Britons make jokes about the people that shop at Primark, but then often shop at Primark themselves as well
  6. Two words that can fill the heart of almost any Brit with joy are ‘beer garden’
  7. Christmas, apart from being a very popular holiday, also serves as a respite from buying things. The whole of December is geared towards buying things for Christmas, only to be followed by Boxing Day on which you can…. buy more things (or eat leftovers from your Christmas dinner. I still haven’t figured out what boxing or boxes have to do with Boxing Day)
  8. During 11 years of watching the Prime Minister’s Questions, I have never seen a Prime Minister answer a single question. I think people tune in every week to see if it finally may be the week that a genuine answer is provided for a question
  9. Fireworks aren’t all that popular on New Year’s Eve. Instead, many more fireworks are lit to accompany bonfires on which effigies are burnt of a man who failed to blow up Parliament hundreds of years ago. Britons stand around such fires (at a very safe distance) whilst enjoying an overpriced hotdog and then watch the firework show (at an even safer distance). This accompanies another, much newer great British tradition: that of people complaining on Facebook about fireworks.
  10. There is no swearing on TV before 9 PM. However, this only seems to serve the appeal of swearing as a great many Twitter bios contain the words ‘love to swear’

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