Weird? We Brits are not weird...

Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch in Wales

WE Brits, of course, are all perfectly normal. It's the rest of the world that's mad.

So I have rather taken issue with an internet article asking foreigners what they found strange about Britain.

Most of the comments about “weird Britain” were predictable, like our obsession with tea. In fact, an Asian American couldn’t believe it when he visited Cambridge and saw a young man who looked around his mid-twenties drinking tea from a Victorian teapot “with the flower design and everything”.  You could almost hear the shock in his voice as he wrote: “I’m talking about those teapots that appear antiquated and seem like they’re over a hundred years old!”

Queuing was a concept some people found strange. Karen from Denmark said:  "I'm surprised how much you guys are into queueing. It’s unbelievable. And if stares and tutting could kill, people who cut the line would drop like flies." Karen, Karen, Karen. We British know that if there is no orderly queue a breakdown in society soon follows. 

Our reality TV shows seemed to puzzle foreigners and they really couldn’t get their heads around Towie (The Only Way is Essex) or Geordie Shore detailing the exploits of certain fame-obsessed wannabe young people. They’re not alone; they are gibberish to me too.

However, I was rather worried by the man who seemed to think Midsomer Murders was also a reality show, unable to believe that so many dastardly deeds were committed in such a small area. It was, he said: “Worse than Mexican cartel towns.” My non-British friends should know that Midsomer Murders is a fictional detective programme!

Then there was our obsessive politeness with our "polite" responses often hiding what we really mean. So, "We should do this more often," actually means, "I hope I never see you again," and "Oh, how interesting," really means, "I would rather die than listen to you any more."

Do we use a lot of vinegar? Apparently we do. One man called Tobias from Germany commented: "I was surprised how much vinegar they use. On crisps, chips, beans… Yuck!" Nothing wrong with a splash of vinegar, Tobias!

And finally, the pronunciation of place names was baffling to many with one person asking: “How in the name of Lady Jane Grey does ‘Leicester’ only have two syllables?” wrote one bemused visitor. Hopefully he never visits Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch in Wales. Yes, foreign readers, this is an actual place name!

I refrained from adding my comment to the site and telling him that in Devon, where I live, we have two Woolfardisworthys, one in Mid Devon and one in North Devon, and both are pronounced Woolsery. I think he would have exploded.

When it comes to getting older, you have to look on the bright side.

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  1. That is quite a name in Wales. What no pronunciation guide. You never know when you need a name like that.

    I'm with Tobias about the vinegar. I shall heed the warning if I ever get to visit England. Cheers.

  2. "How lucky you English are to find the toilet so amusing. For us, it is a mundane and functional item. For you it is the basis of an entire culture."

    Manfred von Richthofen (the Red Baron)

  3. I'm Australian and for a long time pronunciation of words like Leicester and Worcestershire troubled me, but I got used to it. The rest seems like normal Aussie stuff to me, although a lot of us drink coffee, there are still plenty of tea drinkers around, with the teapots, proper cups and saucers instead of a mug.
    Vinegar is very good for you, helps the liver to counteract the fattiness of all those chips.
    I could never go to Wales with all those weird place names.

  4. I live near Carhampton. Only it's Craampton here...... (you must elongate every flat 'a')

    Tea and queues, and a HUGE variety of biscuits! All much needed in these troubled times.

  5. I shall heed the warning if I ever get to visit England. Cheers.

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