"GETTING TO MINEHEAD"
Not long after I landed in Luton Arport in London did I notice what I've been hearing everyone say for years...ENGLAND IS SOOO EXPENSIVE! yep, it is, and London, well, forget about it! What made matters worse is that my debit card with all my money, didn't work, as there was some problem with the bank, and I had only a very limited amout of cash. After the airport shuttle dropped me of somewhere in the city, I had a traditional English breakfast (beans, eggs, and sausage, no SPAM) for a whopping 3 pounds (as cheap as it gets). I felt I had some time before I could try my luck at this hitchiking stuff that everyone's talking about. So, yeah, I saw Parliament, Big Ben, the London Eye, yada yada yada. After a bit if sight-seeing (with unfortunately no pictures as I left my card in Amsterdam at Kris' house), I decided, hey let's get to Minehead, where Marillion Weekend 2005 was taking place; Marillion was scheduled to start at around 10:00pm...and it was 4pm and I was 4 hours away. So I somehow managed to find my way out of town to the motorway leading to Taunton (the closest 'big town' next to Minehead), but after about an hour of thumbing, I realized my hitchiking-rookie nature was showing; I was in a terrible spot, without a sign, looking clueless, so I gave up, and started looking for the closest station that would have a bus leaving to Taunton.
With the help of a friendly Aussie who's name I forgot, I got to Victoria train station, across the street from where the buses leave from. There was a train leaving soon, but I couldn't afford it, there was a bus leaving in a few hours, and it was all i could afford, and that meant arriving to Taunton at around 11pm....just about when Marillion would be starting; and it gets worse, no more buses would be leaving for Minehead at that time.
So there I was, in Taunton, just an hour away from Marillion Weekend, stuck in an outdoor bus station in freezing weather. Time went by so slowly, and my freezing brain was trying to come up with a solution. Here was the situation: I need to get to Minehead about 70km away; no buses, about 10 pounds in my pocket, taxis were 50 pounds to Minehead and my debit card that work. I had another debit card that I gave to Tanja to help her pay a school thing, but she was far away in Finland, I was out of reach. So I waited...and waited...and then just walked around town at midnight.
When I came back to the station I met a girl who was also stuck without a bus ride home. So at least I wasn't alone in the ordeal. We went to eat a kebab, and eventually she decided to pay for a taxi home, and I stayed at the kebab joint, playing my guitar, giving my best crack at turkish music. ;) Some young people were coming from the nightclub to get a bite and started requesting song, so I did a bit of a concert there, and everyone was singing along, that was fun.
When the kebab place closed down I walked back to the bus station where I finally was able to hitch a ride with this really gay but nice fellow who happened to live in Minehead. So after an hour of stories of threesomes and S&M, I was dropped off (unspoiled) at Butlins, the convention park where Marillion Weekend was being held. I found my chalet, found my bed and had 4 hours of well deserved sleep...
"MARILLION WEEKEND: DAY 2"
So I missed day 1but I'd made it! I missed the first show, which was the entire Marbles album, including Ocean Cloud, a song I had been dying to hear live! But I was happy to have finally made it. My roommate was a german guy called Achim, with better spanish than mine, we hung out for the most part of MW. The couple in the chalet next to us was from Mexico City! Really nice guys who would do me a big favor later on.
On the way to breakfast I ran into my fellow Divding Line DJ Frans Keylard, whom I'd met already at Calprog in California. He bought me a few beers later that day and had a crack at a Marillion quiz ...I never really knew how we did, it was tough, though! I had an appointment with the band later on...
The autograph sessions were divided into groups of people every hour. Marillion spent like 10 hours in 2 days, signing autographs for 2,700 fans. Does YOUR favorite band do that?
At first I thought it would be like any other signing session, where you stand in a long line and walk up to a table where the band is sitting down and signing the thing, and you move along, like in a buffet, but....oh surprise!! Ok, we DID have to stand in line for about an hour, but the band was NOT sitting, they were one by one walking up to EACH person, signing their item, and talking to them for a minute or so! So Every fan got to meet their idols, and chat with them for a while! I was one of the last ones on the line, and when Steve Hogarth approached me and asked me where I'm from, I say Cancun....and he looked at me, his eyes widen, and says...."You're the tequila guy in Germany!" Ha! he remembered me! "Yeah I remember you, you gave me quite a buzz before the show!" I thanked him again for putting me on the guest list for that night in Frankfurt, and for all the music and the nice vibe with their fans. Bassist Pete Trewavas and keyboardist Mark Kelly also remembered me, and I had a cool chat with Mark about how he plans to visit Oaxaca this year, and wished me luck in Europe . And last but not least, guitarist Steve Rothery and Pete both signed my guitar, which already had Neal Morse's signature (that's 3!).
By the time the autograph sessions were over, the first support band of the evening was already performing, but I didn't really care, I got a good spot inside the auditorium anyway. Underneath the auditorium were Marillion performed was another one, in which a "country-western" convention was being held, so all around Butlins you could see men and women walking around in cowboy outfits and hats, (and I thought WE looked nerdy with our Marillion t-shirts!).
After 2 support bands, Marillion came onstage to do the now famous Swap the Band part of the show, where several lucky fans sing or play a song along with the band, these included the grandaughter of astronaut Neil Armstrong singing This is the 21st century, the daughter of Marillion singer Steve Hogarth, singing Angelina, and to close, probably highlight of the whole Swap the Band thing, a singer from a Marillion tribute band, with a voice exactly like former Marillion singer, Fish, singing Fugazi! The crowd went crazy because, marillion hardly plays the "old" stuff anymore, especially songs from the album Fugazi!
After Swap the band, there was a small break, after which the band came out to play the "Party" set! almost 2 hours of pure rocking songs! Highlight songs for me were Answering Machine and Deserve, a song that a wasn't that familiar with but i was most impressed with the live version! There was a point where the audience was jump up and down so much, that the management of Butlins told the band that they had to calm us down, or else we would bring down the floor, which was scaring the people downstairs in the Country convention, cos the "ceiling" was coming down on them! That was hilarious! But ok, we did less jumping, I guess the building's not made for Marillion fans, ha ha!
Just when it seemed to be ending, I started yelling "Garden Party!" It was my dream to hear that song performed live. Luckily enough someone else started shouting Garden Party with me, then suddenly everyone was shouting it! And they said, "ok, we'll do Garden Party!" Yay!!! And it was Garden Party to close the show for the evening! I was so happy I couldn't think that it could get better! I couldn't wait for the next show! But the night was not over yet....
"PARTY AT THE NORWEGIANS'"
Oh yes, there was big group of norwegians that came over from...err....Norwegia, to be at the Marillion Weekend, and the organized a crazy party in their chalet, which was so small, you'd think 10 people in there is a full house, but it was probably over 40 people in one small room, all drinking and loudly singing to Marillion songs! This was my kind of party. My buddies from the Dividing Lines, Frans and JeffS were there, and met quite a few more people, and we probably don't remember each other cos everybody was sooo drunk after that! We had no run-ins with Bultins security at all......that night. Tomorrow would be a bit different!
After so much partying, I basically spent the whole night sleeping and worrying about how the hell I was gonna get out of England without any money! My ATM card was still not working, and I was literally out of money. I got to talking with the couple from Mexico,and it turns out they had an extra bus ticket to London that they weren't gonna use, so they gave it to me, that was so great of them, at least from London I could hitch out of Enlgand to France or something...
I decided not to let it bother me for now, cos there was still one more Marillion show to see! whoohoo! I arrived to the auditorium just when Pineapple Thief was playing, they weren't very impressive. Who WAS impressive was the next supoprt act, Amy Wadge, an excellent singer/guitarist/keyboardist/songwriter whom I had a chance to talk to at the end of the show. Marillion setlist for the nigth was called "A Collection", and it was all mellow songs as opposed to all the headbanging goodness they played the night before. I recall A Few Words for the Dead and of course, Estonia as favorites of the night, but there were so many, if you're interested, here is a list of all the songs played during this Marillion Weekend. The show ended and lots of people hung around to waita nd see if the boys would come out and say hi, and, of course, they did.
The whole band was walking around the room saying hello once again to all the fans and taking several pictures with them. Achim took pics of me with the whole band, and I'm still waiting to get them! And what better way to end the evening, than ANOTHER party at the Norwegians!
This time the noise apparently upset some families nearby and a security guard kindly asked us to leave the chalet. ...BUT....he asked me and another guy to the corner and told us that he's going off duty soon, and after maybe 20 mins. we could all come back and keep having the party, only a little quieter....unfortunately, that meant keeping the music down, so no more Marillion CD's. But, it was Duke to the rescue, i ran over to my chalet to get my guitar, and had a few singalongs with the rest of the people at the party. I felt like I was home! hehe. People actually singing along to Marillion songs with me! unbelievable! The perfect end to the perfect weekend! Frans and JeffS chipped in and helpd me out with some extra money so I oculd get to London, that was so cool of them, and without that extra change, who knows where I'd be right now!
"BACK TO LONDON..."
Early Monday morning, after my last free pre-paid breakfast at Butlins, I prepared for the journey to London...after that...I had no idea. I used some of the money that JeffS and Frans gave me to take the bus to Taunton, as hitching was apparently out of the question. From Taunton I took that bus to London that the mexican couple had so kindly given to me. And once in London, I was stumped...until Tanja came to the rescue! She had contacted a friend of a friend, an australian guy called Scott, to send me some money through him, and he was expecting my call. So I called, we met and I had 200 Euros in cash! phew! I used that to get a plane ticket out of expensive London, and off to better lands, the german lands...
My flight to Düsseldorf would leave the next morning, so I had to sleep in Stansted Airport, which pretty much looks like a battlefield, right after tha battle. dozens of people sleeping anywhere they can, so I of course, wasn't the only one. i did very little sleeping, now that I think of it. I played my guitar for quite a qhile, until a boring lady walked up to me and asked to shut up, cos she's trying to sleep. I was a nice guy and stopped, although I don't see how she could really make me, it's an AIRPORT, not an inn! "Shame, I was quite enjoying that", a guy near me said! ha!
So, through Ryanair it was off to Düsseldorf, Germany! The adventure continues in the GERMANY section!
Hassells Great UK/Ireland Adventure
Sunday, May 24th
Arrived Heathrow last night about 9:30pm, and took the A2 airbus to the Eden Park Hotel near the Queensway and Bayswater tube stations – a nice, quiet area close to Hyde Park. The hotel’s pub was still open, so we enjoyed a draught Tetley’s beer and a gin and tonic while congratulating ourselves on having survived the long flight from California. We checked into our tiny 10 x 10 foot room which I, in my naïveté, immediately proclaimed to be "cozy". So what if one of us had to remain absolutely stationary while the other moved about the room? We were in England!
This morning at the hotel, we had our first of many English breakfasts. A buffet of "starters" – various cereals, fruits and muffins, followed by eggs, toast, juice, fried potatoes, boiled toe-mah-toe, Irish-style bacon (the proverbial "rasher"), and coffee or tea. I was secretly pleased that blood pudding was not an option, although I would meet it face-on later on our journey.
Afterwards, we strolled the Broad Walk into Hyde Park, enjoying the cloudy, cool weather and watching the joggers, soccer players, dog walkers and mums with their babies. We walked over to Kensington Palace, and used our Great British Heritage passes to go directly to the front of the line of people waiting to get in. We perused the Kensington State Apartments and the Kensington Dress Collection, which did not include Princess Diana’s wedding dress, unfortunately. (Her family has asked that it be put away in order to "pay respects" following her death.) But we did get to view the Coronation robes and crowns – lots of velvet, fur, jewels, and brocade. The State Apartments were filled with huge marble fireplaces, antiques, paintings, etc. If you’re in the area, Kensington Palace might be worth a stop, but I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way for it, since there are many grand palaces and mansions yet to be seen.
It being Sunday, Bill and I strolled over to the other side of Hyde Park to Speakers’ Corner to see what was going on. There were several speakers, most advocating some sort of religion, but unfortunately there were few hecklers, who always make things interesting. Exiting Hyde Park, we caught one of the London Pride double decker tour buses and headed for Trafalgar Square. The double decker bus tours are great, especially if you’ve never visited London before. For about 12 pounds per person, you can blow through London’s most popular sites, getting off and on whenever you wish. We saw the Tower of London, Houses of Parliament, the Thames, Blackfriar Bridge, Westminster Abbey, Picadilly Circus, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Trafalgar Square. We had a great time in the razzle-dazzle Times Square atmosphere of Picadilly Circus at a pub called Waxy O’Connell’s, where we met Lee and Kate, and talked about music, beer, Sloane Rangers, restaurants, the situation in Northern Ireland, Scotch, and Irish whiskies. Several rounds of which were enjoyed before we parted ways. Bill and I caught a cab back to the hotel after dinner at a nice Italian place in Soho.
Monday, May 25th (Bank Holiday)
Had breakfast again in the Tulip Bar at the Eden Park Hotel, which is directly across the street from Hyde Park Towers where Jimi Hendrix wrote "Stone Free". Since we had a day left to take advantage of the London Pride buses, we caught one and arrived at the Tower of London at about 10am, using our British Heritage Passes to get in half-price. Since it was early, there were no lines to see the Crown Jewels, and we went through the exhibit a few times, admiring these extraordinary pieces of art. A film of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953 featured her wearing the Imperial State Crown, and holding the Sovereign’s Orb and the Sovereign’s Sceptre. The Sovereign’s Orb, a hollow sphere of gold encrusted with over 600 precious stones and pearls, symbolizes Christian sovereignty over the earth, the Sovereign being the head of the Anglican Church. It was initially created for the coronation of Charles II in 1661, and has been used at all subsequent coronations. The Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross, also made in 1661, symbolizes the Sovereign’s power under the Cross. It was partially remade in 1910 to receive Cullinan I, the largest top quality cut diamond in the world at 530 carats. The Imperial State Crown was made in 1937 for the coronation of George VI, and is set with 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 5 rubies, and 273 pearls. Foremost among its diamonds is Cullinan II, the second largest diamond in the world at 317 carats. This exhibit allows one to learn about and appreciate the pomp and circumstance that is the heritage of British royalty.
We also visited the White Tower (which marks the start of the Tower of London’s history), the Tower Green (where some famous prisoners such as Sir Walter Raleigh were held, as well as two of Henry VIII’s wives – Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard – both of whom were beheaded there). The grounds at the Tower of London were lousy with ravens. Legend has it that Charles II was warned that should the ravens ever leave the Tower, the monarchy would fall. So he ordered that henceforth, a small population of ravens would always remain there. The Yeoman Warders (called "Beefeaters") were omnipresent in their distinctive navy blue tunics with red piping, giving tours and posing for pictures. The Tower of London Gift Shops (there are three) offer souvenirs of the Tower. Especially recommended is the Jewel House Shop with its exclusive jewelry and other products based on the Crown Jewels.
Leaving the Tower, we walked to the Church of England’s Westminster Abbey, entering through the Great North Door. We had to wait about 15-25 minutes in a line because our Heritage Passes weren’t accepted here. National leaders and great musicians are entombed here, along with Kings and Queens of England. Founded in the 11th century, Westminster Abbey features soaring vaults, breathtaking stained glass, and the Nave, the largest single span in the church. The Nave contains monuments such as The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior (1920), The Memorial to Winston Churchill (1874-1965), and the US Congressional Medal (1921). It is kept as a place of silence and prayer.
Then we hopped on the London Pride bus and rode to Covent Garden, which is kind of like a big English block party. Covent Garden features restaurants, shops, pubs, open-air markets, street musicians, and outdoor theater – literally, something for everyone. Between shopping forays, we stopped at the landmark Punch and Judy pub for an inexpensive lunch. The market stalls overflowed with everyhing from antique jewelry to fresh fruit and vegetables to souvenirs. Great people watching, too.
By now it was late afternoon, so we went back to the hotel, congratulating ourselves on having somehow escaped the curse of the international traveler – jetlag. Then we laid down, just planning to "rest our eyes". Right. We woke up starving at around midnight, wondering what had happened. We found a handful of places in London that served food into the wee hours, and chose one in Chinatown, which in retrospect, was really a bad idea. We managed to catch a taxi after walking up to Bayswater, and after a 10 pound ride, we were deposited at the end of a long, dark alleyway. The cabbie’s parting words were, "You know, a lot of people get stabbed down here!" as he drove off into the night. Wonderful. We crept down the alley, looking this way and that, fully prepared to be accosted. Finally, we ducked into the first place that was open – The Far East Chinese Restaurant. We could tell by the formica tables and the music booming in from the disco next door, that we were in for a treat. I won’t describe the meal here except to say it was greasy and suspicious-looking– definitely the worst meal we had on the whole trip. And all for only 30 pounds. The highlight of our visit was when one of the late-night denizens stumbled in from the disco next door, and recognizing us as Americans, tried to chat us up, asking if we watched the Jerry Springer Show all the time. Three in the A.M. – it was time to go.
Tuesday, May 26th
We slept in and then did some shopping on Oxford Street, at Selfridge’s and Liberty. Selfridge’s is a nice, but not wallet-breaking department store, as is Liberty. Liberty specializes in scarves and other things made of exotic fabrics. Bill hit the motherlode at Selfridge’s – buying lots and lots of cigars, particularly a box of extremely hard-to-find Partagas Series D No. 4’s, which was quite a coup. Since our feet were suffering from the miles we’d already put in, we took frequent pub breaks, and Bill was in seventh heaven. "So many beers, so little time."
We had dinner at an excellent Indian restaurant called Khan’s, located near the Bayswater tube station on Westbourne Grove. Authentic Indian cuisine at very reasonable prices. The curries were wonderful, but caveat emptor – dishes that were marked "very hot" were VERY HOT. Bill scoffed at the waiter who tried to warn him about the temperature, and ordered the VERY HOT Chicken Curry anyway. It was incredibly good, but his taste buds took about 24 hours to recover.
Warwick, Stratford, Northern Cotswolds, York
Wednesday, May 27th
After picking up a Ford Mondeo at Europcar around noon, we headed north out of London towards the university town of Oxford. Unfortunately, the clutch died just as we rolled into Oxford, so we ended up having an oh-so-British lunch at McDonald’s while waiting for the AA Truck to come. Two hours later, we were comfortably ensconced in our new car, a roomy Volkswagon Passat, and on our way to Blenheim Palace, home to the eleventh Duke of Marlborough (who actually lives in the East Wing), and the birthplace of Winston Churchill. It was awesome. Huge ornately decorated gates open onto the grounds which feature several flower gardens offering fine sculpture, manmade lakes, fountains, and mazes. The palace contained memorabilia of Churchill’s school days, as well as his civilian and military history. Several rooms featured priceless paintings, tapestries and hand-carved furniture, including an invitation to Charles and Diana’s wedding in 1981 in the Long Library. Highly recommended!
From there, we drove up to Warwick (pronounced "WAR-ick) to stay with our friend, Angela, in Hampton Magna. We settled in, then went for dinner at The Old Tudor Inn, a local pub. Bill tucked into some steak & ale pie, I had the rump roast, and Angela went for the Chicken Tikka. It was good, albeit bland. (Pass the salt and pepper…) I had my first taste of Spotted Dick here, and immediately fell in love with it (a vanilla cake-like thing with currants in it, topped with warm vanilla custard). Really.
Thursday, May 28th
We awoke to sunny skies, with few clouds. We admired the Warwickshire countryside as we drove the few miles to Stratford-Upon-Avon, home of all things Shakespeare. The River Avon was beautiful with sightseeing boats available for hire. We did some shopping, and I actually found the rare Brittania beanie baby I’d been seeking at a shop called "Much Ado About Toys" on Windsor Street, but at 450 pounds, it was a bit beyond my price range. We had a tasty deli lunch, and then Angela went off to work, while Bill and I drove a bit south to the Cotswolds – a small area in the heart of England that simply personifies "quaint".
We began in the tiny town of Chipping Campden with its thatched roofs, and made a loop through the hamlets of Broadway, Longborough, Stow-On-The-Wold, Chipping Norton, and Moreton-In-Marsh. Many of the buildings, dating back to medieval times, were built using "wool money", since the Cotswolds sheep grew the finest wool. Most are made out of limestone, which has a distinctive golden hue in the sunlight, similar to buildings found in nearby Bath. Stone slates comprise most of the roofs. Fields of yellow (rapeseed) and blue (linseed) separate pastures dotted with sheep. With its stone fences, thatched cottages, and pastoral ambience, this is the most pristine of English countrysides. Shopping is fun here. Wool products and Elaine Rippon’s hand-painted silk scarves make wonderful souvenirs. I liked the Cotswolds so much that if I were to go back to England, I’d definitely spend at least a day or two there. By this time, Bill had become an old pro at driving on the "wrong" (left) side of the road, and we’d even come to appreciate the convenience of roundabouts. Would citizenship be next?
We met up with Angela and went out to dinner at our friend Andy’s favorite pub, The Cockhorse, where we had to stoop to get through the doorway. It’s also famous for a low-hanging ceiling beam that’s conveniently labeled "Duck or Grouse". One of the regulars practically split his sides, laughing at the memory of the many unsuspecting folks had conked their heads against that infernal beam in his presence. We picked up a copy of The Beer and Ragged Staff, a publication put out by CAMRA – the Campaign for Real Ale, Warwickshire Branch. Motto: Give Your Drinking a Purpose – Join CAMRA Now! This missive featured a list of Warwick pubs, and a Summer Calendar ("Tuesday, August 4th – Warwick Crawl starting at the Old Fourpenney Shop"). The highlight of the meal was dessert – Apple Granny – kind of like a slice of apple pie with melted caramel on top, all floating in a bowl of warm vanilla custard. It was to die for. We spent the evening chatting and then drove home and off to bed.
Friday, May 29th
Up early, we visited Warwick Castle (once again using our trusty British Heritage passes to get in free), arguably the most well-preserved medieval castle in England. The original Norman castle was built in 1068, and in 1264 was sacked by Simon de Montfort, champion of Parliament against Henry III. It was rebuilt in the 14th century, when the huge outer walls and towers were added, mainly to display the power of the great feudal magnates, the Beauchamps and the Nevillles - the Earls of Warwick. We took in the Armory (exhibits include Oliver Cromwell’s helmet and a fully armored knight on horseback), the Great Hall and State Rooms (filled with arms and armor, furniture and curiosities), the Dungeon, and Madame Tussaud’s tableaux of wax figures that illustrate the castle’s history. The grounds border the River Avon, and feature a miniature "mother-in-law" castle. Periodically, falconry exhibitions, medieval banquets and other special events are offered.
On the road again, we drove about 150 miles, stopping in Tadcaster for a pint at a local pub, before arriving at York, our destination. We found an inexpensive B&B called Evelyn House on Bootham Street where we got a nice, large room. The room faced a portion of the city wall, and was within walking distance of Yorkminster, shops and restaurants. Since everything was closed, we decided to get some dinner and hit it for the night.
Saturday, May 30th
Brief spots of sun along with mild temperatures made this a nice day to explore York, one of the oldest cities in England.
York began as a fortress called Eboracum, built in AD71 by the Romans. Here, Constantine the Great was made Roman Emperor in AD306. The Vikings gave York its present day name, derived from "Jorvik". The Viking influence is still apparent in local terminology. A "gate" in York is a street (Williamsgate, Deansgate, Micklegate, etc.), and a "bar" is one of the four gates which allow entrance and exit through the city walls.
The west towers of Yorkminster, the largest gothic cathedral in Northern Europe, dominate the city. Here you’ll find the largest collection of medieval stained glass in Britain. The Choir Screen, placed between the choir and the nave, is a 15th-century stone screen that depicts kings of England from William I to Henry VI, and has a canopy of angels. Extremely cool.
I attended an evensong service at Yorkminster, which was (no pun intended) heavenly – the acoustics were out of this world! Bill continued his search for the perfect beer at Ye Old Starre Inn, the oldest pub in York.
All over town, we saw adverts for the York Dungeon claiming that it was "a perfectly horrible experience" - and it was. Avoid this cheesy tourist trap. There’s tons of shopping, with many small shops and botiques lining the small medieval streets. Tiny alleys called "snickelways" still dot the town. All in all, York was one of my favorite cities in England.
Edinburgh and the Lake District
Sunday, May 31st
Fired up the Passat (which is turning out to be a very comfortable car), and went north to Edinburgh, Scotland. We were met with very cold, blustery weather, and I regretted that I neglected to bring a warm jacket with me. We found a cozy place complete with red plaid carpet – the Marchall Hotel – and lugged our suitcases up the ubiquitous flight of steep stairs. After settling in, we toured Edinburgh Castle , which is on top of a hill and offers panoramic views of the city. I noticed that the Black Watch guard standing at attention outside the castle was not wearing a kilt, although the castle guides were. These guys were truly dedicated - it was about 30 degrees outside. I was coming down with a rather nasty bug at the time, and I recall only a couple things about the castle - "Mons Meg", a huge cannon they seem to be very proud of, and a street musician outside the castle playing a dead goat bagpipe.
Bill really enjoyed Edinburgh though, particularly the Heritage Whiskey Center, where he found several fine Scotches that weren’t available in the US. He also visited the Cadenhead Whisky Shop, an independent bottler of cask-strength whisky from Scottish distillers. For lunch, we ducked out of the cold and into a pub. I had a hamburg that reminded me of meatloaf, and Bill went for the real Scottish experience by ordering the special - Haggis, Tatties, and Neeps. This is sheep innards mixed with oatmeal, accompanied by boiled potatoes and turnips. He said he liked it. (In Ireland, we met up with a 80-ish Scottish woman who, when I told her that Bill had enjoyed the haggis, said, "Oh, he’s verrry brrave. You know, the Scottish rarely eat it except on Robert Burns Day.")
I did some shopping at Jenner’s on Princes Street, Scotland’s oldest department store, and it was there that I discovered Caithness Glass paperweights. These are handmade in Scotland, and are some of the most exquisite pieces of glass art I’ve ever seen. They range in price from 20 – 500 pounds. I got the one called "Gold Rush" with colors of teal and gold. Gorgeous! We also wandered down the Royal Mile with its woolen, whisky and souvenir shops.
Monday, June 1st
I woke up with a nasty fever and chills, and made an appointment with a doctor located ‘round the corner. I spent the day in bed. Blah.
Tuesday, June 2nd
We drove about 100 miles south, crossed the border, and arrived at Keswick (pronounced "Kezzick") in the northern part of England’s Lake District. We got a good deal at the Keswick Lodge Hotel, and since I was still feeling poorly, decided to stay for three nights. Located in the middle of town, the Keswick Lodge had a small pub and restaurant that served typical English breakfasts. The streets were busy with tourists, many of whom were oufitted for hiking in the countryside, despite the sporadic rain. There are several outdoor supply stores in Keswick, a couple bakeries, and an excellent liquor store where Bill found some good bottles of Scotch – including some he hadn’t seen in Scotland. At this point, we had nearly a suitcase full of Scotch to carry home, but the Master Packer assured me that it was no prrrroblem.
We visited the Cumberland Pencil Museum on a whim, walking in after making some cracks about the place, and finding two stone-faced dowagers who were obviously not amused. They take their pencils seriously there. When we walked across the room to view the World’s Biggest Pencil, we were quickly informed that we were not permitted in that area unless we paid the museum admission price. Forget about taking pictures. I ended up buying several postcards, and (what else?) a pencil. And a damned good pencil it was – didn’t even smear on the postcard.
Wednesday, June 3rd
We took a day trip to Windermere and Ambleside, in the southern portion of the Lake District today. On our travels, we took our first – and shortest – car ferry ride across Lake Windermere, which was a hoot. It took twenty minutes to load the boat with people and cars, and 5 minutes to cross the lake. The lake was pristine and the sun was shining, with long lines of ducks swimming alongside the boat.
Windermere is a pretty little town, but was overrun by tourists and plagued with heavy traffic. Shopping, I found a beautiful 100% wool sweater at Quill’s Woolen Market, which would come in handy later in the trip. Ambleside was more scenic and slightly less congested than Windermere, which suited us fine. Back at the hotel by late afternoon, we did some reading and relaxing, listening to the rain on the roof.
Thursday, June 4th
We set off to explore the northern Lake District after picking up some sandwiches from the bakery across the street. The weather was overcast with occasional light rain, but we held out hope that we’d be enjoying our picnic lunch lakeside with at least a tiny bit of sun to warm our faces.
After visiting Castlerigg Stone Circle, we meandered through the Newlands Valley and west to Buttermere, enjoying the peacefulness of the soft English countryside. There were few tourists and little traffic here, which was exactly what we came for. Lunchtime rolled around, and so we parked alongside Lake Buttermere, ignored the steady drizzle, and ate local cheeses with our sandwiches while watching the sheep stroll by.
Speaking of which, have I mentioned the shear number of sheep in this country? They were everywhere – brown, white, shaggy, shorn, sleeping, chewing, bleating, wool factories. Lambing season just passed, so there are lots of them around, usually at their mother’s side looking adorable. We often see them along the side of the road. The noise of the car startles the skittish lambs, but the ewes continue grazing furiously, casting the occasional baleful glance over their shoulders. I found a small patch of wool in a field that I’m carrying around. Why? I don’t really know. Sheep magic maybe.
Next, we traced Buttermere Lake on our way to Borrowdale, where we discovered a small coaching inn, the Scafell Hotel. The grounds were very inviting, so we stopped for a pint and a Coke. Prim and white on the outside, and furnished with antiques inside, it was lovely.
From there, we drove to Derwentwater, lighting at the Derwentwater Marina for a couple hours, watching the boats on the lake, and talking with the barkeep.
Chester and Ruthin
Friday, June 5th
Checked out of the hotel and headed for Wales since we were due on the high-speed ferry from Holyhead to Ireland the following day. We arrived in Chester (England) around noon, and spent a couple hours strolling the main streets, lined with the oriel windows and decorative timberwork the town is known for. First settled by the Romans in AD 79 near the River Dee, Chester is a lively town with abundant shopping and street musicians ("buskers"). The heart of town is the Chester Rows, with their two tiers of stores and continuous upper gallery, most notably at the intersection of Eastgate and Bride Streets.
From Chester, we drove towards Wales, and discovered Conwy Castle almost immediately after crossing the border. Then we headed for Ruthin. With the help of the Ruthin Tourist Information Office, we found a very nice place – The Clwyd Gate Motel - just outside town. I was entranced by the spectacular view of the Vale of Clywd, and the sheep music coming from the fields directly across the road. A veritable sheep choir it was, with low moaning bleats interspersed with the staccato soprano noise of the lambs. It was in a word, idyllic.
Never having been to one, I wanted to attend a medieval banquet at Ruthin Castle, but unfortunately, it was sold out that evening. So instead, we enjoyed all the conveniences we’d been doing without (space to move around in, comfortable beds, modern shower and WC, etc.), then tucked into a superb dinner from the motel’s restaurant.
Next, we were on to Ireland. Go to my Ireland travelogue for details about that delightful land.
Murphys Law!! + Misc Jokes
"Who was Murphy??"
I always wondered who the heck Murphy was, I was especially curious cos its an Irish name. Well I found this on the net bt how true it is I have no idea...
"Where did Murphy's Law originate? . . . U.S. Air Force captain Ed Murphy back in 1949. Capt. Murphy, who tested airplanes, noticed that a technician kept making the same mistake when designing one of the parts. Capt. Murphy reportedly said, If there is any way to make things go wrong, he will. As the story goes, this stated principle came to be called Murphy's Law, and variations of his words have spread around the world...."
If anything can go wrong it will (and at the worst possible moment).
Nothing is as easy as it looks.
Everything takes longer than you think.
If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will do the most damage will go wrong first.
If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which a procedure can go wrong and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.
Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.
If anything just cannot go wrong, it will anyway.
It is impossible to make anything foolproof, because fools are so ingenious.
Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.
If you play with something long enough, you will surely break it..
If a great deal of time has been expended seeking the answer to a problem with the only result being failure, the answer will be immediately obvious to the first unqualified person.
Mother Nature is a bit*h.
Addition to Murphy's Laws
In nature, nothing is ever right. therefore, if everything is going right... something is wrong.
Parallels To Murphy's Law:
Anyone else who can be blamed should be blamed.
Anything that can go wrong will go wrong faster with computers.
Whenever a computer can be blamed, it should be blamed.
Chisolm's First Corollary to Murphy's Laws:
When things just can't possibly get any worse, they will.
Forsyth's Second Corollary to Murphy's Laws
Just when you see the light at the end of the tunnel, the roof caves in.
Zymurg's Seventh Exception to Murphy's Law
When it rains, it pours
Murphy's Law of Thermodynamics
Things get worse under pressure.
Murhpy's Laws of Combat
If the enemy is in range, so are you.
Incoming fire has the right of way.
Don't look conspicuous; it draws fire.
( For this reason aircraft carriers have been called "Bomb Magnets")
There is always a way.
The easy way is always mined.
Try to look unimportant, they may be low on ammo.
( Trivia devotees will recall the sudden disappearance of rank and distinctive caps on the uniforms worn by Soviet officers in Afghanistan)
Professionals are predictable, it's the amateurs that are dangerous.
The enemy invariably attacks on two occasions:
a. when you're ready for them.
b. when you're not ready for them.
Teamwork is essential, it gives them someone else to shoot at.
If you can't remember, then the claymore is pointed at you.
The enemy diversion you have been ignoring will be the main attack.
A "sucking chest wound" is nature's way of telling you to slow down.
If your attack is going well, you have walked into an ambush.
Never draw fire, it irritates everyone around you.
Anything you do can get you shot, including nothing.
Make it tough enough for the enemy to get in and you won't be able to get out.
( This seems to be the guiding design principle behind the Soviet's BMP and our Bradley infantry vehicle, both of which nicely package the troops in armored boxes for group destruction)
Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than yourself.
If you're short of everything but the enemy, you're in a combat zone.
When you have secured an area, don't forget to tell the enemy.
Never forget that your weapon is made by the lowest bidder.
Friendly fire isn't.
If the sergeant can see you, so can the enemy.
Never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie down, never stay awake when you can sleep.
The most dangerous thing in the world is a second lieutenant with a map and a compass.
There is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole.
A grenade with a seven second fuse will always burn down in four seconds.
Remember, a retreating enemy is probably just falling back and regrouping.
If at first you don't succeed call in an air-strike.
Exceptions prove the rule, and destroy the battle plan.
Everything always works in your HQ, everything always fails in the colonel's HQ.
The enemy never takes notice until you make a mistake.
One enemy soldier is never enough, but two is entirely too many.
A clean (and dry) set of BDU's is a magnet for mud and rain.
Whenever you have plenty of ammo, you never miss. Whenever you are low on ammo, you can't hit the broad side of a barn.
The more a weapon costs, the farther you will have to send it away to be repaired.
Field experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
Interchangeable parts aren't.
No matter which way you have to march, its always uphill.
If enough data is collected, a board of inquiry can prove ANYTHING.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism. (in boot camp)
The one item you need is always in short supply.
The worse the weather, the more you are required to be out in it.
The complexity of a weapon is inversely proportional to the IQ of the weapon's operator.
Airstrikes always overshoot the target, artillery always falls short.
When reviewing the radio frequencies that you just wrote down, the most important ones are always illegible.
Those who hesitate under fire usually do not end up KIA or WIA.
The tough part about being an officer is that the troops don't know what they want, but they know for certain what they DON'T want.
To steal information from a person is called plagiarism. To steal information from the enemy is called gathering intelligence.
The weapon that usually jams when you need it the most is the M60.
The perfect officer for the job will transfer in the day after that billet is filled by someone else.
When you have sufficient supplies & ammo, the enemy takes 2 weeks to attack. When you are low on supplies & ammo the enemy decides to attack that night.
The newest and least experienced soldier will usually win the Medal Of Honor.
A Purple Heart just goes to prove that were you smart enough to think of a plan, stupid enough to try it, and luck enough to survive.
Murphy was a grunt.
You aren't Superman. (Freshly graduated recruits from Marine boot camp, and all fighter pilots, especially, take note)
Suppressive fires - won't.
If it's stupid but it works, it isn't stupid.
When in doubt empty the magazine.
No plan survives the first contact intact.
If you are forward of your position, the artillery will fall short.
The important things are always simple.
The simple things are always hard.
No-combat ready group has passed inspection.
Note: No marine unit has ever failed a combat readiness inspection, which suggests peacetime inspections are readiness as mess hall food is cuisine
Beer Math -> 2 beers time 37 men equals 49 cases.
Body count math -> 3 guerrillas plus 1 probable plus 2 pigs equals 37 enemies killed in action.
Things that must be together to work, usually can't be shipped together.
Radios will fail as soon as you need fire support desperately.
(Corollary: Radar tends to fail at night and in bad weather, and especially during both)
Tracers work both ways.
The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire.
If you take more than your share of objectives, you will have more than your fair share to take.
When both sides are convinced they are about to lose, they're both right.
The enemy never monitors your radio traffic until you broadcast on an unsecure channel.
Whenever you drop your equipment in a fire-fight, your ammo and grenades always fall the farthest away, and your canteen always lands at your feet.
As soon as you are served hot chow in the field, it rains.
Never tell the platoon Sergeant you have nothing to do.
The seriousness of a wound is inversely proportional to the distance to the nearest form of cover.
Walking point = sniper bait.
Your bivouac for the night is the spot where you got tired of marching that day.
If only one solution can be found for a field problem, then it is usually a stupid solution.
Recoiless weapons aren't.
Suppressive fire works on everything but the enemy.
All or any of the above combined
Murphy's Laws on Sex
The more beautiful the woman is who loves you, the easier it is to leave her with no hard feelings.
Nothing improves with age.
No matter how many times you've had it, if it's offered take it, because it'll never be quite the same again.
Sex has no calories.
Sex takes up the least amount of time and causes the most amount of trouble.
There is no remedy for sex but more sex.
Sex appeal is 50% what you've got and 50% what people think you've got.
No sex with anyone in the same office.
Sex is like snow; you never know how many inches you are going to get or how long it is going to last.
A man in the house is worth two in the street.
If you get them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.
Virginity can be cured.
When a man's wife learns to understand him, she usually stops listening to him.
Never sleep with anyone crazier than yourself.
The qualities that most attract a woman to a man are usually the same ones she can't stand years later.
Sex is dirty only if it's done right.
It is always the wrong time of month.
The best way to hold a man is in your arms.
When the lights are out, all women are beautiful.
Sex is hereditary. If your parents never had it, chances are you won't either.
Sow your wild oats on Saturday night -- Then on Sunday pray for crop failure.
The younger the better.
The game of love is never called off on account of darkness.
It was not the apple on the tree but the pair on the ground that caused the trouble in the garden.
Sex discriminates against the shy and the ugly.
There is no such thing as an ugly woman. Only too little wine.
Before you find your handsome prince, you've got to kiss a lot of frogs.
There may be some things better than sex, and some things worse than sex. But there is nothing exactly like it.
Love your neighbor, but don't get caught.
Love is a hole in the heart.
If the effort that went in research on the female bosom had gone into our space program, we would now be running hot-dog stands on the moon.
Love is a matter of chemistry, sex is a matter of physics.
Do it only with the best.
Sex is a three-letter word which needs some old-fashioned four-letter words to convey its full meaning.
One good turn gets most of the blankets.
You cannot produce a baby in one month by impregnating nine women.
Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.....unless in the mood.
Never lie down with a woman who's got more troubles than you.
Abstain from wine, women, and song; mostly song.
Never argue with a women when she's tired -- or rested.
A woman never forgets the men she could have had; a man, the women he couldn't.
What matters is not the length of the wand, but the magic in the stick.
It is better to be looked over than overlooked.
Never say no.
A man can be happy with any woman as long as he doesn't love her.
Folks playing leapfrog must complete all jumps.
Beauty is skin deep; ugly goes right to the bone.
Never stand between a fire hydrant and a dog.
A man is only a man, but a good bicycle is a ride.
Love comes in spurts.
The world does not revolve on an axis.
Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation; the other eight are unimportant.
Smile, it makes people wonder what you are thinking.
Don't do it if you can't keep it up.
There is no difference between a wise man and a fool when they fall in love.
Never go to bed mad, stay up and fight.
Love is the delusion that one woman differs from another.
"This won't hurt, I promise."
O'Toole's Commentary on Murphy's Law
Murphy was an optimist.
Murphy's Laws of Martial Arts
Ten scientific principles that apply to the study of all martial arts:
The wimp who made it through the eliminations on luck alone will suddenly turn into Bruce Lee when you're up against him.
The referee will always be looking the other way when you score.
You will have trouble with the ties on your gi pants when members of the opposite sex are in class.
The day you leave work early to make it to class on time, the sensei will be sick.
The sensei will only use you during demonstrations for joint-locking techniques.
If you have to use your training in self-defense, your attacker's father will be a lawyer.
After a flawless demonstration, you will trip on your way back to your seat.
After years of training without a single injury, you will pull a groin muscle the night before your black belt exam.
In an otherwise vacant locker room, the only other person will have the locker right next to yours.
No matter how many times you take care of it before your promotion exam, you will invariably have to go to the bathroom when it's your turn.
"Signs you Have Nothing To Do at Work"
You've already read the entire Dilbert page-a-day calendar for 1999
You discover that staring at your cubicle wall long enough produces images of Elvis.
You've figured out a way to get Gilligan off the island.
You decide to see how many Mountain Dews you can drink before the inevitable explosion occurs.
People come into your office only to borrow pencils from your ceiling.
No longer content with merely photocopying your butt, you now scan and enhance it with Photoshop.
You now require only a single can of cola to belch the names of all seven Dwarfs.
The 4th Division of Paperclips has overrun the Pushpin Infantry, and General White-Out has called for reinforcements
"Fun Things to do with an Ambulance"
Drive too fast over speed bumps.
Stop with the siren on at a gas station to fill it up.
Get involved in an accident.
Stop several times to ask for directions.
Drive by a McDonalds to ask if they want to buy fresh meat.
Shoot at the dogs that always chase the ambulance.
Replace the siren with the music of an ice-cream van.
If there's not enough work drive over people yourself.
Watch the movie "Mother jugs and speed" over and over again.
Fill the air tanks with liquids.
Ask your boss for the new Lamborghini Diablo ambulance.
Put a twirling disco light in the back.
Stop to pick up killed animals.
Drive around the graveyard.
Paint the words "Satan loves you" on the side.
Throw bloody lamb chops out of the back door.
Keep circling the same block with your head out the window and your tongue hanging out.
Park in a drive-in movie with siren on.
Drive to a morgue and ask if they got any live ones they want you to take.
"Why Engineers Don't Write Recipe Books"
I'm an engineer so I enjoy all these kind of jokes, especially the engineer vs. accountants jokes!!
Chocolate Chip Cookies:
1.) 532.35 cm3 gluten
2.) 4.9 cm3 NaHCO3
3.) 4.9 cm3 refined halite
4.) 236.6 cm3 partially hydrogenated tallow triglyceride
5.) 177.45 cm3 crystalline C12H22O11
6.) 177.45 cm3 unrefined C12H22O11
7.) 4.9 cm3 methyl ether of protocatechuic aldehyde
8.) Two calcium carbonate-encapsulated avian albumen-coated protein
9.) 473.2 cm3 theobroma cacao
10.) 236.6 cm3 de-encapsulated legume meats (sieve size #10)
To a 2-L jacketed round reactor vessel (reactor #1) with an overall heat transfer coefficient of about 100 Btu/F-ft2-hr, add ingredients one, two and three with constant agitation. In a second 2-L reactor vessel with a radial flow impeller operating at 100 rpm, add ingredients four, five, six, and seven until the mixture is homogenous. To reactor #2, add ingredient eight, followed by three equal volumes of the homogenous mixture in reactor #1. Additionally, add ingredient nine and ten slowly, with constant agitation. Care must be taken at this point in the reaction to control any temperature rise that may be the result of an exothermic reaction.
Using a screw extrude attached to a #4 nodulizer, place the mixture piece-meal on a 316SS sheet (300 x 600 mm). Heat in a 460K oven for a period of time that is in agreement with Frank & Johnston's first order rate expression (see JACOS, 21, 55), or until golden brown. Once the reaction is complete, place the sheet on a 25C heat-transfer table, allowing the product to come to equilibrium.
A man is flying in a hot air balloon and realizes he is lost.
He reduces height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further
and shouts, "Excuse me. Can you help me?
I promised my friend I would meet him half an hour ago, but I don´t know
where I am."
The man below says, "Yes. You are in a hot air balloon, hovering
approximately 30 feet above this field. You are between 40 and 42 degrees
latitude, and between 58 and 60 degrees W. longitude."
"You must be an engineer," says the balloonist.
"I am," replies the man. "How did you know?"
"Well," says the balloonist, "everything you have told me is technically
correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact
is I am still lost."
The man below says, "You must be a manager."
"I am," replies the balloonist, "but how did you know?"
"Well," says the man below, "you don´t know where you are, or where you are
going. You have made a promise which you have no idea how to keep, and you
expect me to solve your problem. The fact is you are in exactly the same
position you were in before we met, but now it is somehow my fault."
"Twas the Night Before Christmas - Santa's Version"
T'was the night before Christmas - Old Santa was pissed
He cussed out the elves and threw down his list
Miserable little brats, ungrateful little jerks
I have good mind to scrap the whole works
I've busted my ass for damn near a year
Instead of "Thanks Santa" - what do I hear
The old lady bitc*es cause I work late at night
The elves want more money - The reindeer all fight
Rudolph got drunk and goosed all the maids
Donner is pregnant and Vixen has AIDS
And just when I thought that things would get better
Those assholes from IRS sent me a letter
They say I owe taxes - if that ain't damn funny
Who the hell ever sent Santa Clause any money
And the kids these days - they all are the pits
They want the impossible ...Those mean little ***s
I spent a whole year making wagons and sleds
Assembling dolls...Their arms, legs and heads
I made a ton of yo yo's - No request for them
They want computers and robots...they think I'm IBM!
If you think that's bad...just picture this
Try holding those brats...with their pants full of pi*s
They pull on my nose - they grab at my beard
And if I don't smile..the parents think I'm weird
Flying through the air...dodging the trees
Falling down chimneys and skinning my knees
I'm quitting this job...there's just no enjoyment
I'll sit on my fat ass and draw unemployment
There's no Christmas this year...now you know the reason
I found me a blonde.. I'm going SOUTH for the season!!
"Things to do in an Office Meeting"
Take notes in finger paint.
At sensitive moments, blow your nose raucously. Apologize for your sinus condition.
Laugh uproariously at a quip that was made 2 or 3 minutes ago. Say, "Oh, _now_ I get it!"
Wear a disposable paper face mask. Tell the group: "Hey, you don't want to catch what I've got!"
Check your watch very regularly, every 30 seconds or so.
Make a face like somebody beside you farted.
Stand up and act indignant. Demand that the boss tell you the _real_ reason this meeting has been called.
Slowly slump in your seat. When you are about to fall off the chair, suddenly straighten up. Apologize profusely.
Spill coffee on the conference table. Produce a little paper boat and sail it down the table.
Bring a noisy electric pencil sharpener. Sharpen your pencil every few minutes.
Complain loudly that your neighbor won't stop touching you. Demand that the boss make him/her stop doing it.
Have someone deliver a large cardboard box to you in the conference room. Apologize while you sign for it. About half an hour later, have a different person deliver another one.
Remove your shoes and socks. Lay your socks on the table, turn each one inside out, and inspect them carefully. If anyone says anything, tell them "doctor's orders."
Roll your eyes at almost everything the boss says. If addressed directly, adopt a cowering posture and stammer pitifully as you reply. Ask that he or she "not hurt you anymore."
During a meeting, each time the boss makes an important point, (or at least one he/she seems to consider important), make a little noise like you are building up to an orgasm.
Bring a huge jar of Vaseline to the meeting. Display it prominently.
Stay behind as everyone else, including the boss, leaves. Thank them for coming.
Every so often, duck under the table. Stare in horror. Pop back up and look real scared.
Rubberneck at the notes of the person next to you. Copy them word for word. Subvocalize as you do. Tell them that they "understand these things better than you do."
Bring a hand puppet, preferably an animal. Ask it to clarify difficult points.
Take your temperature every so often with a candy thermometer.
Distribute free condoms before or after the meeting.
Make all the stereotyped facial expressions to indicate that you are a psychiatrist administering psychoanalysis to the speaker. Take notes furiously.
Bring a pitcher of non-alcoholic beer to the meeting. As the meeting progresses, start slurring your speech. Belch loudly. Tell your co-workers you can't help it. Start crying.
Have a timer that buzzes at intervals. When it goes off, take a pill from a pill case and gulp it down. If anyone asks, tell them it's to "prevent the seizures."
Lapse into a staring coma. Drool. Have a confederate wipe the spit from your lips, and say "It's pitiful. But what can you do?"
At opportune times, stick an inhaler in your ear. Inhale deeply.
Ask your neighbor, nearer the speaker, to trade places with you "so you can hear better." Gradually work your way up to the speaker. When you are as close as possible, stare up at them adoringly. After a while, change your expression to a frown, sigh heartbreakingly, and begin to stare into space.
Give a broad wink to someone else at the table. In time, wink at everyone. Sometimes shake your head just a little, as if to indicate that the speaker is slightly crazy and everybody knows it.
Wear shades and carry a walkie-talkie with an earphone. Once in a while, quietly say a few words into it.
Bring a doughnut cushion and use it. If anybody asks, say that your hemorrhoids are really acting up this week. Offer to share it if they really need it. Be embarrassingly persistent in your offer. Offer to show them how bad they are.
Wear brightly-colored earmuffs. Explain that "my ears tend to get real cold at these meetings." Ask the speaker to please talk a little louder.
Stand up and start doing the Macarena. Forcibly wrestle yourself back into your chair. Look real embarrassed. Tell everybody "My doctor's appointment is tomorrow."
Bring a large box of Depends to the meeting. Stow them under the conference table. Explain to a neighbor: "Just in case."
Bring a small mountain of computer printouts to the meeting. If possible, include some old-fashioned fanfold paper for dramatic effect. Every time the speaker makes a point, pretend to check it in one of the printouts. Pretend to find substantiating evidence there. Nod vigorously, and say "uh-huh, uh-huh!"
Bring a few telephone books. Add a few to sit on, adjusting your seat height until the top of your head is exactly one-half inch higher than the speaker's. Explain that you sometimes have trouble seeing the presentation.
Arrange to have a poorly-dressed young woman with an infant quietly enter the meeting, stare directly at the (male) speaker for a while, burst into tears, then leave the room.
Play a game of jacks on the conference table. Explain that it helps you concentrate.
When there is a call for questions, lean back in your chair, prop your feet up on the table, smile contentedly, and say, "Well, here's the way I see it, J.B..." (or any other impressive-sounding initials that are not actually your boss's.)
Have a friend who does not work at your company accompany you to the meeting wearing bib overalls. Explain that it is National Take-a-Hick-to-work Week. Have him occasionally make an inappropriate comment or ask a stupid question. Tell him to keep quiet, and apologize to the group. If possible, have him bring his own spittoon, and chew tobacco and spit throughout the meeting.
"Things to do During a Download"
or A Watched File Never Finishes
Ahhh, the lure of free software, the natural curiosity of the slightly unknown...seems we spend the majority of our waking online hours waiting for the dreaded DOWNLOAD. Might as well make use of the time. Of course, savvy users have already figured out it ain't hard to keep two platforms busy at once, kind of like the guy spinning multiple plates on sticks, the more the merrier - and busier! But the other 99% of us, relegated to one computer at a time, should consider the following things to do during a download to pass the time...
Buff your mouse pad
Make a list of other things to download
Play a percussive beat on your thighs in time with your modem
Count to 500 in "click" language
Go outside and actually breathe fresh air (don't overdo!)
Do a pushup for every blue bar on the progress meter
Name the presidents
Play "Dark Side Of the Moon" side one
Relace your shoes
Read every classified listing for "Programmers"
Carefully clean your mouse rollers and track ball
Hone your monitor's picture to ridiculous perfection
Fill out all of your registration cards in triplicate
Alphabetize your diskettes
Alphabetize your CD-ROMs
Re-alphabetize your diskettes and CD-ROMs together
Cut your fingernails
See how may other words you can make from "download"
Make a sculpture out of your fingernail clippings Play "Dark Side Of the Moon" side two
Time to windex that monitor again!
Might as well balance the old checkbook
Practice the "rubber pencil" routine
Weed out the rolodex
Buff the mouse pad -- oops, already did that!
French braid (optional)
"This would be a good time to register your software" (done that!)
De-kid proof the butane lighter
Solitaire round 2
Solitaire round 3 (no cheating this time)
Alright, just one beer
Think of good domain names to pre-buy
Peruse the Egghead mailer again
Re-label file folders in all caps
Penny rolls, penny rolls, penny rolls
Color code your extra cables
Find all celebrities that share your birthdate
Nerf basketball to 100!
Connection Terminated - Start Over!
Find a pistol...
British for American
Reprinted, with permission of course, from Terry Gliedt, firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Q - S"
QUEEN ANNE'S DEAD phrase. 1. This phrase is repeated by children
whenever someone's petticoat is showing. CHARLIE'S DEAD is also used in this
QUEER AS A CLOCKWORK ORANGE phrase. 1. Very strange, as in, "He's
QUEER AS A CLOCKWORK ORANGE". Another similar phrase is "QUEER AS A TWO POUND
NOTE" which should sound familiar to the American phrase "Queer as a three
QUEUE v. 1. To stand in line. n. 1. A line, as in, "a QUEUE of
people waiting for ...(everything)".
QUID n. 1. One POUND.
QUIDS IN phrase. 1. To have it made, as in, "If this works out, we're
QUITE adv. 1. QUITE may be used in much the same manner as an American
would expect. However, the English also use QUITE to mean utterly, absolutely,
or completely. When an American says "It's quite dark," he means that it is
almost, but not completely, dark. For this purpose, an Englishman would say
"It's RATHER dark, isn't it?" (pronounced "izzen tit"). If it were QUITE dark,
an American would say "It's pitch black,".
QUITE PLEASED phrase. 1. In some circles this could mean "rather
mediocre". A Brit might not be particularly pleased with you if you announce you
are QUITE PLEASED with something.
RANDY adj. 1. Horny. RANDY is never used as a short form of RANDOLF in
the U.K. RANDY ANDY is a reference to Prince Andrew. (Speculation about why he
got this name is high treason and subject to the otherwise disused punishment of
hanging, drawing, and quartering).
RASHER n. 1. Slice, as in, a RASHER of bacon.
REAL ALE n. 1. In recent years there has been an effort to resurrect
the more traditional ales of earlier periods. These are known as REAL ALES and
resemble BITTER in taste and color. They are, however, rather much stronger in
taste and alcoholic content. There is a club called the CAMPAIGN FOR REAL ALE
(CAMRA) whose supposed purpose is to encourage the making of REAL ALE by
traditional methods. It would appear this is done largely by consuming as much
REAL ALE as is possible.
RED INDIAN n. 1. American Indian. INDIAN would be understood by the
British to mean one from India.
REDUNDANT adj. 1. To be out of work, as in, "As sales of our new 3.5
liter economy car have not met expectations, we at GM--Ford--British-Leyland
(select your favorite) are forced to make 250 workers REDUNDANT".
REEL n. 1. Spool, as in, a cotton REEL. 2. A type of music. On sailing
ships the procedure to raise the anchor required a great deal of effort and
time. The anchor was raised by many men walking in a circle pushing wooden bars
inserted in a large spool (resembling the spokes of a wheel). Because this took
so long, someone would often sit on this spool (REEL) and play his fiddle, sing
and generally entertain the men.
REGIMENTAL TIE n. 1. Not just any striped tie, but a tie which one
wears as a result of having belonged to an Army regiment.
REGISTRAR n. 1. A senior doctor in a hospital. The "chief" of a
hospital section (e.g. Chief of Cardiology).
REST ROOM n. 1. Not what you think, but rather a room for resting. A
REST ROOM is commonly provided at large tourist locations for the bus drivers to
rest in. You can imagine the image I came up with when I read in a brochure that
"REST ROOMS with television" were provided.
RETURN adj. 1. Round trip. A RETURN ticket to
Bagley-cum-Wapshot-in-the-Vale is a round-trip ticket to go there, and then come
back. Sometimes a "cheap day RETURN" is available which may often be less
expensive than a one-way ticket.
REVERSE CHARGE n. 1. Collect call. To make a collect call, dial the
operator and tell her you wish to REVERSE the CHARGES.
REVISE v. 1. Not to change something, but to review it. To
recapitulate. As in, to ask a speaker to "REVISE on a particular point".
RHUBARB n. 1. Nonsense or noise spoken by a person. The origin of this
term comes from the stage. People in crowd scenes who are to make "crowd noises"
might say, "RHUBARB, RHUBARB, RHUBARB...". This is exactly the background sound
one hears in the houses of Parliament. Whether the other MPs agree or disagree
with the speaker of the moment, one hears a rumble which sounds remarkably like
"RHUBARB, RHUBARB, RHUBARB ...". I'm told the reason for such Parliamentary
grunting is because the MPs are not allowed to clap or boo.
RIGHT adj. 1. Left, as in, "The British drive on the RIGHT side of the
road. Everyone else (except the Japanese and some others) is wrong".
RING UP v. 1. To telephone, as in, "I'll RING you UP when I've earned
enough to pay for the call".
RISING MAIN n. 1. The cold water supply into a house.
ROCK n. 1. A type of candy in the form of a rod, usually pink on the
outside and white inside. Traditionally this is bought at the seaside. A "stick
of ROCK" is not rock candy.
ROLLIE POLLIE n. 1. School child term for somersault.
ROLLMOPS n. 1. Pickled or soused herring.
ROTA n. 1. A list drawn up to determine the rotating order something
will happen. A morning ladies group might have a ROTA of whose house will be
used for which meeting.
ROTTER (raaahhhter) n. 1. A PUBLIC SCHOOL derogatory term for someone
who lets the side down or plays dirty.
ROUNDABOUT n. 1. Traffic circle. A British version of billiards played
with automobiles. This is an attempt by the British to avoid the dilemma
Americans have when four cars come simultaneously to a four-way stop. The
British solve this by allowing everyone to continue into the intersection
without stopping. 2. Carousel.
RUBBER n. 1. Eraser.
RUG n. 1. Car blanket.
RUGBY n. 1. Short form for RUGBY FOOTBALL. This is a football-like
game played without the footballer's padding and equipment. This is a favorite
game of Ireland, Scotland and Wales (and many others) whose national teams are
closely followed. When Ireland won the triple crown of RUGBY in 1982, one PUB
alone in Ireland served up 30,000 PINTS OF STOUT in the ensuing victory
Note there is an important distinction between RUGBY UNION which is an
international amateur sport and RUGBY LEAGUE which is a kind of legal rioting
(professional sport). Note also that RUGBY is not the national sport of EIRE
-- they play HURLING which is a cross between hockey and Death Race 2000.
RUGGER n. 1. An upper class term for RUGBY UNION (See RUGBY).
RUGGER BUGGER n. 1. Someone obsessed with RUGBY. A RUGBY freak.
SALOON BAR n. 1. See LOUNGE BAR.
SANITARY TOWEL n. 1. Kotex pad. You may also see this abbreviated ST.
SATSUMA n. 1. Mandarin orange.
SAVOURY adj. 1. An adjective used by the Hursley CANTEEN staff
to describe anything to which last week's vegetables have been added. 2. An
adjective used by the IBA Crawley CANTEEN staff to describe meat which is not
made from meat, but rather from soybeans.
It would seem prudent to studiously avoid any food which is described with
SCRUBBER n. 1. Young lady of dubious integrity. A tart.
SCRUMPY n. 1. A type of alcoholic drink made by from apples (and, by
common supposition, dead rats) much drunk in some country areas of England. Do
not confuse SCRUMPY with cider whatever anyone tells you. v. 1. To
SCRUMP is to steal fruit from trees. This term is commonly used to refer to boys
PINCHING apples (or the like). It is not clear if SCRUMP has any relationship to
SECATEURS n. 1. Pruning sheers.
SECONDARY SCHOOL n. 1. School for 11-16 year olds. One completes his
ordinary education at 16 in the UK. Upon completion of this, the child may take
a series of tests (called CSEs or O-LEVELS). One may also hear of a
COMPREHENSIVE SECONDARY SCHOOL, where the term COMPREHENSIVE only denotes that
children of mixed abilities attend the school (e.g. handicapped, ordinary and
exceptional children all attend the same school). This form is the norm for
SECONDMENT (emphasis on the second syllable) n. 1. A temporary change
of jobs somewhat like a sabbatical.
SELLOTAPE n. 1. Scotch tape. This was originally a brand name.
Australians beware: the Australian equivalent word "Durex" should not be used in
the UK where DUREX is brand name of a contraceptive device. In Mexico "Durex" is
a brand name of a sock manufacturer. (I guess "Durex" is definitely not to be
SEMOLINA n. 1. A thick custard similar to cream of wheat. This is a
common dessert in school cafeterias.
SERVIETTE n. 1. Napkin, usually made of paper. You may be greeted with
some raised eyebrows if you ask for a napkin in a British restaurant. They may
understand you to mean a SANITARY TOWEL or a NAPPY.
SHAGGED OUT adj. 1. Tired out, WHACKED or KNACKERED. Generally this is
not polite as it most often implies being KNACKERED due to heavy sexual
exertion. If you are SHAGGED OUT, people need not ask why.
SHANDY n. 1. A drink composed of equal parts of BITTER and LEMONADE
(called LEMONADE SHANDY) or BITTER and GINGER BEER (called GINGER BEER SHANDY).
Both are available as non-alcoholic canned drinks for children. (Non-alcoholic
has legal meaning of under two percent by volume).
SHANKS PONY phrase. 1. By foot, as in, "Without PETROL for me car, I
had to get there by SHANKS PONY".
SHARP adj. 1. Of suspicious origin. Shady. Underhanded. A "SHARP car"
is not one you should buy. The term "card SHARP" is also used.
The term is often used to describe a practice which, although legal, is
probably immoral. One such SHARP practice involved a SOLICITOR who both sold a
house and did the legal paperwork for the buyers. He wrote into the contract a
clause allowing him to buy the property back in the future for the original
amount! Legal - perhaps, but definitely a SHARP lawyer!
SHILLING n. 1. Five PENCE.
SHOOTING BRAKE n. 1. Station wagon.
SHOOTING STICK n. 1. A walking stick which folds out into a seat.
SHORTS n. 1. Any pair of shorts which may vary in length from short
(as in tennis shorts) to long (as in bermuda shorts).
SHOUT n. 1. Round, as in, "What 'you having? All right, MATE, it's my
SICK AS A PARROT phrase. 1. Very displeased. This is the exact
opposite of OVER THE MOON.
SIDEBOARDS n. 1. Sideburns. 2. A piece of furniture often found in the
dining room where the good dishes are kept.
SIDESMAN n. 1. An usher at a church.
SILENCER n. 1. Car muffler.
SILLY BILLY n. 1. A foolish person, as in, "Don't be a SILLY BILLY,
join a car pool".
SILVERSIDE n. 1. Corned beef as from a New York deli.
SINDY n. 1. A Barbie-like doll sold in the United Kingdom. As with her
American counterpart, one may purchase SINDY clothes which cost almost as much
as their real versions.
SISTER n. 1. A nurse equivalent to an R.N. There is no connotation of
religious affiliation in the British term. A MATRON is a charge or head nurse
who has management responsibilities in addition to nursing duties.
SIXES n. 1. Home run, as in, "Go for SIXES" as used by Field Marshall
Montgomery in inspirational addresses to his troops on the eve of battle. The
term comes from CRICKET.
SIXTH FORM COLLEGE (sikth form college - the "th" seems to be
optional) n. 1. A school for 16-18 year olds who have completed SECONDARY SCHOOL
and are studying for their A-LEVELS.
SKIRTING BOARD n. 1. Baseboard.
SKITTLES n. 1. A game similar to bowling played when one of the pins
is lost leaving you with only nine pins.
SKIVE v. 1. To avoid work. "To SKIVE OFF" is to take a day off work. A
school boy who regularly skips school might be called a SKIVER.
SKIVVY v. 1. To do menial tasks, as in, "You don't expect me to SKIVVY
for you, do you?". It may also be used as a noun to refer to one who does menial
tasks (e.g. a kind of maid).
SLANG v. 1. To hurl insults at someone, as in "a SLANGING match".
SLATE v. 1. To denigrate. A politician might be SLATED if the
newspaper headlines read "MP suspected in homosexual scandal." SLATE never means
slate (a list of people, as in a slate of candidates). n. 1. Credit to
buy something, as in: .in +5 PUBLICAN: "That'll be two QUID" Customer: "Put it
on the SLATE" PUBLICAN: "How'd you like a BUNCH OF FIVES, MATE?" .in -5
SLIDE n. 1. A hair barrette.
SLIPPER n. 1. A conventional slipper (as worn on your feet) used as a
whipping instrument with which a girl's school HEAD
MISTRESS administers corporal punishment to an unruly student. The CANE or
BIRCH was more often used in boy's schools.
SLOG n. 1. Hard work, as in, "Configuring any NCP is a SLOG".
v. 1. To work hard, as in, "They SLOGGED up the hill with 50 pound
rucksacks. 2. To hit hard, especially at CRICKET, as in, "Don't just stand
there, SLOG the ball". Speculation: Is this the origin of the term "baseball
SMACK n. 1. A quick slap to the hand, legs or buttocks. British
parents do not spank their children, but rather SMACK them. The standard British
parental threat is "If you (don't) ...., I'll SMACK you".
SMARMY adj. 1. Offensively suave and smug. A used car salesman might
be said to be SMARMY.
SMARTIES n. 1. M and M's of more than one color.
SNOTTYLITTLEUPPERCLASSTWIT (This must be said very fast and all run
together) n. 1. Term used for a PUBLIC SCHOOL boy who NICKED a light from
SNUG n. 1. A tiny private area where one may be alone. Schools often
have a SNUG for small children to retreat into for quite reading periods. Also a
small room in a pub that used to be reserved for women and occasionally still is
- the bar would have a small opening or window into the SNUG to serve the ladies
SOLICITOR n. 1. Your basic everyday lawyer who handles most any kind
of legal service like contracts, wills and represents you in lower courts.
However, if you get in serious trouble, you will need a BARRISTER.
SORBET (sor-bay) n. 1. Sherbet ice cream, also known as a WATER ICE.
SOVEREIGN n. 1. A solid gold coin with the supposed face value of one
POUND, i.e. legal tender for one POUND. In reality this was worth about fifty
POUNDS. This coin has been used to pay wages as a way to avoid tax. (It didn't
work.) There was also a HALF-SOVEREIGN.
SPANNER n. 1. Open ended wrench.
SPANNER IN THE WORKS phrase. 1. To mess something up as in, "We'll do
exactly what management asked, that should put a SPANNER IN THE WORKS'.
SPARKS n. 1. An electrician.
SPLASH n. 1. A small stream which would likely not have a bridge, but
people would simple drive through (i.e. splash through). As in, "Wilson's
B&B is on the corner after the SPLASH."
SPEND A PENNY phrase. 1. To go to the toilet. The phrase has its
origins in the days when most toilet stalls in the LOO had locks which would
only open after a penny had been inserted. As in this graffiti,
Here I sit broken hearted,Paid a penny and only
farted.orDefinition of torture: Standing outside a LOO with a bent
SPIV n. 1. A flashy dresser. The term was originally a person who sold
stolen or black market goods in war time. Presumably a SPIV was conspicuous
because he was so much better dressed than others. A used car salesman is a
modern example of a SPIV.
SPORT n. 1. The British term for athletics, as in, "I suppose you men
are all talking about SPORT".
SPOT ON adv. 1. Accurately. During the invasion of the Falklands by
the Argentinian army, the governor's house came under intense fire. After the
surrender, governor Hunt went to his daughter's bedroom to rescue a print of a
Picasso nude. There was a bullet-hole drilled in her bottom. "SPOT ON," said
SQUASH n. 1. A popular game which somewhat resembles racket ball. 2. A
concentrate which when diluted serves as a sweet drink for children. This term
is never confused by the British, since their children do not play with what
STANDING ACCOUNT n. 1. Savings account. This is a term used by English
bankers to confuse Americans. Also known as a DEPOSIT ACCOUNT.
STANDING OUT LIKE CHAPEL HATPEGS phrase. 1. Bug-eyed in amazement. 2.
May also refer to prominent nipples (thereby explaining 1.).
STICKING PLASTER n. 1. Band Aid.
STATE SCHOOL n. 1. Public school. Also known as a MAINTAINED SCHOOL
(as opposed to a school that is not maintained, I guess).
<!-- Thanks for Forbes for this -->Actually
MAINTAINED refers to a school that is financed by the public authorities but
is not owned or managed by them. The reasons are partly historical. For
instance numerous free schools, originally for children aged 5-12, were set up
as a public service by the Church of England in the 19th century. When school
attendance became compulsory in the late 19th century the public authorities
had to build and staff additional schools, but there was no need to close
existing schools which were able to continue under their existing ownership
and management, but with the benefit of financial support from public funds.
Financial support naturally depends on the school meeting the required
educational standards and other criteria such as free admission. From the
point of view of children and parents a MAINTAINED SCHOOL is very little
different from a STATE SCHOOL.
STICKY TAPE n. 1. Scotch tape. SELLOTAPE.
STICKY WICKET phrase. 1. A difficult situation. This phrase originates
in the game of CRICKET. Jargon peculiar to games would normally not be included
in the dictionary, however, STICKY WICKET is very commonly used. As in this
quote of a BBC correspondent about the attack on Goose Green in the Falkland
Islands, "The machine gun nest had us covered. It really was a STICKY WICKET."
To understand the derivation of this phrase, one must know a bit about the
game. A pitcher (BOWLER) throws the CRICKET ball towards the batter (BATSMAN)
who will attempt to strike the ball, thereby preventing the ball from hitting
three sticks (WICKETS) behind him. The BOWL is not thrown entirely in the air
(as in baseball), but is bounced in front of the batter.
The part of the playing field is also known as the WICKET. After a rain,
the WICKET may be rather soft (STICKY) and this may make the ball do very
peculiar things. Playing on a STICKY WICKET then, puts the BATSMAN in a very
STODGY adj. 1. When said of food, heavy or very filling. 2. Dull or
STONE n. 1. Fourteen pounds weight.
STOUT n. 1. Name for a type of Irish beer which is black in color, as
in "Guinness STOUT".
STRAIGHT AWAY adv. 1. Immediately, right away. As in, "He started
working on the problem STRAIGHT AWAY."
STUFFED adj. 1. Describing when unpleasant things are poked into
private parts of one's anatomy. Exclaiming after a meal, "I'm STUFFED" would
likely raise muffled snickers.
SUBWAY n. 1. An walkway under a street. Do not expect to use the
London UNDERGROUND (called the TUBE) at a SUBWAY.
SULTANAS n. 1. Yellow raisins, rather than the usual brown ones common
in the USA.
SURGERY n. 1. Doctor's office, as in, "You'd better see a doctor about
that. I'll take you to SURGERY." Note that "the" in this example was omitted.
"The" is often omitted in many such phrases. There seems to be no discernible
rule when "thes" may be dropped. 2. Period during which a doctor's office is
open to patients. This usage may also be used for periods that politicians might
set aside to discuss problems with their constituents. A politician might
announce that he would hold a SURGERY from 10-11AM.
<!-- Thanks for Forbes for this -->THE
SURGERY is a place, whereas SURGERY is more of a "get-together". "I'm going to
THE SURGERY" might mean no more than "I'm going to the building in which the
local doctor carries on his medical activities" and implies nothing about my
reason for going there. Whereas "I'm going to SURGERY" definitely means I am
going to that building in order to seek medical help and I'm going at a time
of day when a doctor is on duty and is available to minister to patients.
This is also true with hospitals, schools and lunches. "I am going to THE
HOSPITAL tomorrow. The administrator says their central heating system is
giving trouble and they want my advice about renewing it." Alternatively "I am
going to HOSPITAL tomorrow - they will operate on me the following day and I
hope to be home by the end of the week."
In general, the inclusion of THE emphasises the identification of a
particular place or event, and limits the meaning of the word to the place or
event concerned. Dropping the THE removes the emphasis from the place or event
and focuses it on the activity. Just so as not to be too consistent, Brits
would always say THE THEATRE, meaning the activity as well as the place.
SURNAME n. 1. Your last name. Strictly speaking this word is also an
American word, but I have included it because the phrase "last name" is never
found in the U.K. Whenever a British person wishes to know your name, he will
invariably say "What's your SURNAME?" (and I almost never get it correct the
SUSS OUT v. 1. To figure something out, to investigate. As in, "to
SUSS OUT the competition".
SUSPENDERS n. 1. Used by women to hold up nylon stockings. This is
definitely not something used by a male. Garters used by men to hold up their
socks are called SOCK HANGERS or perhaps SOCK SUSPENDERS.
SWEDE n. 1. Rutabaga.
SWINGS AND ROUNDABOUTS phrase. 1. Its all the same. The full
expression is "What you gain on the SWINGS, you lose on the ROUNDABOUTS".
SWOT v. 1. To cram, as in, "to SWOT UP for an exam".
"T - Z"
TABLOID n. 1. A term used to describe several of the national
newspapers, specifically THE SUN, THE DAILY STAR, THE DAILY MIRROR, THE DAILY
EXPRESS, THE MORNING STAR (the socialist paper) and THE DAILY MAIL. A TABLOID'S
page is small (being approximately one-half the page size of a standard
newspaper). They are characterised by outlandish, sensationalist headlines at
the slightest whim of news. The TABLOIDS were especially active during the
Falklands crisis (although real news is not a prerequisite for a TABLOID).
The TABLOIDS are very popular and competition is fierce among them for
readers. THE SUN and the DAILY STAR sport a bare breasted BIRD to keep the
readers attention (should the reader get bored with the shallow amount of
information in the rest of the paper). The DAILY MAIL has been distancing
itself (in respectability) from the other TABLOIDS and more closely
approximates a newspaper. See also PAGE THREE
Read by the people who run the country.
Read by the people who think they run the country.
Read by the people who think they ought to run the country.
Read by the people who think the country ought to be run by another
Read by the wives of the people who own the country.
Read by the people who own the country.
Read by the people who think that the country ought to be run as it used
Read by the people who think it still is.
Their readers don't care who runs the country as long as she has big
TAKES THE BISCUIT phrase. 1. Equivalent to "That beats everything".
TANNER n. 1. Obsolete term for six old PENCE.
TANNOY n. 1. A public address system, from Tannoy, a British
loudspeaker manufacturer. v. 1. To page on a public address system, as
in, "You ought to 'ave 'im TANNOYED." (To which one pundit thought, "He
should've been here, but his crime wasn't so heinous that he should be
TARMAC n. 1. Blacktop. The word is derived from an 18th century
engineer and road builder by the name of John Macadam.
TEA n. 1. A very common hot beverage found in the UK. It is usually
served with a generous portion of milk to mask the flavor of the TEA. 2. A light
meal in the early evening at which one drinks TEA or coffee, but not wine or
spirits. A meal held later in the evening (e.g. 8 p.m.) is definitely not TEA,
regardless of what you drink or how light the meal may be.
TEACAKE n. 1. A kind of sweetened bread with raisins, often served
toasted. There are lots of CAKES like this: BATH BUNS, CHELSEA BUNS and ECCLES
CAKES. Breads come in many varieties also, such as: BAPS, BRIDGE ROLLS,
FINGER ROLLS and COTTAGE LOAF.
TEA TOWEL n. 1. Dish towel.
TEE SHIRT n. 1. Short sleeved sports shirt.
TELLY n. 1. A television, not a telephone.
TERRACE HOUSE n. 1. Row house. Town house.
THEATRE n. 1. An establishment where one may see plays, ballet etc.
This is most certainly not a place to see movies.
THE CITY n. 1. London's equivalent to Wall Street. When visiting
London avoid routes signposted to THE CITY unless you are trying to get lost.
THREE PENCE (thrup-pen-ss) n. 1. An obsolete coin worth three old
TICK MARK n. 1. A small mark made by a teacher along side every
correct answer. If your children come home with TICK MARKS all over their
papers, its good. Its the X's (crosses) you need to be concerned about.
TIGHTS n. 1. Hosiery, nylons or even tights.
TIMBER YARD n. 1. Lumber yard.
TIME GENTLEMEN PLEASE phrase. 1. Standard request for customers to
leave drink up and leave the PUB. Anyone serving or buying a drink after TIME is
breaking the law. In liberated PUBS you may hear "TIME LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
TIN n. 1. Can, as in "a TIN of fruit". 2. Pan, as in "a cake TIN".
TIP adj. 1. Mess, as in, "The room was all in a TIP". n. 1.
Dump, as in a "rubbish TIP".
TIPPER LORRY n. 1. Dump truck.
TIPPLE v. 1. To drink, often accompanied with a motion of the wrist to
suggest its meaning, as in, "What's your TIPPLE ?".
TISSUE n. 1. Kleenex.
TOAD IN THE HOLE n. 1. Sausages in YORKSHIRE PUDDING.
TOGGED UP/OUT v. 1. To be all dressed up, as in, "He was TOGGED OUT in
top hat and tails".
TOGS n. 1. Clothes, as in SWIMMING TOGS.
TOMATO SAUCE (toe-mah-toe sah-ss) n. 1. Ketchup.
TOMBOLA (tom-bole-ah) n. 1. A raffle as might be found at a FETE.
TOMMY BAR n. 1. Crow bar. A straight bar used to lever something.
TON n. 1. Twenty HUNDREDWEIGHT (2240 pounds). 2. One hundred. Often
100 mph or 100 POUNDS sterling. Road signs reading "MAX 10 TONS" are however
weight limits, not speed limits. To the passive American driver who is
accustomed to 55 mph, it seems that the speed limit really is 10 TONS.
TONSILITIS n. 1. Strep throat.
TORCH n. 1. Flash light.
TOTTER n. 1. A refuse collector who picks over collected rubbish for
anything which is salable. A now almost extinct version of a TOTTER is a RAG AND
BONE MAN. He usually drives a horse and cart and collects household items. Often
he would give the children a goldfish or balloon in return for items they would
bring to him.
TOTTING UP v. 1. To add up.
TRAFFICATORS n. 1. Directional signals. The term was actually used to
describe small "arms" on the outside of a vehicle which would flip out
indicating the direction one wished to turn. This term has fallen into disuse
since the British car industry has modernized.
TRAMP n. 1. A vagrant. 2. A hooker.
TRANSPORT CAFE (trans-port caff) n. 1. Truck stop.
TREACLE n. 1. A molasses-like sweet syrup. If this is very dark it is
known as BLACK TREACLE. Light colored syrup is known as GOLDEN SYRUP.
TREETS n. 1. M and M's which are all the same color.
TRENDY adj. 1. Fashionable, with perhaps a somewhat derogatory
connotation. Only people who aren't TRENDY, would use the term.
TRIFLE (try-fle) n. 1. A layered dessert of custard, jello, sherry,
fruit and sponge cake.
TROLLEY n. 1. Cart, as in a shopping cart or TEA TROLLEY.
TROUSERS n. 1. Pants.
TUBE n. 1. The London subway system.
TURNING n. 1. Turn (when giving directions) as in, "Its the third
TURNING on the right".
TURN-UPS n. 1. Pant cuffs.
TWEE adj. 1. Prissey, as in, a "TWEE hat" or "TWEE joke".
TWO PENCE (tup-pen-ss) n. 1. Not a coin worth two old PENCE, but
simply a term for two PENCE.
UNDERGROUND n. 1. Subway.
UNDERTAKE v. 1. Pass on the left. This is illegal in the UK except
when passing a car that is turning right. The normal meaning of this is a
mortician. UK bumper sticker: "OVERTAKERS to the right. UNDERTAKERS to the
left." See OVERTAKE.
UP/DOWN MARKET phrase. 1. Of a higher or lower economic status. As in,
"The new 3.5 Rover from British Leyland is definitely UP MARKET".
VACANT adj. 1. The state a lavatory is in when it's not ENGAGED.
Curiously this is not used of telephones.
VERGER n. 1. Sober guardians, usually dressed in black, found in many
churches. Their principle purpose seems to be to remind tourists to remove their
hats in church.
VERGES n. 1. Shoulder of a road as in, "SOFT VERGES".
VEST n. 1. A tee shirt. Undershirt.
VOLLEY n. 1. A term used in tennis or squash meaning to strike the
ball with your racket without allowing it to bounce on the ground. The also
leads to the term HALF-VOLLEY which occurs when you do not properly VOLLEY the
ball, but rather strike it on the short hop.
V-SIGN n. 1. Clenched fist with the index and first finger raised to
form a V shape (meaning "victory"). 2. Clenched fist with the index and first
finger raised to form a V shape (being a rude insult to the audience).
These two forms are distinguished by the direction of the knuckles:
knuckles toward audience being an insult (2) and knuckles toward the
gesticulator meaning victory (1). Winston Churchill was much given to getting
these confused. Use of form (2) to indicate the number two may result in
WAIST COAT n. 1. Vest.
WALLY n. 1. An idiot. Someone who is so dumb, he doesn't even know he
WANK v. 1. To masturbate.
WASH UP v. 1. To wash pots, pans, knives, forks etc. It does not mean
to wash hands and face.
WASTE BIN n. 1. Waste paper basket.
WAY OUT n. 1. Exit. This phrase will be found in place of "exit" signs
in buildings in the United Kingdom.
WELLIES n. 1. WELLINGTONS. Rubber boots. The Duke of Wellington
invented rubber boots, hence the name.
WHACKED adj. 1. Tired. Exhausted. As in, "Went to a party on Saturday
and I'm still WHACKED".
WHISKY n. 1. Unless otherwise specified, this means Scotch whisky. See
WHISKEY n. 1. Irish whiskey. Since the pronunciation is identical to
WHISKY, it's safer to ask for IRISH WHISKEY if that is what you want.
The word WHISKEY has its origins in the Gaelic (Irish) word UISCE BEATHA
(ish-ka bah-ah) which means "water of life".
WIDEBOY n. 1. Shady operator. SPIV.
WILLIE n. 1. School boy's term for a peni$.
WINDSCREEN n. 1. Car windshield.
WING n. 1. Fender of a car.
WINKERS n. 1. Directional signals (as on a car). Since one blinks with
two eyes and winks with one eye, directional signals should be WINKERS and not
WITH THE GREATEST RESPECT phrase. 1. Phrase used when discussing
matters with your superiors. The phrase is emphasized when you have no respect
for the person you are speaking to. This is a safe way of saying he doesn't have
any idea what he is talking about.
WOOD LICE n. 1. Potato bugs.
YORKSHIRE PUDDING n. 1. Not a desert but a kind of baked batter mix
mostly eaten with roast beef.
YOU LOT n. 1. You. This phrase is used exactly as y'all is used in the
South. As in, "If YOU LOT think I'm going to wait till you come back from the
PUB, you're DAFT."
ZEBRA CROSSING (zeb-rah not zee-bra) n. 1. One of several types of
pedestrian crossings, so named because of the distinctive black and white
stripes which mark the road where the pedestrian is to cross.
ZEBRA CROSSINGS are important because pedestrians have the right of way at
all times -- one foot on the crossing is enough to stop approaching vehicles
(PIGS MIGHT FLY too!). Apart from being highly illegal, running down pedestrians
on ZEBRA CROSSINGS is considered NOT CRICKET.
A ZEBRA CROSSING can be distinguished from other pedestrian crossings by means
of the BELISHA
BEACONS at each end. .
Note: Although you are required to stop if you are about to hit a pedestrian
on this type of crossing, other drivers may not stop if you are the pedestrian.
If you are run down by a passing motorist, be sure to check his accent; if this
reveals a PUBLIC SCHOOL education then prosecution is unlikely to be successful
against the motorist (you may of course be sued for 'contributory negligence' or
ZED n. 1. The letter "Z".
ZED BED n. 1. A type of fold away bed.
ZED BEND n. 1. A double bend in the road (similar to an S-curve).
After driving the narrow winding roads of England (especially in the South
West), an American would feel that the ZED BEND is a particularly appropriate
term to use. Roads that only "S" curve are considered to be minor variations of
a straight road. A ZED BEND actually does resemble the shape of the letter "Z".
"The Americans are identical to the British in all respects except, of
course, language."Oscar Wilde "Giving English to an American
is like giving sex to a child. He knows it's important but he doesn't know what
to do with it."Adam Cooper (19th century) "We (the British
and Americans) are two countries separated by a common language."G.B.
The Englishman commented to the American about the "curious" way in which he
pronounced so many words, such as schedule (pronounced shedule). The American
thought about it for a few moments, then replied, "Perhaps it's because we went
to different shools!"
Note the date, 1983. This work was completed while we lived
in the U.K. in the early 1980s. The work is no longer maintained and so
contains some dated references to people of the time. The definitions are my
interpretation of explanations from Brits with whom I came in contact and
hence may not be complete or even totally accurrate.
Additional background on these pages is available
Any redistribution of this information without permission is
strictly prohibited. Copyright (c) 1995 Terry Gliedt. Direct comments or
questions to email@example.com Last Revision: Jul
The items in this dictionary were collected while I lived in the United
Kingdom. While there I learned that the "English" and "American" languages have
less in common than might be supposed. New words can be confusing and their
meaning may be lost to you. More troublesome is a word which has a completely
different meaning in each language. The problem is that you think you
The items found below may cause confusion for one who is conversant in both
languages. The word being defined is an "English" word or phrase. The definition
is in "American". All English words are entered in capital letters so the reader
will not be misled. Mixed case words may be safely interpreted by the American
reader. Not all meanings are given for a particular word. English words often
have several meanings and only those which differ (from American) are listed
The pronunciation in American sound phonetics (in parentheses) follows the
word being defined. If this is omitted the pronunciation is as an American would
expect. English pronunciation of these words is often similar to the American
version. However, in general, the English pronunciation is more "clipped" and is
said at twice the rate of American. English readers will find there is a
definite tilt towards "southern English" in the dictionary. Readers from other
parts of the U.K. should not be offended. This merely reflects that most of my
sources were from that area.
This work is copyright by Terry Gliedt and may not be redistributed in any
form without written permission from the author.
The first edition of this dictionary had 232 items, the second had 328 items,
and the third had 422 items. The fourth edition had 501 items which defined 643
terms. This edition has 619 items which define 800 terms.
The popluarity of these pages continues to amaze me. These pages have never
been registered in a search engine nor have I ever solicited anyone else to
provide a link to these and yet these pages have received an amazing amount of
visibility. Go figure!
Any redistribution of this information without permission is
strictly prohibited. Copyright (c) 1995 Terry Gliedt. Direct comments or
questions to firstname.lastname@example.org Last Revision: Jul
ABATTOIR n. 1. A slaughter house which processes meat for human
ABBREVIATION Abbreviations form their own subset of a language.
Examples of some of the more common abbreviations are given here.
AGA (ar-ger) 1. Brand name of a particular type of stove which is
often found in farm houses. The stove will use a variety of things as its
fuel. An AGA resembles a Franklin wood burning stove.
AGM 1. Newspaper headline abbreviation for Annual General Meeting.
B&B 1. Bed and Breakfast. Wherever B&B is seen, it means
there is a bedroom available for the night, be it only one spare bedroom in a
house or ten in an inn. Typical prices in 1982 range from five to ten POUNDS per
night. A generous breakfast of cereal, eggs, toast and some type of meat is
served in the morning.
CWT 1. A HUNDREDWEIGHT.
DIY 1. Do It Yourself. TIMBER
YARDS would probably have DIY prominently displayed outside.
GBH 1. Grievous Bodily Harm. This is police term popular with
television shows when they are trying to be realistic.
GC 1. Newspaper advertisement abbreviation meaning Good Condition.
This is usually in lower case (gc). VGC is used so
extensively that when one sees GC, it serves as a warning that the item is
probably pretty GROTTY.
HGV 1. Heavy Goods Vehicle.
HP 1. Standing for HIRE Purchase
meaning to buy something in installments. As in, "Everything he has is on the
MEP 1. Member of the European Parliament.
MOT 1. A form of legalised robbery that works as follows: Every year
you are obliged by law to obtain a certificate of roadworthiness (MOT) for
your three year old (or older) car. Only a garage is allowed to issue an MOT.
A garage will not issue a certified MOT until you agree to various expensive
"repairs". If you don't believe that a particular part needs replacement you
can always try another garage, but you must pay a fee (five POUNDS) to the
first garage in any case. (In all fairness I must admit that I was not charged
any pseudo-repair fees when getting my last MOT.) 2. Ministry Of Transport
(there is no such ministry now. What was the MOT is now the Department of
MP 1. Member of Parliament. 2. Military Policeman. 3. (now rare)
Metropolitan (i.e. London) Policeman. Except where clearly indicated by
context, MP normally means (1) above.
N.B. 1. Officially in American, but almost never understood, this
term means "Nota Bene" (note well).
OAP 1. Old Age Pensioner (i.e. a retired person).
OFFO 1. Abbreviation for OFF
LICENCE (I don't know how they get the last "O" either).
ONO 1. Newspaper advertisement abbreviation for Or Nearest Offer.
This is usually in lower case (ono).
OVNO 1. Newspaper advertisement abbreviation for Or Very Nearest
Offer. This is usually in lower case (ovno).
P 1. One new PENNY. The term PENNY or its plural, PENCE, is not
often heard. One usually refers to the price of something as simply "24 P".
This is usually written as a lower case "p".
PM 1. The Prime Minister, Margaret (MAGGIE)
PTO 1. Please Turn Over, commonly found at the bottom of forms.
SOTON 1. Southampton. In an effort to economize and reduce the
excessive amount of information on roadsigns, this city's name was abbreviated
to SOTON (sometimes lengthened to SO'TON). Since SOTON is a major city in
HANTS, the uninitiated will find that seemingly all roads in HANTS lead to
The UK abounds in such abbreviations such as BERKS = BERKSHIRE (in general
'SHIRE' is shortened to 'S'). Several counties in the UK have been abolished
by law but the law has been widely ignored. Hence MIDDX = MIDDLESEX and
RUTLAND are still used as names of areas. One of the biggest offenders of this
law is the Post Office itself. Letters addressed to MIDDX will arrive
(eventually) and those "properly" addressed will be lost!
ST 1. SANITARY TOWEL. This is often seen in toilets.
VGC 1. Newspaper advertisement abbreviation for Very Good Condition.
This is usually in lower case (vgc) and may mean anything from "like new" to
"used, but still looks good".
WC 1. Some tell me it is "Water Convenience", others "Water Closet".
In any case it's a toilet.
ADAM'S ALE n. 1. Water.
AIRER n. 1. A collapsible outside clothes line apparatus for drying
clothes. A CLOTHES HORSE is a kind of drying rack.
AIRSCREW n. 1. Propeller.
A-LEVELS n. 1. An exam which is the second part of the General
Certificate of Education needed in order to attend the university. These are
generally taken at age 18.
ALLOTMENT n. 1. A vegetable garden plot. These are typically owned by
some sort of government authority and citizens may simply apply to use one. As
in, "We've an ALLOTMENT over on Garden CLOSE". These are also called
ALLOTMENTS have been available for a very long time. For example, residents
of the village of Colden Common, HANTS, could obtain an ALLOTMENT in 1855 for a
fee of three POUNDS a year. These same ALLOTMENTS are used today and cost four
ALSATIAN n. 1. German shepherd dog.
AMBER n. 1. Yellow (when said of traffic lights). In Britain all
traffic lights go: Green, AMBER, red, red and AMBER, green. Note: An AMBER
GAMBLER is one who is yellow/green color-blind (taken from road safety
AMERICAN DINNER n. 1. A potluck dinner.
ANORAK n. 1. Hooded coat. Parka.
APPROVED SCHOOL n. 1. Now known as COMMUNITY SCHOOLS, this is a place
where children who are removed from the custody of their parents are brought.
ARBROATH SMOKIES n. 1. Kippers, smoked herring. A Kipper is prepared
by gutting the fish before smoking it. A BLOATER is similar, but is smoked whole
and has a more "gamey" taste.
ARROWS n. 1. Darts, as in, "How about a game of ARROWS ?".
ARTICULATED LORRY n. 1. A semi truck. This is almost always shortened
to ARTIC (pronounced AR-TICK with the emphasis on the second syllable).
ATHLETICS n. 1. Track and field.
AUBERGINE (o-ber-jean) n. 1. Eggplant.
AUNT SALLY n. 1. A person at a carnival game that you throw sponges
etc. at. This is often generalized to be anyone that is commonly castigated or
insulted. To quote a BBC radio broadcaster: "Well, you know, the Post Office is
everyone's AUNT SALLY".
At a local village FETE the HEAD MASTER was an AUNT SALLY in a booth to
raise money for the school. The children paid 10P to throw three wet sponges
at him. He raised 350 POUNDS.
BABY SITTING CIRCLE phrase. 1. Baby sitting co-op. This is a group of
parents who share baby sitting services between themselves. Various schemes are
used to ensure that one only uses as much "service" as one "serves".
BALACLAVA n. 1. A ski mask. The term originates from the Battle of
Balaclava where the BALACLAVA was invented.
BANGERS n. 1. Sausages. A very common meal is BANGERS and MASH
(sausages and mashed potatoes). The sausages are called BANGERS because they
will burst if you do not pierce them while they are cooking.
BANJO n. 1. A garage sale where children's clothes and toys may be
found. Note: Only much later did we discover this name is simply a composite of
the ladies' names who run the BANJO. It is not a term to be commonly understood
by those people outside Colden Common, HANTS.
BAR 1. Gambling term used to note those entrants in a competition who
all are equally (un)likely to win and are quoted at the same odds. As in, "11:1
BAR". This would mean that all other entries, bar none, are quoted at 11 to 1
odds to win.
BARRISTER n. 1. A specialist trial lawyer, who may appear before the
higher courts, as opposed to your common garden-variety SOLICITOR, who generally
may not. BARRISTERS may not join a firm of other lawyers. They must practice the
law completely independently, but may be grouped together to share office
expenses such as telephones etc., however, their practices may not overlap in
any manner. These restrictions do not apply to SOLICITORS.
BARRISTERS cannot tout for business and tradition has it that a BARRISTER
is not really employed at all. He offers his services as a gesture, and if, in
gratitude, you want to slip him a few SOVEREIGNS
as an honorarium, he has, even today, a pocket on the back of his gown into
which you may discreetly deposit the cash.
BEEFBURGER n. 1. Hamburger. Unlike in the U.S. where now this term
might be used to denote a hamburger made from beef and not something else like
soybeans or turkey gizzards, the British term does not have this connotation. As
in this poem from Ogden Nash,
In mortal combat I am joinedWith monstrous words wherever
coined.'BEEFBURGER' is a term worth hating,Both fraudulent and
infuriating,Contrived to foster the beliefThat only BEEFBURGERS are
made of beef,Implying with shoddy flim and flamThat hamburgers are
made of ham.
BEETROOT n. 1. A beet.
BELISHA BEACON (be-lee-shah bee-con) n. 1. A traffic signal consisting
of a yellow sphere with a flashing light and mounted atop a black and white
striped pole. This is used to indicate the presence of a ZEBRA, but not a
term is named after Hore Belisha who was the Home Secretary at the time when
BELISHA BEACONS were introduced into the U.K.
BELL n. 1. Telephone call, as in, "Give us a BELL when you get there."
TINKLE may also be used, as in, "Give us a TINKLE".
BELTS AND BRACES phrase. 1. To over compensate for something. One may
need a belt or BRACES, but both is definitely over doing it.
BILLION n. 1. One trillion. One billion is one thousand million to the
British. One TRILLION is one thousand BILLION to the British. Because of the
difference and confusion, official use of the term has been dropped in favor of
"one thousand million" (billion) or "one million million" (BILLION).
BIN n. 1. Waste paper basket.
BIRD n. 1. Slang term for a girl or woman.
BIRO (bi-row) n. 1. Ball point pen. This was originally a trade name
BISCUIT n. 1. Cookie. 2. Cracker, as in, "BISCUITS and cheese". Other
types of BISCUITS include BATH OLIVERS, WATER BISCUITS, BOURBONS and DIGESTIVES.
BITTER n. 1. Name for a type of English beer. This is served at cellar
temperature and is a bit darker than LAGER. It has a slightly "bitter" taste.
There are numerous types of BITTER which will vary by PUB and locality.
I once read an amusing article -- by an Englishman of course -- on common
American misconceptions about England. There was a passage that went roughly
as follows: '(A common misconception is) that our beer is sour, flat, and
lukewarm. On the contrary our beer is bitter, still, and served with the chill
off. It is served that way because that is the way to serve it. There exists a
stuff called LAGER so tasteless that it can be cooled without damage and so
unsubstantial that a few bubbles make no difference. But we don't drink LAGER,
we drink beer.'
BLACKBIRD n. 1. A bird QUITE unlike a blackbird. The English love
BLACKBIRDS. When N.A.S.A. sprayed blackbirds with detergent, some English bird
lovers nearly had apoplexy due to their confusion with BLACKBIRDS. The British
love of BLACKBIRDS stems mainly from their suitability for eating (now highly
There are a number of birds which are completely different but bear the
same name in both languages. A ROBIN is a grey-brown bird about the size of a
house sparrow but having a red breast.
BLACK PUDDING n. 1. Not a pudding at all, but rather a form of blood
BLANCMANGE (blah-mahn-je) n. 1. A dessert rather like custard made by
mixing a white powder (today this is often fruit flavored) with hot milk. When
this cools it solidifies producing a flavored jello-like dessert. It may be
eaten warm or after it has cooled.
BLOKE n. 1. Guy or fellow, as in, "The BLOKE NICKED me light!".
BLOODY HELL (blud-ee-el) Expletive. 1. This blasphemous expression may
be used to voice one's incredulity about something just said. This is equivalent
to the American phrase "Why, Gosh. Who would have thought!" 2. It may also be
used to express disapproval of something said, as in the American phrase "I'm
sorry, but I simply cannot agree with you!"
It is possible that BLOODY is an elided form of "By Our Lady" or perhaps is
derived from "God's Blood". In any case, this was once considered a very
strong expletive. Other variations include: RUDDY, BALLY (rhymes with Sally),
BLOOMIN', BLIMEY (which is probably derived from "God blind me"), BLEEDIN',
and STRUTH ("By God's truth").
BLUE CROSS n. 1. Sign for an animal hospital.
BOB n. 1. One SHILLING (now worth 5P).
A BOB-A-JOB is a fund raising technique used by the Scouts. One would pay a
BOB for each job, hence the name.
BOBBY n. 1. Policeman in the UK. They are always impeccably dressed
with perfectly creased trousers and shiny black shoes. They are easily
identified by their distinctive helmets. The term came from Robert Peel, the
"inventor" of the policeman.
Other slang terms for the police include BOGEY (sorry Humphrey), OLD BILL
and the FILTH. The term ROZZER refers to a police constable.
BOB'S YOUR UNCLE phrase. 1. Everything is complete. There is no more
to be done. As in, "Set up register 13 and BOB'S YOUR UNCLE".
BOFFIN n. 1. A bright but probably eccentric scientist who likely
deals in a very unusual area (as a research or think tank scientist).
BOILER n. 1. Furnace. Forced air heating systems are rare in the U.K.
where hot water systems are almost universally used. Hence the term BOILER
actually refers to the boiler to heat the water for the heating system. BOILERS
are not as common as you might expect. A recent survey reported that 65 percent
of U.K. households now have central heating.
BOILER SUIT n. 1. Overalls. See also OVERALLS.
BOLLARD n. 1. Any obstruction used to control the flow of traffic,
such as traffic islands or posts along the side of the road to prevent one from
parking in certain places. 2. The hitching post (on a dock) you tie your yacht
or ocean liner to.
BOMB adj. 1. Describes something good, as in, "It (a play) went like a
BOMB" (smash hit) or "I could go a BOMB on that" (I like/approve that). BOMB has
been corrupted somewhat by the American bomb. This may cause confusion to the
many British who are familiar with both meanings and therefore may not be
certain which is your meaning.
BONFIRE NIGHT n. 1. Celebrated every November fifth, this marks an
attempt to blow up parliament. Opinions differ whether the celebration is
because the attempt was made or because it failed. This is also called Guy
Fawkes Night after one of the conspirators. Guy is burned in effigy on a large
bonfire while fireworks are set off. This much loved event tends to eclipse
Halloween since the two are only a few days apart. Every British child knows
Remember, remember the fifth of NovemberGunpowder, treason and
plot.I see no reason why gunpowder treasonShould ever be
BONKERS adj. 1. Acting crazy or mad. Other variations include
CRACKERS, DAFT, BARMY and DOOLALLY (a corruption of the name of a place in
BONNET n. 1. That part of an automobile which is at the other end from
BOOB TUBE n. 1. Slang term for a tank top or knitted sleeve top. This
never means TELLY. "The men were all glued to the BOOB TUBE" would raise a
completely wrong image to the British.
BOOK v. 1. To reserve. The British never reserve a table at a
restaurant or a room at an hotel, they always BOOK it: "Do we need to BOOK in
advance, do you think?" The term BOOKING means a reservation.
BOOT n. 1. That part of an automobile which is at the other end from
BORSTAL n. 1. A training school for 16-21 year olds who get into
trouble with the law. The intent here is to reduce recidivism by teaching the
offender a skill he can use when he gets out. These are now marked for
extinction to be replaced by common jails.
BOTHER Expletive. 1. Expression used to convey one's frustration over
something, as in, "Oh, BOTHER! Why doesn't he find someone else!".
BOVRIL n. 1. A beefy flavored drink one might have on a cool evening
to warm you up. See MARMITE.
BOXING DAY n. 1. A holiday which falls on the day after Christmas (the
Feast of St. Stephen). In earlier years the wealthy would put leftover Christmas
food in boxes for their servants or the poor. Since the servants probably worked
Christmas day, they had the day after Christmas off to enjoy the Christmas
Traditionally the queen gives a small gift of money to a selected group of
OAPs on BOXING DAY. (A gift of an especially minted coin is also given to some
OAPs at Easter time. This is called MAUNDY MONEY.)
BRACES n. 1. Suspenders.
BRANSTON n. 1. Pickle. Also known as a BRANNIE pickle.
BRICKIE n. 1. A bricklayer.
BROLLY n. 1. Umbrella.
BUBBLE AND SQUEAK n. 1. Fried left-over potatoes and greens (with
perhaps some onions added for flavor).
BUDGERIGAR (budge-er-ee-gar) n. 1. The proper name for what Americans
call a parakeet. This is usually called a BUDGIE.
BUGGERY n. 1. A legal term describing what male homosexuals do. The
term BUGGER (rogue) has the same meaning in both languages. However, bugger
(things in your nose, BOGEY in the U.K.) may be interpreted as a reference to
BUGGERY. A reference to bugger by a child may be a rude shock to a Brit.
BUGGY n. 1. A stroller.
BUM n. 1. Slightly jocular name for the posterior. BUM is rarely used
to mean bum (vagrant).
BUNCHES n. 1. Pigtails.
BUNCH OF FIVES phrase. 1. Knuckle sandwich.
BUNG v. 1. To throw or dump carelessly, as in, "Oh, just BUNG it over
there". n. 1. Stopper as in a "rubber BUNG for a test tube".
BUNGED UP adj. 1. Suffering from CATARRH and/or
BUNGALOW n. 1. Ranch style house. All rooms are on one level.
BUTTON B n. 1. Before 1963 British CALL BOXES had two buttons labelled
"A" (pushed when the other party answered and you wished to speak to them) and
"B" (used to return your money). A favorite school child source of income was to
"PUSH BUTTON B" hoping someone had failed to do this. Hence today, anyone who
checks the coin return in a vending machine might be accused of "PUSHING BUTTON
BUTTY n. 1. Sandwich, as in JAM BUTTIES (jelly sandwiches) or CHIP
BUTTIES (French fry sandwiches) both of which are LIVERPUDLIAN (i.e. from the
city of Liverpool) in origin.
CALL BOX n. 1. A public telephone booth. In the U.K. one dials the
number first, then when the other party answers the phone, you hear a beeping
noise and must insert a 10P coin. Although the volume is loud enough, the phone
sounds as if you are speaking from a cave and are standing five feet from the
The British telephone system works on a unit of time basis. The unit is
inversely proportional to the distance of the call: the longer the distance,
the shorter the unit of time. You must pay 10P for each unit. The means that
even "local" calls may require you to use more than 10P for a call.
Telephoning from a CALL BOX can be a traumatic experience, especially if
you run out of time and must insert more 10P pieces. After you have used up
your unit of time, a beeping sound interrupts (this can be heard by both
parties). You have approximately five seconds to insert another 10P coin. This
requires extraordinary skill and luck. You are almost certain to a) drop the
coin or b) be unable to push the coin into the slot. If you should be
fortunate enough to insert the coin, a) it will be too late or b) the coin
will be rejected.
CAMP-ON n. 1. A feature of the IBM 3750 Telephone Exchange System
(this is not available in the United States). This following quote from the
Hursley Lab Telephone directory will make this term perfectly clear.
"If the extension you require is busy, you may attract the user's attention
by initiating the CAMP-ON procedure. *Dial 6, you will now hear the CAMP-ON
tone briefly. You may wait for your party to answer your request (as in "A"
below) or you can hang up, in which case you will be rung back and connected
to your party when it is free (as in "B"). Note. If you receive or make a call
after initiating this request the CAMP-ON request will be cancelled.
"Accept CAMP-ON. When you hear the CAMP-ON tone, you may respond by one
of the following:
"A. Ask your existing party to hold, then *dial 6; you will be
connected to the second caller privately while your original call is held. To
return to the first call *dial 4.
"B. Hang up after completion of the original call, in which case your
phone will ring and be connected automatically to the person trying to contact
CANDY FLOSS n. 1. Cotton candy.
CANTEEN n. 1. Cafeteria.
CARAVAN n. 1. Mobile home. 2. Trailer.
CAR PARK n. 1. A parking lot.
CARAVANETTE n. 1. VW Microbus with a camper.
CASUALTY ENTRANCE n. 1. Emergency entrance to a hospital. This could
be a very important thing to know someday.
CATARRH (cah-tar) n. 1. The mucus produced when you have a head cold.
CATS EYES n. 1. The reflectors that are imbedded in the middle of the
road to make it easier to see the middle line at night.
CENTRAL RESERVATION n. 1. This has nothing to do with Indians or
reserving tickets, but rather is the grassy median strip between opposing lanes
of traffic on a road. You may see a sign which says "BEWARE SOFT CENTRAL
CHARABANC (shar-ah-bahn) n. 1. Bus. Especially one used for tours and
the like. Speculation: Do you suppose the expression "The whole shebang" derives
from "the whole CHARABANC" ?
CHARLIE n. 1. A derogatory term for someone who acts stupidly, as in,
"E's a right CHARLIE."
CHASE THE LADY n. 1. The card game "Hearts".
CHEERS phrase. 1. Good bye. 2. A typical English drinking toast. 3.
You may also hear CHEERIO used as "Good bye". WHAT CHEER (pronounced
whatcha) is sometimes used as a greeting. This originates in the phrase "WHAT
CHEER are you in?" New Zealanders say HOORAY instead of CHEERS.
CHEMIST n. 1. Drug store. Like their American counterparts, these
stores also sell prescription drugs. This term has a legally defined meaning, a
CHEMIST shop must have a resident pharmacist. Shops that don't have a pharmacist
must be called "drug stores" etc.
CHICORY n. 1. Endives.
CHINKY NOSH n. 1. Chinese meal, as in, "We're going to eat CHINKY NOSH
CHIPOLATE n. 1. A sausage-like a wiener.
CHIPPIE n. 1. A fish and CHIP shop. If the owners are oriental in
appearance, the shop may be called a CHINESE CHIPPIE. At such an establishment
you may find HUSS, ROCK or ROCK SALMON all of which mean dogfish. MUSHY PEAS are
a near-puree form of boiled peas. 2. A carpenter.
CHIPPINGS n. 1. Gravel, as in the roadside sign "Beware of loose
CHIPS n. 1. French fries, as in "fish and CHIPS".
CHIPS WITH EVERYTHING phrase. 1. Monotony, as in, "I suppose you're
pretty tired of this CHIPS WITH EVERYTHING regime.".
CHUFFED adv. 1. Happy, as in, "I was really CHUFFED when I got
CIDER n. 1. Not apple juice, but a rather strong alcoholic drink made
from apple juice.
CINEMA n. 1. Movie theater. This is not to be confused with a THEATRE.
CISTERN n. 1. A water tank found in most British houses. It is to be
found in the attic, and feeds the hot water heater by gravity. This is why
British bathrooms always have separate hot and cold taps (a system unknown in
the US since about 1917). The hot and cold water systems operate at different
pressures! It may also explain the singular lack of civilized showers in the UK.
The reason for separate bathroom taps may have a historical basis. In days
of yore, CISTERNS were filled with collected rainwater, and by law, the MAINS
water and the CISTERN water could not be allowed to mix.
CLADDING n. 1. Siding for a house.
CLAPPED OUT adj. 1. Worn out. A old car might be said to be CLAPPED
CLOBBER n. 1. Clothing. Gear. As in, "I don't mind getting his CLOBBER
from the cleaners".
CLOTTED CREAM n. 1. A cream so thick that you can spread it with your
knife. This term is usually used in the South West of England, but the
equivalent of CLOTTED CREAM may be found in most places in the U.K.
CLOAKROOM n. 1. Toilet. These are seldom heated and are have a
universal temperature of 38 degrees F. 2. In theaters and such this means a
place to leave coats. Use "lavatory" if that is what you want.
CLOCK n. 1. The odometer, as in, "The HIRE car only had 1200 miles on
the CLOCK, but it broke down anyway." No one should ever really be confused with
this word since the English do not measure time in miles. An odometer may also
be called a MILEOMETER. v. 1. To illegally turn a car odometer back. As
in, "This car isn't in very good condition for only 22,000 miles. Are you sure
it hasn't been CLOCKED." 2. To take note of, as in, a BLOKE who CLOCKS BIRDS.
CLOSE (as in "close to", not "close the door") n. 1. Dead end street.
One would generally expect that a street named PIPING CLOSE will not go through
to another street, but will end in a cul-de-sac or simply dead end.
There was an uproar when it was proposed that a small estate of pensioner
should be called St. Peter's CLOSE!
COACH n. 1. Bus. This is distinguished from a BUS which is a bus. In
general a COACH is a chartered comfortable form of bus (often advertised as
"executive travel"), whereas a BUS is a public conveyance and is therefore
bumpy, noisy and late.
COCK n. 1. A somewhat obsolete, but friendly, reference to a male
friend, as in, "Come on, COCK, let's go to the PUB".
COCKAHOOP adj. 1. To be happy about something, as in, "You must be all
all COCKAHOOP over being in the Tall Ships Race".
COCKNEY n. 1. Anyone born within the sound (hearing distance) of the
Bow bells in London (the East end). slang. 1. COCKNEY RHYMING SLANG has
wide use throughout England. It is an active language that is continually
growing (several dictionaries are available). COCKNEY RHYMING SLANG is composed
by using any short phrase in place of something with which it rhymes. Often this
phrase is itself shortened. The end phrase is often different from its origin.
Rather surprisingly words like BERK and COBBLERS are in wide use, even in
relatively polite society. Its likely that many who use them don't know what
they are saying! Some milder examples follow.
ADAM AND EVE v. Believe. "Would you ADAM AN' EVE it?"
BERK (= Berkley hunt) n. (abusive) Person with undesirable
character. "He's a bit of a BERK"
BRAHMS (or BEETHOVEN) (= Brahms/Beethoven and Liszt) a. Drunk.
BRISTOLS (= Bristol Cities) n. Breasts. "Nice pair of BRISTOLS!"
BUTCHERS (= butcher's hook) v. Look. "Have a BUTCHERS at this"
COBBLERS (= Cobbler's awls) n. Testicles. "Don't talk COBBLERS".
GINGER (= ginger beer) n. Homosexual.
HALF INCH v. To steal, PINCH.
HAMPTON (= Hampton Wick) n. Peni$. There was a comedy program on BBC
radio many years ago which included as a regular feature the esoteric joke
"and now, over to our special correspondent, Hugh Jampton". Luckily almost no
one got the joke.
KHYBER (= Khyber pass) n. Posterior, as in "a kick up the KHYBER".
LOAF (= loaf of bread) n. Head, as in, "Use your LOAF".
PEN (= pen and ink) n. or v. Stink, as in, "It don' 'alf PEN a bit".
ROCK AND ROLL (= dole) n. Welfare, as in, "The old man's on the ROCK
AND ROLL again".
ROSIE (= Rosie Lee) n. Tea (the drink), as in "a cup of ROSIE".
SCAPA (= Scapa Flow) v. To go, as in, "It's getting late, I'll have
to SCAPA or the TROUBLE 'll get in a TWO AND EIGHT".
SEXTON (= Sexton Blake) n. Fake.
TATERS (= potatoes in the mould) n. Cold.
TITFER (= tit for tat) n. Hat.
TROUBLE (= trouble and strife) n. Wife.
TWO AND EIGHT n. (emotional) State.
WHISTLE and FLUTE (= suit) n. Suit, as in, "Going to work for IBM.
Better get a WHISTLE then".
COLLECT v. 1. To fetch, as in, "I've come to COLLECT my children".
COME A CROPPER phrase. 1. To end badly, as in, "We hope that the
American economy doesn't COME A CROPPER".
COME OVER FOR DRINKS phrase. 1. An invitation to a rather formal
social evening. The level of formality will vary by the time indicated. Six p.m.
means very formal evening dress while 8 p.m. would only mean a suit and tie
affair. Refreshments may consist of CRISPS or multiple courses of hot or cold
snacks. One should always arrive fifteen minutes late to these affairs.
COMING FOR ONE phrase. 1. Phrase meaning "Are you coming to the PUB
for a PINT OF?".
COMMON ENTRANCE n. An exam which must be passed for entrance into a PUBLIC
SCHOOL. It is taken by upper class twelve year old boys only. (Girls almost
never take this exam, regardless of their social class.) There seems to be very
little that's "common" about this exam.
COMBS n. 1. Long-john underwear. The word comes from COMBINATIONS.
CONKERS n. 1. Horse Chestnut. 2. Game played by children. To play this
game, one first drills a small hole through the middle of a CONKER. Thread a
string through this hole. The CONKER is then suspended by one child, while the
other, using his CONKER, tries to smash the suspended CONKER with his. Turns
alternate. The winner is the child whose CONKER does not break. This leads to
uncommon industry on the part of children (of all ages) in an effort to make
their CONKER as tough as possible.
CONTINENT n. 1. Europe, as in, "We're going to ferry to the CONTINENT
this summer for our HOLIDAY". The general connotation is that the UK should not
be considered part of the European community.
The attitude is properly captured by this quote of an English newspaper,
"Fog in Channel - CONTINENT isolated".
CONTINENTAL QUILT n. 1. A comforter.
COOKER n. 1. Oven.
COOL HALF phrase. 1. Describing someone who is very self assured to
the point of being unlikeable, as in, "He's a COOL HALF".
COP v. 1. Look at, as in "COP this". 2. (with IT) Get into trouble, as
in, "You'll COP IT if your wife finds out about her". n. 1. Police. A
COP SHOP is a police station.
COPPER n. 1. A policeman, BOBBY. 2. Kettle
for boiling clothes in. 3. Any piece of money made from copper (e.g. half PENNY,
COPPICE or COPSE (cops) n. 1. A wood which is regularly harvested.
Often the trees in a COPPICE are harvested and the stump is allowed to sprout.
These new shoots will grow into smaller trees which will themselves be harvested
within a few years. These smaller trees are often used as fences posts.
Strictly speaking this term is also to be found in American. However, it is
in such wide use in the U.K., it has been included here also.
CORRIDOR n. 1. Hall. This should not be confused with HALL.
CORN n. 1. Any grain except rice. What Americans call corn is referred
to as CORN-ON-THE-COB or SWEET CORN.
CORNET n. 1. (Ice cream) Cone.
CORNFLOUR n. 1. Cornstarch.
COSTUME n. 1. Swimming suit when used in SWIMMING COSTUME or BATHING
COT n. 1. Baby crib.
COTTON n. 1. Thread.
COUNTY n. 1. A geographical area similar to county. adj. 1.
Said of an adult who has the character of a SNOTTYLITTLEUPPERCLASSTWIT. Given to
wearing JODHPURS etc. See also FRIGHTFULLY
COURGETTES n. 1. Zucchini.
COWBOY n. 1. One of questionable professional integrity. This is
similar to the term "turkey" as used within IBM.
CRACKERS n. 1. Firecrackers. 2. A small gift, usually tubular in
shape, which if pulled sharply at the ends will open with a pop (crack). These
are quite common at Christmas and are known as CHRISTMAS CRACKERS.
CRAYON n. 1. Crayon. 2. Colored pencil.
CREAM TEAS n. 1. A traditional snack widely served in the U.K. It
consists of TEA, SCONES (a type of muffin), and generous portions of CLOTTED
CREAM and JELLY/jam (probably strawberry).
CREEP n. 1. Bookworm or serious student. This has connotation of a
CRECHE (cresh) n. 1. A parking lot for pre-school-age children (a baby
CRIB n. 1. A baby cradle.
CRICKET n. 1. A game widely played in Britain whose principle purpose
is to provide an occasion for one to spend long periods at the local PUB. The
game has some vague similarities with baseball (denied by fans of both sports).
However, CRICKET is played at a pace which makes baseball seem to be one
continuous burst of energy. One game of international CRICKET is played over a
period of five days. Scores often involve hundreds of runs on each side. (A
score of 264 to 182 which results in a draw is not untypical.) As with any sport
CRICKET has its own specialized language (which is beyond the scope of this
The game of ROUNDERS is typically played by school children and much more
closely resembles baseball. See also NOT
CRISPS n. 1. Potato chips.
CROWN n. 1. Five shillings. A quarter of a POUND. This is pronounced
"croin" by members of the COUNTY set.
CUPPA (cup-ah) n. 1. A cup of TEA.
CURRENT ACCOUNT n. 1. Checking account. This is a term used by English
bankers to confuse Americans.
CURRY HOUSE n. 1. Indian restaurant. These typically serve dishes
which use the curry spices which you will: a) like or b) dislike.
CUSTARD n. 1. A yellow sauce used as a topping on various desserts.
CUSTOM n. 1. Patronage, as in, "We appreciate your CUSTOM (for
shopping in our store)".
"D - F"
DAFT AS A BRUSH phrase. 1. Foolish or crazy, as in, "He's DAFT AS A
DEAD ON adj. 1. Exactly (when said of time), as in, "The meeting will
start DEAD ON 9:00".
DECKO n. 1. A look, as in, "Have a DECKO and see for yourself".
DEMERARA n. 1. Brown sugar. One usually serves DEMERARA with coffee
and sugar with TEA.
DEMIJOHN n. 1. Bottle used in the fermenting step of wine making.
DIARY n. 1. Appointment calendar.
DIGS n. 1. Long term rented accommodation in a private house, often
used by university students and itinerant workers. Typical DIGS comprise a
bedroom and access to a bathroom and toilet. The bathroom and toilet are
normally shared with the family that own the house. The bedroom may be shared
with other tenants. Some meals or cooking facilities may be provided. Meals are
often shared with the family. Cooking facilities are often masterpieces of
miniaturisation beside which the achievements of calculator makers pale into
Members of the opposite sex are not allowed in (or even near) DIGS. This
rule is strictly enforced by the landlady, invariably a light sleeper with
super-acute hearing. Note that DIGS is always plural, as in: "Have you got a
FLAT yet? No, I'm still in DIGS." or: "What are your DIGS like? OK, except for
the landlady's man-eating ALSATIAN.". Short term or holiday DIGS are never
called DIGS, instead they are called BED AND BREAKFAST or B&B. A BEDSIT is
a DIGS with an absentee landlady.
DIP v. 1. To lower, as in, "DIP your lights for oncoming traffic".
DIRT n. 1. Filth. This is never dirt (soil) as used for plants.
DIVERSION n. 1. Detour. These are permanent features of most roads in
DOLE n. 1. Welfare or Social Security, as in, "He hasn't worked for
months - been on the DOLE."
DOLLAR n. 1. Five SHILLINGS or twenty-five PENCE. This has its origins
from "Thaler", an Austrian coin of very wide circulation, both in the
Mediterranean and elsewhere, from about 1600 on. The word was in comparatively
wide circulation in English by about 1720 (a period of great shortage of silver
British coinage). Its use in U.K. English predates the decision of the
Continental Congress to adopt it as the official name for the U.S. currency.
DOLLY PEGS n. 1. Wooden clothes pins made from one piece of wood (not
two pieces of wood with a metal spring between). DOLLY PEGS used to be made into
tiny dolls, hence the name.
DORMOBILE n. 1. A small camper bus. This was originally a model name
of such a camper.
DOSS AROUND v. 1. To slum. A DOSS house is for vagrants to stay the
night at. As in, "I wanted a year off before university, but I also wanted to do
something positive and not just DOSS AROUND."
DOUBLE DECKER n. 1. A two-level bus.
DOUBLE GLAZING n. 1. Storm windows. Windows in the U.K. are
notoriously poorly designed and seldom close tightly. In an attempt to make them
less drafty, DOUBLE GLAZING may be installed on the inside of the window. A dead
air pocket is created by installing a thermal glass "door" to the window casing.
A rubber seal ensures a close fit with the rest of the casing. Most DOUBLE
GLAZING windows slide like a patio door, but some must be opened inwards before
the regular window may be opened outwards. During warmer weather the DOUBLE
GLAZING may be removed.
DOWNS n. 1. Hills.
DRAUGHTS (drahfts) n. 1. The game of checkers. 2. Wind currents
prevented by DOUBLE GLAZING. ( The English do not have a word spelled
DRAWING PIN n. 1. Thumb tack.
DRAWING ROOM n. 1. Living room. The term comes from "withdrawing
room". This This is the room the ladies would withdraw to while the men drank.
DROP HEAD n. 1. Convertible (automobile).
DRESSING GOWN n. 1. Bathrobe.
DRINKING UP TIME phrase. 1. Period of ten minutes following the end of
PUB licensing hours (TIME) allowed for customers to finish their drinks. Anyone
who still has a drink after DRINKING UP TIME is breaking the law.
DRIVING LICENCE n. 1. Driver's license. Serious driving offences are
recorded directly on your U.K. DRIVING LICENSE and are known as ENDORSEMENTS.
Three of these and you're done driving.
DUAL CARRIAGEWAY n. 1. Divided highway.
DUSTBIN n. 1. Trash barrel.
DYNAMO n. 1. Generator.
EARTH adj. 1. Ground (when said of electrical wiring), as in, "To be
safe, be certain your appliances always have an EARTH wire".
EIRE (air-ah) n. 1. Ireland. The political country which is composed
of the major portion of the island of Ireland (excluding Northern Ireland).
ELASTOPLAST n. 1. Band aid. The term was originally a brand name. The
term PLASTER may also be heard. This is taken from the old fashioned PLASTERS
used before the days of the band aid.
ELEVENSES n. 1. Morning coffee (TEA) break.
ELIZABETH II n. 1. Englishman's designation for the current queen.
PILLAR BOXES in ENGLAND have ER II (Elizabeth Regina) cast on them. ELIZABETH I
is the Scotsman's designation for the current queen. PILLAR
BOXES in Scotland with ER II on them have been known to be blown up. The
discrepancy arises because Mary Queen of Scots ruled Scotland when Elizabeth I
ruled England, thus the current Elizabeth is Scotland's first.
ENGAGED adj. 1. Busy. A telephone may be ENGAGED. Similarly, a public
toilet may also be ENGAGED.
ENGLAND n. 1. Term commonly used to mean England, Scotland and Wales.
Such usage is deeply offensive to many Scots and Welsh and should be avoided (do
not be misled by the fact that many English people make the mistake). "British"
(i.e. those who live on the islands of Great Britain) seems to be a safer
ESTATE AGENT n. 1. Realtor. The British version is as well respected
and loved as the American.
ESTATE CAR n. 1. Station wagon.
EXCESS n. 1. An insurance-related term meaning deductible.
FAG n. 1. Cigarette. This term has no sexual preference connotations.
Imagine the reaction an Englishman gets on HOLIDAY in the United States when he
innocently asks for a FAG. 2. A schoolboy forced to do menial tasks for another.
3. Hard work, as in, "I can't be bothered to do that. It's too much of a FAG".
adj. 1. Tired, as in, "He worked all day and is all FAGGED OUT".
FAGGOT n. 1. A sausage-like meat. These are also known as SAVOURY
DUCKS in some areas of Britain. To be authentic these should contain seaweed.
adj. 1. An insult applied to women, as in, "She's an old FAGGOT".
FANNY n. 1. The female pudenda, not the posterior. This word is not in
common use in polite British society.
FETE (fate) n. 1. A festival. It is common for British villages to
hold a FETE in celebration for not having drowned during the rains of the
previous winter. Some theorise these FETES have their origins as early Druid
FILLET (fill-it) n. 1. Filet, as in "a FILLET of cod".
FISH FINGERS n. 1. Fish sticks. In either language they taste pretty
FISHMONGER n. 1. A person that sells fish.
FIZZ n. 1. Soft drinks. Also known as FIZZY DRINKS.
FLANNEL n. 1. Face cloth. 2. A type of cloth used for making trousers.
This is not the towelling used for making face cloths. FLANNELS (trousers) are
made of FLANNEL. (Confusion is avoided since TROUSERS are not used to wipe the
face in the UK). v. 1. To talk without meaning as in, "I don't know what
to say. NEVERMIND, I'll just FLANNEL".
FLAP JACKS n. 1. A thin cake made in a pan from oats and eaten at TEA.
GOLDEN SYRUP is often used in making these.
FLASH adj. 1. Expensive looking and suggesting the owner wishes to
flaunt it, as in a "FLASH car". n. 1. Exposure of the genitals, as in,
"I was just waiting for me BUS, when this BLOKE comes up and gives me a quick
FLAT n. 1. Apartment, whether rented or owned (condominium).
FLEET STREET n. 1. A phrase used to refer collectively to the national
newspapers of England. FLEET STREET in London is where all the national
newspaper offices are to be found. As in, "FLEET STREET today reported that
Prime Minister Thatcher ...".
National newspapers are something unfamiliar to most Americans. There are a
number of newspapers which are available over the entire nation and deal
almost exclusively with news of national interest. These are all morning
papers and are extensively read. Local newspapers are usually evening papers
(some with two editions) and deal with local events. They seldom have much
national news. Typically one will get two or more newspapers a day in England.
The national newspapers are of two basic types, TABLOIDS and (real)
newspapers. THE SUN consistently leads the TABLOIDS in outrageous taste. It
may be instructive to note that the TABLOIDS have the largest circulation of
all the national newspapers in the United Kingdom.
THE FINANCIAL TIMES is the equivalent of the Wall Street Journal and deals
only in business news. This paper is printed on faded pink paper so everyone
will know the reader is a member of the business community and will be
impressed. THE GUARDIAN is a liberal newspaper that more closely resembles a
magazine in format, rather than a newspaper. THE TIMES is the establishment
newspaper, taking a basically middle-of-the-road view. THE TELEGRAPH is an
extreme right wing newspaper and is read mostly by the conservative element.
See also PAGE THREE
FLEX n. 1. Extension cord. A CABLE is the stiff wire used to wire your
house (i.e. from the MAINS to your plug).
FLYOVER n. 1. Overpass.
FLOOR n. 1. The British (and Europeans as well) start counting floors
of a building with zero. The first floor is the GROUND FLOOR, the second is the
FIRST FLOOR etc.
FOOTBALL n. 1. Soccer. Football is looked upon as dull and mystical.
FORTNIGHT n. 1. Two weeks. This term is used quite commonly. The term
has its origins in the phrase "fourteen nights". Armed with this knowledge you
will not be surprised to learn that SEVNIGHT is also used in English and means
FREE HOUSE n. 1. Not the greatest land deal since the Indians sold
Manhattan, but a PUB which is actually owned by the PUBLICAN. Most PUBS are
owned by a brewery whose name will be found on the outside of the building in
large letters (e.g. COURAGE or WHITBREAD). A brewery-owned PUB will serve only
their own brand of drink. A FREE HOUSE has no such restriction and will probably
offer several different brands.
In a similar context there are also FREE OFF LICENCE shops to be found.
FREE RANGE EGGS n. 1. Not eggs that are given away, but eggs layed by
uncooped chickens. Hens which are cooped are referred to as BATTERY HENS.
FRENCH DRESSING n. 1. Italian dressing. The English have no equivalent
of the American's French dressing.
FRENCH LETTER n. 1. A prophylactic. A rubber. Curiously the French
term for the same item is "Capote Anglaise" (English overcoat). Grafiti found on
a contraceptive machine: "Not available during French postal strike".
FRIGHTFULLY FRIGHTFULLY (frah-flly frah-flly) adj. 1. Describing
someone who is attempting to act ever so very proper. As in, "He was just
FRIGHTFULLY FRIGHTFULLY". The origin of this stems from the overuse of the word
when people are acting in this manner. See also COUNTY.
FRINGE n. 1. Hair bangs.
FRUIT MACHINE n. 1. One armed bandit. Slot machine. The modern
electric variety are common features in many PUBS.
FULL STOP n. 1. A period. The thing at the end of this sentence.
"G - L"
GALLON n. 1. A gallon plus 25%. This means a PINT is an
enormous 20 ounces. This fact puts a whole new meaning on PINT OF.
GAMMON n. 1. Ham.
GAMP n. 1. Umbrella.
GANNET n. 1. Pig. Someone who eats anything and everything. The term
emanates from the Royal Navy. All lower-deck sailors used to refer to a man who
ate his rations and everyone else's (if given the chance) as a 'Gannet'. A
gannet being a voracious seabird that follows ships at sea waiting for the
"Gash" (garbage) to be thrown down the 'gash chute' usually fixed outboard to
the stern of the ship.
GARDEN n. 1. Yard. A garden is called a "VEGETABLE GARDEN".
GATEAU (ga-toe) n. 1. Cake.
GEN UP (jen up) v. 1. To acquire knowledge, as in, "To GEN UP on the
FALKLANDS". The term is derived from the phrase general information.
GEYSER (gee-zer) n. 1. A notoriously dangerous gas apparatus which was
used to provide hot water. This device was mounted at the tap itself and heated
the water as it was drawn from the tap. The phrase to PUT THE GEYSER ON means to
heat up the water.
GHILLIE (gill-ee) n. 1. Scottish in origin, the term describes a
gamekeeper who serves as both a conservationist to protect wild game and as a
guide for hunters. Using a GHILLIE has very strong upper class connotations.
Only those of the proper class would employ a GHILLIE (even though the GHILLIE
is himself a commoner). The GLORIOUS TWELFTH (twelfth of August) starts the
upper class hunting season.
GIRL GUIDE n. 1. Girl Scout. The (Girl) Scouts are usually called the
GLASSHOUSE n. 1. Greenhouse.
GOB n. 1. Slang term for mouth. v. 1. To spit. Because of this second
term, the British find our use of "gobs of something" as being rather crude. A
GOBSTOPPER is a large piece of candy which will last a very long time.
GOOLIES n. 1. Balls. Testicles.
GRAMMAR SCHOOL n. 1. School for 11-18 year olds who are studying for
their O-LEVELS and A-LEVELS. (These are now almost extinct.)
GRIT BIN n. 1. Roadside barrel of sand for use when roads are
GREENGROCER n. 1. A small grocery store which deals only with fruits
and vegetables. This type of store will not likely handle any canned items or
non-foods like detergents etc.
GROTTY adj. 1. Unpleasant. A dark, dirty damp apartment would be
GUARD n. 1. A train conductor.
GUBBINS n. 1. A collection of generally worthless items, as in,
"Children - pick up these GUBBINS".
GUERNSEY (gansee in northern England) n. 1. A particular style of
sweater which was originally worn by people from the island of Guernsey.
Similarly, a JERSEY is a different style of sweater which originated on the
neighboring island of Jersey. Today these are used interchangeably with
GUIDE DOG n. 1. Seeing-eye dog.
GUINEA n. 1. Originally twenty-one SHILLINGS, but now one POUND plus
five PENCE. Five percent is the auctioneer's commission. If one bids in GUINEAS,
rather than POUNDS, one then has automatically the full price one must pay. A
current vicious rumor has it that banks in the United Kingdom use GUINEAS when
you must pay (i.e. interest) and POUNDS when they must pay you. There is no
substantiation to this.
GYMKHANA n. 1. A very amateur horse competition.
GYMSLIP n. 1. A long pinafore dress worn by school girls (usually as a
winter school uniform).
HAD HIS CHIPS phrase. 1. To be finished or done for, as in, "He's HAD
HAIR GRIPS n. 1. Bobby pins.
HALF (aahf) n. 1. English for HALF A PINT (by default, of BITTER). 2.
Scots for a single measure of WHISKY. In
Scotland, "a PINT and a HALF" means a PINT of HEAVY and a MEASURE of WHISKY; in
England it means a PINT of BITTER and a HALF PINT of BITTER.
HALF A CROWN n. 1. Obsolete coin worth 2/6 (pronounced two and six),
meaning two SHILLINGS and six old PENCE.
HALF PENNY (hay-pen-ee) n. 1. Half penny. Currently, its only use is
to become stuck in corners of purses or pockets.
HALL n. 1. Entry, as in the entry way to a house or other building and
not a CORRIDOR. 2. BEDSIT style accommodation provided (for rent) by a
university or other higher education institution for resident students. As in,
"Are you looking for a FLAT? No, I'm in HALL". See also DIGS.
HANTS n. 1. The county Hampshire in the United Kingdom. HANTS is a
term used by the English to confuse those not in the know (Americans).
HAVE A GO phrase. 1. To take a turn, as in, "Dad, can I HAVE A GO on
my new Space Invaders Game". 2. To attempt to make a citizen's arrest. This
phrase is popular in newspaper headlines, such as "Police congratulate HAVE A GO
HEAD MASTER n. 1. Principal of a school. These also may be known as
HEAD MISTRESS or HEAD TEACHER.
HEAVY n. 1. Scots for BITTER.
HIRE adj. 1. Rent, as in "a HIRE car" instead of a rental car. Note
that HIRE cars will normally have a manual transmission unless an automatic is
specifically requested. One may also see a HIRE LORRY, HIRE TIPPER or even a
One of the largest firms dealing in rental clothes is Moss Brothers
(usually abbreviated Moss Bros.). This firm is so commonly known that MOSS
BROS is used to mean a HIRED suit (or whatever). As in, "I've got my MOSS BROS
HOARDING n. 1. Bill board.
HOB n. 1. A single cooking ring that one cooks upon. 2. A collection
of cooking rings. There seems to be no agreement on this.
HOLIDAY n. 1. Vacation. 2. National holidays when the banks are not
open known as BANK HOLIDAYS. These days are distinguished from the other days
when banks are not open.
HOMELY adj. 1. Plain. Unpretentious. Having a pleasant quality. An
English girl would not mind being called HOMELY.
HOOKER n. 1. Not a prostitute, but a member of a RUGBY scrum.
HOOTER n. 1. A horn. 2. A derogatory term for the nose, as in, "He's
got quite a HOOTER".
HOOVER n. 1. Vacuum cleaner. This may or may not be made by the Hoover
Vacuum Cleaner Company. v. 1. To clean using a vacuum cleaner, as in, "I
HOOVERED the carpets today."
HUGGER-MUGGER (hug-ah mug-ah) phrase. 1. All in turmoil, as in, "After
the storm hit, everything was HUGGER-MUGGER".
HUMP v. 1. To carry something that is very heavy, to lug. As in, "I
was HUMPING it all over the place". n. 1. To be upset about something,
as in, "He's got the HUMP over his last job appraisal".
HUNDREDWEIGHT n. 1. Eight STONE (112 pounds), abbreviated CWT.
ICE LOLLY n. 1. Popsicle. The term ICED LOLLY may also be used.
IN A PADDY phrase. 1. To be angry, as in, "Crestfallen Charlie stomped
off the field IN A PADDY yesterday after his team were trounced at Windsor. But
Di soon had him smiling again."
INDIAN n. 1. Indian food 2. An Indian restaurant. As in, "I'm going to
eat an INDIAN tonight".
INDICATORS n. 1. Directional signals (as on a car). Blinkers.
INTERVAL n. 1. The break time between parts of a performance, as in,
"The play is in three acts, the INTERVAL coming after the second act."
IN THE (PUDDING) CLUB phrase. 1. To be pregnant. Also, to have a BUN
IN THE OVEN.
IMPERIAL UNITS n. 1. The adjective IMPERIAL here is used to describe
the English or standard system of measurement (as opposed to the metric system
of measurement). The IMPERIAL system of measurement uses the terms miles, yards,
feet, gallons, quarts etc.
IRISH JOKES n. 1. Polish jokes.
IRONMONGER n. 1. Hardware store.
JCB n. 1. Back hoe digger. The name is derived from a company that
makes back hoe diggers in the UK.
JELLY n. 1. Jello. Jelly is referred to as "SEEDLESS JAM". Actually,
SEEDLESS JAM is often called JELLY too.
JODHPURS n. 1. Riding breeches with a tight extension to the ankle.
JOHN ARLOTT n. 1. The Howard Cosell of English sports commentators.
JOINT n. 1. Piece of meat. Roast. A "Sunday JOINT" is the roast you
have with your Sunday dinner.
JOLLY adv. 1. Very, as in, "It's JOLLY hard work".
JUGGED HARE n. 1. Rabbit preserved in some sort of blood sauce or
JUGGERNAUT n. 1. A very large LORRY, probably from the CONTINENT. The
difference between a LORRY and a JUGGERNAUT will be immediately apparent if you
should meet each of them on a narrow road. Note: JUGGERNAUT is an INDIAN (i.e.
from India) god.
JUMBLE SALE n. 1. Garage sale. This is typically not held in a garage
since the garage would be too small. Oddly enough, one finds these are often
held in church halls.
JUMPER n. 1. Sweater.
KEEP YOUR HAIR ON phrase. 1. Phrase used to calm someone down, similar
to "Keep your shirt on".
KEEP YOUR PECKER UP phrase. 1. Keep smiling, be happy (Honest folks,
KIT n. 1. Gear. Equipment or baggage necessary for a task or trip
(particularly sports equipment). As in, "Sure I'll help you fix your car. I'll
fetch me KIT".
KNACKER adj. 1. Tired out, as in, "I'm KNACKERED". n. 1. As in
KNACKER'S YARD, which is a slaughter house which processes meat that is not to
be used for human consumption. 2. Balls. Testicles.
KNICKERS n. 1. Women's panties.
A KNICKERBOCKER GLORY is an ice cream concoction similar to a giant banana
split. The phrase "Don't get your KNICKERS in a twist" is a plea not to get
upset about something.
KNOCK UP v. 1. This is a tennis term. It means to warm up by volleying
before actually commencing a game. I'll leave you to imagine the reaction an
IBMer's wife got when, after arriving for her fist game of tennis in the U.S.,
she innocently asked when they "were going to KNOCK UP". 2. Another use of this
term is to ask someone "to KNOCK me UP in the morning". This is used to ask
someone to wake you in the morning.
LADY'S FINGERS n. 1. Okra.
LAGER n. 1. Name for a type of non-British (i.e. CONTINENTAL) beer
that is commonly available. This is closer to what an American will recognize
taste-wise as beer. It is, however, substantially stronger than that to be found
in the United States.
LARDER n. 1. Pantry.
LAVER BREAD (lavah bred) n. 1. An edible seaweed (originally from
Wales). LAVER means seaweed.
LAY-BY n. 1. Roadside rest area.
L-DRIVER n. 1. A learner-driver. By law one who is learning to drive
must warn others by posting a sign on his car with a large red "L" on a white
background. This sign may also be used in situations to warn others a novice is
to be found. At a local folk festival, one of the dancers prominently displayed
an "L" on his hat.
LEMONADE n. 1. A general term for pop. This is likely to be SPRITE (7
UP is fairly rare in the UK). This is not COCA-COLA and should never be confused
LEMON CURD n. 1. A soft paste made from lemon, eggs and butter used as
a spread on bread. This may also be known as LEMON CHEESE.
LIFT n. 1. Elevator.
LIKE THE CLAPPERS phrase. 1. Fast, as in, "It goes LIKE THE CLAPPERS".
LINCTUS n. 1. A syrup-like medicine. Cough medicine would be called
LOAD OF CODSWALLOP n. 1. Verbal rubbish, as in, "Oh, that's a LOAD OF
LOCAL n. 1. The PUB one normally frequents, as in, "Meet you at the
LOCAL at lunch for some ARROWS".
LOFT n. 1. Attic of a house.
LOLLIPOP LADY/MAN n. 1. School crossing guard.
LOLLY n. 1. Money. 2. Popsicle.
LONG DRINK n. 1. Tall drink.
LOO n. 1. Toilet. In some hotels the toilettes may be numbered "00" to
distinguish them from the actual bedrooms.
LORRY n. 1. Truck.
LOUD HAILER n. 1. Megaphone.
LOUNGE n. 1. Living room. DRAWING ROOM. SITTING ROOM.
LOUNGE BAR n. 1. A bar found in a PUB which is typically much better
furnished than the PUBLIC BAR and is therefore a bit more expensive for the same
brew. This portion of the PUB will probably have carpeting and chairs.
Historically, this was reserved for the upper class. This may also be known as a
LOVE n. 1. A term used to refer to a person. It is quite commonly used
by working class women. Oddly enough, this is a very neutral term and does not
imply the speaker has any great affection for you. It is mildly disturbing to an
American to have total strangers (be they BIRDS or not) calling him "LOVE", as
in, "That'll be 25P, LOVE". DUCK, DUCKS or DUCKIE may also be used like LOVE.
The Scots may use HEN for LOVE.
LUCKY DIP n. 1. A grab bag. This is often featured at a FETE.
"M - P"
MACINTOSH n. 1. Raincoat, also known as a MAC.
MAGGIE n. 1. Whimsical name for the prime minister of the United
Kingdom. This is used in much the same vein as we refer to our President as
"Ronnie". The term is now dated, obviously.
MAINS n. 1. The place where the gas or electricity may be turned on or
off. Oddly enough this is always plural even if you refer to the shutoff for
just one utility. As in, "Before disconnecting the COOKER, be sure the MAINS is
MAISONETTE n. 1. Originally this term meant an apartment which covered
more than one floor of a building. In recent years this has slowly degenerated
to include FLATS (one floor only) in the hope of making FLATS sound nicer.
MANGLE n. 1. Large rollers used to squeeze water from wet clothes,
i.e. the ringer-part of a ringer washer.
MARKS AND SPARKS n. 1. Nickname for Marks and Spencer's, a prominent
retailer in the U.K. Also known as M&S.
MARMITE n. 1. A spread made from yeast extract that is similar to BOVRIL.
MARROW n. 1. A type of summer squash similar to zucchini.
MARZIPAN n. 1. A confectionary made from almond paste.
MASH v. 1. To brew TEA. 2. To puree potatoes.
MATCH n. 1. A game, as in, "The FOOTBALL MATCH begins at 3 p.m.".
MATE n. 1. General term for a pal, as in, "He's me MATE".
MEASURE n. 1. A unit quantity of spirits as served in a PUB. This
quantity is regulated by law and must be exactly one fifth of a gill (in
Scotland) or one sixth of a gill (in ENGLAND). A notice must be displayed to say
which size MEASURE is in use.
MILD n. 1. Name for a type of English beer which is sweeter and darker
MILK FLOAT n. 1. An electric vehicle the milkman drives.
MINCEMEAT n. 1. Hamburger. Alternatives are MINCE MEAT or simply
MINCE. 2. Mincemeat as used in mince pies. Note that the sweet stuff used for
filling pies has evolved from a pie filling that was once made mainly from meat.
MIXER TAP n. 1. A tap at a sink which delivers both hot and cold
water. This is not as common as an American would expect. There is a law in the
UK which requires that MIXER TAPS do not actually mix the water inside the TAP
itself, but it must be mixed outside in the air. This apparently stems from a
concern that the CISTERN may be
contaminated and if the MIXER TAP allowed the two streams of water to mix and
the MAINS pressure was too low, contaminated water might escape into the
community water supply. This law results in the aggravating situation that water
delivered by a MIXER TAP actually comes out in two streams, one cold and one
hot, thereby defeating the major advantage of a MIXER TAP! This problem can be
overcome by plumbing both the hot and cold water from the CISTERN, resulting in
a water source with lower water pressure.
MMMM... phrase. 1. "Expression" meaning a) "Yes", b) "Yes, probably"
c) "Yes, but not now" or d) "No". The different meanings are all taken from the
inflection of the phrase.
MOGGIE n. 1. Slang term for an ordinary cat. A tabby.
MOTORWAY n. 1. A limited access highway. An Interstate.
MUCH OF A MUCHNESS phrase. 1. Equivalent to "Six of one, half dozen of
MUG UP v. 1. To cram, to SWOT.
MUMMY n. 1. Mommy.
NAFF OFF v. 1. A jocular term used to tell someone to go away. This is
reportedly a favorite expression of Princess Anne. The term was invented for a
TV comedy show called PORRIDGE. (PORRIDGE is a slang term for a prison, as in,
"Where have you been these last few years? Been in PORRIDGE.")
NAPPY n. 1. Diaper.
NATTER v. 1. To speak in a non-stop manner about unimportant things,
as in, "Stop NATTERING on so and tell me what you want".
Other variations of NATTER include: CHIN WAG, FLANNEL, RABBIT and WAFFLE.
NATTY adj. 1. Flashy, fancy. A SPIV would likely be a NATTY dresser.
NAVVY (nah-vee) n. 1. Laborer. This was originally a "navigator" who
was one who worked on the construction of canals.
NET CURTAINS n. 1. Sheer curtains (sheers).
NEVERMIND v. 1. The ultimate answer to any type of annoying event, no
matter how serious, as in, "Your house burnt down last night! Oh, well,
NEWSAGENT n. 1. A shop which sells only newspapers, magazines and the
like. These seldom are over 10 feet square and are always so overcrowded with
material that you cannot find anything you want and must ask for it.
NICK v. 1. To steal, as in, "He NICKED me light". n 1. Prison
or police station. 2. Slang term for the devil (OLD NICK).
NICKER n. 1. POUNDS Sterling. QUID.
NIL n. 1. Zero. Often heard in reporting FOOTBALL scores, as in
"Arsenal blanked Leeds, four to NIL."
NIPPER n. 1. A young boy, a kid. One of the jobs for young boys on
sailing ships was to coil the large anchor rope as it was pulled in. To assist
in this the boy had a hook called a NIPPER which he used to "grab" the rope.
NODDY adj. 1. Simple. The term comes from a TV show "Noddy and His
Friends" based on a series of books by Enid Blyton.
NOT CRICKET adj. 1. Falling short of the highest standards of good
sportsmanship. As in, "Disguising yourself as a bush so as to take pictures of
the Princess of Wales disporting herself in a SWIMMING COSTUME and selling the
pictures to FLEET STREET is NOT CRICKET".
NOUGHT n. 1. The number zero.
NOUGHTS AND CROSSES n. 1. The game of tic tac toe.
OBLONG adj. 1. When your children come home from school and talk about
OBLONGS they mean rectangles.
ODDS AND SODS phrase. 1. Odds and ends. BITS AND BOBS has the same
OFF adj. 1. Unavailable (as used in restaurants etc.), as in:
PUNTER: Ham, egg, bacon, tomato and CHIPS, please. Waitress: Ham's
OFFPUNTER: OK -- egg, bacon, tomato and CHIPS, please. Waitress:
Egg's OFFPUNTER: Bacon, tomato and chips? Waitress: Bacon's
OFFPUNTER: Spam sandwich, please.
OFF LICENCE n. 1. Liquor store. Abbreviated to OFFO and sometimes
referred to as an OFFY.
OFF SALES n. 1. Part of a PUB that functions as an OFF LICENCE.
OFFSIDE Adj. 1. The left-hand side of a car, as in, the "OFFSIDE of a
car". The fast lane of a road is on this side of the car. The driver's side of
the car is called the NEARSIDE.
OLD UNCLE TOM COBLEY AND ALL phrase. 1. Special form of "etc."
intended to imply amusement or exasperation at the large number of items. The
term originates with a folk song "Widdicombe Fair" that has a chorus listing a
large number of people and ends "OLD UNCLE TOM COBLEY AND ALL". Example: "We
have installed DOS/VSE, VSE/Power, VSE/Advanced Function, ACF/VTAM, ACF/NCP/VS,
VSE/VSAM, and OLD UNCLE TOM COBLEY AND ALL".
O-LEVELS n. 1. An exam which is the first part of the General
Certificate of Education needed in order to attend the university. After
completing this exam, one may. attend a SIXTH FORM COLLEGE to study for his
A-LEVELS or more likely study for his A-LEVELS at a local technical college or a
further education college or a community college. These exams are taken at age
ON/OFF adj. 1. Down/up when dealing with light switches in the UK. To
turn a light switch ON, push the switch down, OFF is up. In addition to lights,
most UK wall sockets (called POINTS) have small switches in them. Additionally,
many plugs (either on FLEXES or at the end of an appliance) will have a fuse
inside. This means you have several more places to look when something won't
ON THE GAME n. 1. Prostitute, as in, "See that BIRD over there ? Looks
like she's ON THE GAME". A man in a car looking for someone ON THE GAME is a
ON THE RAG adj. 1. To be angry, as in, "'E's a bit ON THE RAG, isn't
'e?'. Also used to refer to women at a certain time of the month.
ORDER OF THE BOOT phrase. 1. To be made REDUNDANT. This undoubtedly
stems from the names of several royal orders established by kings and queens
over the centuries (e.g. the ORDER OF THE GARTER or the ORDER OF THE BATH).
ORIENTEERING n. 1. A game which closely resembles a car rally in which
participants are on foot and are provided a map of places to find.
OUT ON THE TILES phrase. 1. Having a riotous time out for the evening.
The term probably originates from sleeping on the (tiled) front stoop which is
what you must do after the wife has locked you out.
OVERALLS n. 1. A light coat worn over normal clothes to protect them
from getting dirty. This might also be called a BROWN COAT. See also BOILER SUIT.
OVERTAKE v. 1. To pass, as in, "OVERTAKING on a bend is dangerous".
OVER THE MOON phrase. 1. Very pleased. When Prince Charles was asked
how he felt about his newly born son, he replied that he was "absolutely OVER
THE MOON". This phrase is a reference to the Cow That Jumped Over the Moon
(presumably because it was so happy).
OXO n. 1. Bouillon, as in bouillon cubes for making gravies.
PAGE THREE n. 1. The phrase refers to the picture of a bare breasted
woman which is always to be found on page three of the national newspaper, THE
SUN. Hence, anything which is worthy of being on PAGE THREE is not really held
in high regard. The phrase is a favorite with comedians in the U.K. See also FLEET STREET
PANDA n. 1. A small car used by police in rural areas. These were
originally white with black doors.
PANTECHNICON n. 1. Moving van. A truck used by movers. This is
normally shortened to PAN-TECH (accent on TECH).
PANTOMIME n. 1. A type of play usually put on around Christmas. It is
ostensibly for children, but there is much to be found that an adult would
enjoy. The play is a farce with much slapstick humor and lots of audience
participation. This often takes the form of someone on the stage saying
something like, "Oh, no I won't" in a defiant tone of voice. To this the
screaming children retort "Oh, yes, you will". This banter continues for several
rounds until he finally does.
PANTS n. 1. Shorts, briefs, underwear, but not pants.
PAPER HANDKERCHIEF n. 1. Kleenex.
PAPER ROUND n. 1. Paper route.
PARAFFIN n. 1. Kerosene. You really need to know this when the
instructions for your Raleigh Sport (bicycle) tells you to clean the chain with
PARKY adj. 1. Chilly, as in, "It's PARKY in here. Can we turn on the
PASTY (pah-stee) n. 1. A type of meat and potato pie. PASTIES may come
from either Cornwall or Devonshire (where they are called TIDDY OGGIES).
A CORNISH PASTY purchased outside Cornwall resembles a sausage roll that's
been stood on and does not resemble one bought in Cornwall. There's also a
CURRY PASTY which is a delic ious Jamaican concoction available from superior
PATIENCE n. 1. The card game solitaire.
PAVEMENT n. 1. Sidewalk. These may be as narrow as six inches wide.
The English seemingly have no concerns about walking along their extremely
narrow PAVEMENTS with cars whizzing past within inches. This observation does
not, however, hold true when a COACH, DOUBLE DECKER, LORRY or JUGGERNAUT comes
rumbling down the road. One can always identify Americans in England. They are
the terrified-looking people who are hugging the walls which line the PAVEMENT.
PAY AND DISPLAY n. 1. U.K. version of metered parking without the
meters. This is often posted as "P & D" in the parking lot.
PELICAN n. 1. A type of pedestrian crossing which has a traffic light
to stop (at least slow) the oncoming traffic. When the light turns red, a
beeping is sounded to tell you it is safe to cross.
PELMET n. 1. Window valence.
PENNYFARTHING n. 1. Old fashion word for a bicycle. The actual
PENNYFARTHING had a huge front wheel and a very small rear wheel. It had no
chain and hence one turn of the pedal equalled one turn of the wheel.
PERSPEX n. 1. Lucite, plexiglas, clear plastic. The term is a trade
name in the UK.
PETROL n. 1. Gasoline.
PICTURES n. 1. Movies, as in, "Lets go to the PICTURES tonight".
PIGS MIGHT FLY phrase. 1. Absurd. Implies someone's idea is completely
preposterous, as in, "If PIGS COULD FLY, Scotland Yard would be London's third
PILLAR BOX n. 1. Mail box for mailing letters.
PILLOCK n. 1. A useless or stupid person. The word literally means
"small pill". One dictionary claims this is an obsolete term for "peni$".
PINAFORE n. 1. Pinafore. 2. Jumper. This is also called a PINNY.
PINCH v. 1. To steal, as in, "He PINCHED me light".
PINT OF (pint-ah) n. 1. The basic unit of drink in the United Kingdom,
as in, "A PINT OF BITTER, please." One should never ask for HALF A PINT as the
bartender will only hear the word PINT. If you really must have half a pint,
refrain from using PINT and say, "HALF OF BITTER, please". See also GALLON.
PIPPED TO THE POST phrase. 1. To narrowly beat, as in, "Missed out on
a terrific bargain at MARKS AND SPARKS - was PIPPED TO THE POST by a little old
PITCH n. 1. A playing field for a sport, as in a soccer PITCH, a RUGBY
PITCH etc. "The PITCH is in good condition today, as it only rained two inches
PLAIN AS A PIKESTAFF phrase. 1. Plain as can be.
PLAITS (plat) n. 1. Hair braids.
PLASTERBOARD n. 1. Sheet rock.
PLIMSOLLS n. 1. Sneakers. Tennis shoes. These are known as DAPS in
PLONK n. 1. Very cheaply made wine. To refer to the wine your host is
serving as PLONK is a rude insult.
PLOUGHMAN'S n. 1. A traditional PUB lunch which consists of bread,
cheese, and pickled onions.
PLUS FOURS n. 1. Baggy knickerbockers. The name comes from the extra
four inches of material needed to make them baggy. There are also PLUS TWOS
which are similar, but less common than PLUS FOURS. Another theory has it that
the name comes from the number of inches below the knee the knickerbockers come.
PONY n. 1. 25 QUID. 2. A revolting drink available at your local PUB.
POOFTER n. 1. A homosexual. Fag.
POP v. 1. To go or put quickly, as in, "I'll just POP in and pick up a
new pair of PLIMSOLLS."
POSH adj. 1. An acronym for Port Out, Starboard side Home and meaning
upper class travel by boat (usually between India and the U.K.). Traveling POSH
meant your room was not in the sun for the trip and therefore much cooler. Since
this was very desirable, these rooms were more expensive and were snapped up by
the wealthy making POSH become associated with luxury and snobbish behavior.
POST BOX n. 1. Mail box for posting letters.
POSTMAN n. 1. Mailman.
POUND or POUND STERLING n. 1. The basic monetary unit used in the
United Kingdom. The coins tend to be quite heavy compared to American coins.
After accumulating even a small amount of change, one quickly draws the
conclusion that the currency is named from the weight of the coins totalling one
POUND. In 1981 one could buy a POUND for slightly less than two dollars and one
POUND bought you about eight cents less than you paid for it.
PRAM n. 1. Baby buggy. The term PRAM is actually a short form of
PERAMBULATOR. These are in great use throughout the United Kingdom. Elaborate
covers are available to keep the rain out so the baby doesn't drown.
PRAT n. 1. A mean or nasty person.
PRAWN n. 1. Shrimp. Actually shrimps are small PRAWNS, but both Brits
and Americans ignore this minor distinction. PRAWNS (large or small) are shrimp.
PRECINCT n. 1. Shopping mall.
PRESENTLY adv. 1. Later, as in, "I'll be with you PRESENTLY".
PRIVATE SCHOOL n. 1. An upper class private school which is not as
private as a PUBLIC SCHOOL.
PROOF n. 1. Measure of alcoholic strength. PROOF is not the same as
proof. Most drinks in the UK are now marked with alcohol percentage as well as
PROOF. One U.S. proof is 0.5% alcohol. UK 100µ PROOF is such that when added to
standard Navy gunpowder, spontaneous ignition occurs. (Today it is defined in
some other way, but that was the origin). Pure alcohol is 175 PROOF. Thus 80
proof = 40% alcohol = 70 PROOF.
PUB n. 1. Short for PUBLIC HOUSE. This is a clean comfortable bar
(something beyond the experience of most Americans). It is close in comparison
to a German Gaststaette in congeniality. PUBS may likely be divided into two
separate bars, called LOUNGE (or
SALOON) and PUBLIC BARS.
Children are permitted in a PUB, but not within the bars. The rules for
minors in PUBS are complex, some follow:
(1) In a PUB room that has a bar, a child of 14 may enter, but not stand
or sit at the bar or drink alcohol (but can sniff glue).
(2) In a PUB room that has a bar, a child of 16 may enter and may stand
or sit at the bar, but not drink alcohol.
(3) It's a very bad idea to disagree with the PUBLICAN'S
perception of the law relating to his PUB.
PUBLICAN n. 1. Licensee of a PUB. Also called a LANDLADY or LANDLORD
depending on the gender of the PUBLICAN. Speculation: What, then, is a
PUBLIC BAR n. 1. A bar found in a PUB which is typically used by the
common laborer. In this portion of a PUB, there is no concern about muddy
WELLIES. Historically, this was reserved for the lower classes. Darts will be
played here, but never in a SALOON BAR.
A PUBLIC BAR is also known by the attractive and evocative name "SPIT AND
SAWDUST" which refers to a type of floor covering in use before the invention
PUBLIC SCHOOL n. 1. An upper class PRIVATE SCHOOL. The U.K. remains a
very class conscious society. If one wishes to be really successful in the U.K.,
it is deemed necessary that he attend a PRIVATE or PUBLIC SCHOOL. It is very
difficult for one who is educated in a STATE SCHOOL (regardless of his
abilities) to break into some areas of the society (especially government (an MP
for example), corporate leaders or professors).
This means that aspiring parents may start saving and even contact a school
when their children are only a couple of years old. Education in a PRIVATE or
PUBLIC SCHOOL is extremely expensive. Curiously, having completed a PUBLIC or
SCHOOL education (and passing the exams), entrance to the university is
much easier. University education is publicly funded and hence does not pose a
heavy burden on the parents.
PULL UP A BOLLARD phrase. 1. A friendly invitation to sit down. This
phrase originated with the GOON SHOW which was a famous radio program in the
1950s. The GOON SHOW was a hilarious comedy with Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan,
Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine and was responsible for launching their
careers. It was carried on the BBC World broadcasts and had listeners worldwide.
PUNNET n. 1. A little basket in which fruit such as strawberries,
raspberries, etc. is sold. Fruit is sold in the U.K. by weight (e.g. per pound)
rather than by volume (e.g. per pint).
PUNTER n. 1. A gambler, especially one who places bets with a bookie.
2. One who pays for goods or services provided by a SPIV or similar, a sucker.
PURSE n. 1. A pocketbook. A PURSE is something a lady puts her money
into and then puts the PURSE into her handbag.
PUSH CHAIR n. 1. Stroller.