When the weather fines up Londoners want to get outside and enjoy it while it lasts.
What better way to enjoy a summers evening than taking a stroll along the Thames River.
We took a leisurely walk......along with many other people......along the Thames path near Kew Bridge.
We saw plenty of ducks and a gorgeous sunset!
The English love their beer and the English love their pubs - there seems to be one on every corner!
The pub is a traditional meeting place for locals to catch up on the gossip and relax after a hard days work.
I don't spend much time in pubs, as I find them very often dingy and always very smokey.
But, when in London, make sure you have at least one Lager....
Here are some (slightly tongue-in-cheek) rules for how to appear like a Londoner while travelling on the city's underground train network:
~ Always call it the Tube, never the Underground or Subway
~ Don't talk to strangers - this isn't a safety tip, it would just expose you as the tourist you are - Londoners NEVER talk to each other on the tube unless there's some sort of emergency. Ideally you shouldn't even talk to the person you're with ;)
~ Stand on the right on the escalator - there are signs about this everywhere and unlike many other transport systems I've been on, here people usually stick to this rule. If you insist on standing on the left, prepare to be flattened by a commuter in a hurry!
~ Please don't stop dead in front of either a) the entrance, b) the automatic gate c) the top of the escalator or d) the map strategically placed at the entrance to a passage - see above re commuter in a hurry ;)
~ Talking of maps, if you want to blend in look at it before you travel and memorise your route - getting a map out is a sure give-away sign of a tourist
~ If you pick up one of the free papers that are given out during the morning and evening rush hours make sure you leave it for someone else to enjoy after you
As I said, all this is intended mainly in fun, but if you go along with some of these suggestions at least you should find your journey pleasanter. My final tip is a serious one though:
~ Unless you can't avoid it, don't travel in the rush hour - you'll be trampled on, squashed and will surely wish you'd stayed at home. Leave the rest of us to suffer and come out a bit later when we're all stuck in offices, shops etc :)
Sooner or later on a trip to London you are likely to find yourself in a pub – or you certainly should do if you want to experience one of the great British traditions. I thought it would be helpful to provide some tips on how to fit in like a local.
Firstly, you need to know that you have to go to the bar to order your drinks. Pease don’t sit at a table and wait to be served – you’ll get very thirsty and frustrated!
Secondly, you will have to pay for your drinks as you order them, unlike the European system of keeping a tab and adding it all up at the end of the evening. The exception to this are the smarter “gastro-pubs” where the emphasis is more on eating and where you may be asked if you’d like to put the drinks on a tab to pay with the food bill at the end of your meal.
If you’re with a group of people, it’s common practice to buy drinks in rounds. Each person takes it in turns to buy a round of drinks for the whole group. There’s a lot of etiquette attached to this that it would be impossible for you to pick up in a short visit, but there are a few important points to note. The last round is often the cheapest as by then some people will be drinking half pints or soft drinks, so it’s considered very bad form to be always the last person to offer to buy a round. But if someone in the group is drinking only soft drinks (e.g. a designated driver), it would be polite to suggest they don’t buy a round when they offer, as it makes for an expensive way to buy a few glasses of orange juice!
In a large group it’s unlikely that everyone will get a turn to buy a round. There are a number of alternatives. You might split into several smaller groups for the purposes of buying drinks (this often happens naturally as you approach the bar). You might propose a kitty, with everyone putting an agreed sum into this at the start of the evening and sharing out any leftovers at the end (and again, remember the non-drinker – perhaps he or she could put in half the amount that drinkers contribute). Or if you drink together regularly, buying rounds is probably OK as anyone who doesn’t buy one can start the process next time!
By the way, it isn’t usual to tip the staff in a pub, but if you visit regularly or spend a whole evening there and get good service, you can offer to buy the person serving you a drink – “would you like one yourself?” is the usual query. Don’t be offended if they pocket the money for later though – they can’t have too many when they’re supposed to be working!
So now you have your drinks, what else do you need to know? Well, firstly, since July 2007 it has been illegal to smoke in an enclosed public space in England (hooray!), so if you want to light up you’ll need to go outside. You could take your drink with you or if friends are staying inside leave it with them – an unclaimed drink is likely to be cleared away by bar staff. In most pubs you can buy food to go with your drink – this might be anything from a bag of peanuts to a gourmet treat, but traditional dishes include pies, fish and chips or a “ploughman’s lunch” (bread, cheese and pickles). Unlike drinks, groups of friends would normally each buy their own meal, and to do this you’ll again have to order at the bar. You’ll probably be given some sort of number or other sign to put on your table so the server can bring the meal to the right table.
There may be entertainment in the pub – live music, sport on TV or maybe a quiz. Choose your pub according to whether you want to participate in something like this or not – if you really want to talk with your friends, a pub without entertainment will be better.
Despite the British reputation for reserve, someone in the pub on their own is likely to be willing to engage in conversation, and the same may apply to groups of people. Try saying hello and take it from there, but bear in mind that they may have come to talk privately together, so be sensitive to the body language and move on if people don’t want to chat.
And lastly – have fun :)
What is it with the British and mayonnaise!!??
95% of sandwiches that you buy in the UK are pre-made/pre-packaged. And of these, 99% have mayonnaise on them....eeeeeuuuuwwwwwwwwww!!! There ought to be a law against it....not only does it not taste great, it is fattening!! And with so many British overweight, surely cutting back on spreads would be a good start...
There are chains over London that sell these pre-made sambos - some better than others. One of the better of these such chains is Pret a Manger. These are scattered all over London, and serve sandwiches, sushi, soup, coffee & cakes. They do have a couple of choices of sandwiches without mayo - just make sure you read the ingredients list before buying. Save the calories from the mayonnaise and have one of their pecan slices instead!!
An old legend has it that, as long as the Tower of London has Ravens resident in it, England is safe from invasion. This legend is tied back to medieval Welsh manuscripts that say before the British king Bran the Blessed (whose name in Welsh means 'raven') died after a battle with the Irish, he asked that his head be buried in Britain. Since it was buried near London as a talisman against invasion, a legend grew that the Ravens in the Tower of London were the keepers of the talisman. The British government now looks after the health of the eight resident Ravens (although England's safety was dicey when they were down to only two Ravens a few years ago!), whose feathers are cropped shortly after birth to ensure they don't get any travel urges!
Studies have shown that Ravens are actually the cleverest birds on the planet, about on a par with dogs in the intelligence category. They know how to use tools, can live to be about 40 years old and mate for life. I spotted these two having a conversation about the weather during my July, 1979 visit to the Tower.
When the weather starts to warm up over about 12 degrees (LOL!), Londoners take to the parks to sun themselves.
Alot of the big parks rent out deck chairs to those of us who prefer a more civilised method of sunning.
This photo was taken 3 minutes before a downpour, hence not too many people sunning their lily-white limbs!!
snog:a sensual kiss, otherwise known as a French kiss (making out). You certainly wouldn't snog your Grandmother, but many Brits fondly remember their first snog.
solicitor: UK- lawyer or attorney. US- door to door salesperson, or a telephone solicitor, (also known as a telemarketer on both sides of the pond).
Solitaire: a game played on a board with pegs, and the object is to end up with only one solitary peg left. The card game in UK is called Patience.
spanner: an adjustable monkey wrench tool.
spotted dick: a sponge cake like dessert(pudding) with raisins in it.
spud: potato.In England, baked potatoes are called jacket potatoes, and of course, fried potatoes are called chips.(or hash browns in both UK and US)
Everyone knows that Americans refer to their chips as french fries, but I wonder why? What did France have to do with it, if anything?
squash: A diluted fruit drink such as the popular black currant squash, similar to sugary versions like Snapple, which actually have very little fruit juice, maybe 10-20%, and are mostly sugar and water, also available in sugar-free versions as well.
stabilisers: training wheels for a tot's bicycle in the UK. (spelt stabilizer in the US, and could be anything that stabilizes, either substances or objects)
starter: an appetizer eaten at the beginning (start) of a meal, hence the name. Mention starter in America, and someone will think something is wrong with your vehicle's starter and therefore will not start without the services of a auto-mechanic.
steady on: an English expression meaning Whoa! Hold on! (Hold your horses!) etc.
stilettos: pumps/ high heels for women.
stone: (1)a unit measure of weight equal to 13.99 pounds (lbs.) Someone weighing 10 stone in the UK would weigh 140 lbs. in America.
stone: (2) It is also used to describe the pits in fruits such as peaches.
straight away: A very common English expression meaning immediately, right this minute, or now.
sultanas: golden raisins often used in making delicious English puddings and desserts.
The 36 Yeomen Warders of the Tower of London are ceremonial guards whose duty is to look after any prisoners in the cells and to make sure that the Crown Jewels are safely locked away. However, in practise, since there have not been any prisoners here since the 1950s, they mostly act as tour guides and are themselves a tourist attraction. It is not known for certain how they came to be referred to as 'Beefeaters', but it is believed to have been either a derivation of the French term 'buffetier' for the 'king's guard' or from the fact that the Grand Duke of Tuscany observed in 1669 that they received a very large portion of beef as part of their daily rations!
All members of the Yeoman Warders must be ex-soldiers of the British military with at least 22 years of honourable service to the Crown.
The tradition of Pearly Kings & Queens goes back to 1875 when Henry Croft left the orphanage, where he was born & bred, at the age of 13 to make his own way in life. Henry got a job sweeping the market streets where he got to know & admire the market traders who looked out for each other & helped those in need. He started to collect fallen pearly buttons as he swept the streets & sewed them on to his cap & suit. He collected money for charity & the orphanage. The tradition continues today with 40 active families still collecting for various charities. There is a statue of Henry in St. Martins in the Field the church where the Kings & Queens still go to worship.
The coffee in London is not good.
Most people buy their coffee from one of the coffee chains found in the UK. The main ones are:
They are all guilty of boiling the milk...yuk.
But they do have some yummy treats...
You will find one (or several) on a High Street near you.
Doing some sight-seeing in London and feeling a little tired??
Why not take a nap whilst on the Tube - everybody else does.
Doesn't seem to matter what time of day it is, there is always someone sleeping on a seat near you.
How they magically wake up in time to alight at their stop is a mystery to me.
roundabout: a circular road with exits at different sections of the curved road. Unlike American 4 way stops, traffic only flows in one direction. You must drive around the circle until your street veers off to the left, as there is no right turn from a roundabout.
row: (pronounced, as "cow" not "sew") an argument, or verbal disagreement.
rubber: an eraser for erasing pencil markings, but entirely different in the US, as it is commonly referred to as a condom.
rubbish: everyday waste or trash, or sometimes rubbish can be considered nonsense, as in, "There is no truth to it whatsoever, absolute rubbish!"
rucksack: a backpack in America.
sarnie: British slang for sandwich.
school: same as in US, only you do not refer to anyone who is in college as going to school. It is proper to ask what University does one attend, not what school do you go to?
scrap: junk. In the UK, they discard their scrap in scrapyards, where in America, we deposit our junk in junkyards.
scrote: a person equivalent to American scum, or a scumbag.
Sellotape: What Americans call Scotch tape, both being brand names for clear cellophane tape.
settee: equivalent of a couch or a loveseat in the US.
shandy: a mixture of beer or lager mixed with British lemonade (the carbonated Sprite or 7 UP like beverage) It is mostly beer or lager, probaby 80-90%, but it is commonly thought that someone can drink shandy without becoming overly intoxicated, in England.
shop: the equivalent to a store in the US, not a garage to have your vehicle repaired.
skip: A skip is a US dumpster or trash bin.
sleeping policeman: speed bump.Can you imagine the look on an American's face when hearing about someone rolling over a sleeping policeman at such a speed that it nearly damaged his motor (car) ??? I can!
slip road: an on/off ramp entering to or exiting from a motorway, highway, interstate, or freeway, called exits in America. It could be confusing for a Brit to hear, "You get on interstate 'Whatever" at the "Here" exit, and get off on the "Now" exit.
treacle: molasses like syrup. A treacle sponge is a popular dessert similar to a sponge cake drizzled with syrup.
trolley: a shopping cart.
It is said that the River Thames is full of different varieties of shopping trolleys, and finding them on a typical walk is becoming a popular sport such as whale spotting in Australia. (OK, my British friend, the stand up comedian said it).
Note: in UK, pants are underwear, and nickers are panties.
twig: to figure out or realize something is up. (usually no good) A twig in America is a tiny
branch from a tree, sometimes used in building campfires.
twit: a mild insult similar to twerp.
twonk: another friendly insult meaning dummy.
verge: the shoulder of the road.
video: VCR, the act of,(videoing) AND the video tapes. Don't forget to buy a video to video Eastenders in the video. Confusing, even for Brits.
wellingtons: Wellington boots and often called wellies, known as rubber boots or galoshes in America.
whinge: to whine. A UK whinger is a US whiner, always complaining about something insignificant.
wing: known as the fender of an automobile in the US.
wizard!: an expression similar to, "Awesome!" or "Cool!"
wonky: a lighthearted mishap, something that didn't go exactly as planned, but certainly not disastrous. You would not refer to a near fatal accident as gone a bit wonky.
Zed: the letter Z in America. It makes sense that the word realized would be spelt realised, instead, in the UK.
Can you imagine saying, re-al-li-zed-ed???
This concludes my virtual dictionary of Transatlantic translations. I hope it has been useful to you in a meaningful way.
I would like to thank Chris Rae for sharing his knowledge via the Internet, and although my dictionary is my viewpoint, in my own words, it was his definitions that inspired me, and proved to be a valuable reference tool on numerous ocassions.
I encourage you to view his website below for many more intriguing differences in our English language(s).
Ta: Thank you!
When someone says they are on the blower, it means they are on the telephone.
A teller is the cashier at any shop, not just a bank teller, as in America.
A game of Bat is known as Table Tennis or Ping Pong in the US.
A game of Rounders is a baseball game.
A public school in England is known as a County Counsel school.
If a student offers you glue, he or she is referring to chewing gum.
English are taught maths, as Americans learn math.
A tap is the faucet, (hot and cold) and also, a tap is used for dispensing fine ales and such, like Guinness, served in pubs everywhere in England. In America, there is usually only one tap with hot, cold or warm running water. In England, I noticed there are mostly two. There is no warm water, because there are mostly either hot or cold taps.
Local customs in London? To be honest, the visitor will never learn them all. From standing on the right on a Tube (Underground / Metro / subway) escalator to knowing that a black taxi...