Thursday, March 18, 2010

They Do Have A Way With Words

After spending a full week in England and Scotland, I've come to appreciate the charming way in which the English and the Scots express themselves.

Is someone trying to tell us that this dog is peculiar, or are they trying to say, "Beware of Fido?"

It's not just the accent. It's the arrangement and phrasing of the words. "Mind the gap between the car and the platform," a recorded voice admonishes passengers every time a subway train pulls into an Underground station. Food ordered at a restaurant isn't "for here" or "to go" but rather for "stay in" or "takeaway."

When I asked for cream with my coffee I was politely told that they don't have cream but rather milk instead. Evidently, "cream" here is the real thing, not the watered down concoction we call "half and half." "Cream" is something that is reserved for dolloping on strawberries at Wimbledon in July rather than squandering on one's cup of morning joe. I quickly learned to order "white coffee" in order to get "cream" in my cup.

At home on the roads we have speed bumps. Here, the British have the humps (which perhaps accounts for why drivers are requested to "give way" rather than to yield.)

"A banger for breakfast?" In other words, would you like a sausage? Or a woman who says, "Knock me up the next time you're in the neighborhood," simply means stop by the next time you're in the area.

London is no place for people with a weak stomach. The sign that announces, "Live Bait," is hung above a restaurant, not a tackle shop. Another chain of eating establishments goes under the name, "The Slug and Lettuce." Don't they ever wash their produce over here?

Apartments and offices aren't "for rent" but instead are, "to let." I must confess I first thought one of those signs was directing me to a rest room and simply had the letter "i" whited out. I figured the British must really know how to take care of business.

Then there's the "pasty shop," which despite the pallor of the typical Londoner, is not the English antipode to our suntanning salons. It's a place where they sell pastries.

Apparently, you can get a vehicle report along with your lunch.

This talk about food is starting to make me hungry. Time to sign off and go get a "spot of supper." But please, no snails on the lettuce.

More photos of funny British signs.

Photos from our trip are posted here (London) and here, (for Edinburgh).

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