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A Random Collection of Reflections on the UK

I had this discussion the other day, which completely confused me:

Alison: So we sent him to bed without any tea.
Me: When you say tea... do you mean like supper?
Alison: Yes, it's that meal in the evening... Breakfast, lunch, and tea.
Me: Uh-huh...
Pauline: Don't worry, Anna, it's a very English thing. The Scottish don't say that.

Which was ironically followed later in the day by hearing two boys with very thick Scottish accents talking about how they don't need their tea that night, so who cares if their parents are mad at them.

Sometimes I think Scottish people just blame every odd thing on the English to confuse me.

I learned this week that someone being "on the pull" is sorta, but not really, like being on the prowl. (There I go, defining slang with different slang again. I teach English gud.) It seems to have differen conotations depending, but refers to someone going out clubbing with the intention of a one-night stand. I think. Slang is a tricky thing, after all.

Unrelated to that, I'm confuddled at grocery shopping in the UK. I suppose it's a big cultural difference, but when I think "spaghetti", I do not think "ethnic food". So I'm forever going around in circles in the grocery stores here trying to find it. On the other hand, their "ethnic food" section seems to be much broader than the one at the store back home.

I'd kill for a good egg nog right now. Since they apparently don't do that here (unless I want to go to Starbucks, which I don't, because of the whole HaidaBucks mess), I have decided to make my own. If I never update my blog again, it's because I died of food-poisoning. And it's all Scotland's fault.

And I finally found chocolate chips and a place with a decent selection of flours. (I had a conversation once that went like this: Me: Do you carry any speciality flours? Clerk: Do you mean ones that come in vases or ones that come in pots? Me: I think I'm in the wrong place.) I still can't find a bag larger than 2 kilos, but I've contented myself with the idea that if I did, I'd have to carry a bag that's larger than 2 kilos, and that might be problematic.

(And every day I ask myself: why do I live in the land where no one cooks?)

Today I spent some time on the phone with a call center in Ireland. I must move to Ireland next... the accents are just lovely.

In an effort to remind myself that it was the afternoon, and not late evening, and I should enjoy my time spent at home today, I opened my window wide and took in the glorious rain. It still looked like evening. Ah well. I still got lots of baking done.

And to end this on a completely random note: Did you know that the " and the @ keys are reversed here from back in North America? It throws me when I get home to my laptop, and it usually takes me a few hours to go back to the "proper" way of typing.

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Comments

Very funny lesson of UK slang... I've had similar conversations with my ex (we're Romanian, he's been studying in England for 7 years and I know American English, so he translates weird things in American for me). And the @ " thing is very annoying indeed... The only good thing about the UK keyboard layout is being able to type the MSN mad smiley faster :D

...On older American typewriters, the double quote/tick is also a shifted 2. I distinctly recall seeing this on a number of electric typewriters, though I couldn't begin to tell you when manufacturers started changing the U.S. layout. Unfortunately, my efforts to come up with photos of keyboard layouts from around the the likely time of the switch have been unsuccessful (though weak).

FYI.

I understand completely...the french keyboard is pretty much the same, but the big difference for me is that the a is where the q is and the z is where the w should be..at least I think that is right. Now, after four months of typing on it I am used to the french keyboard.

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