An American in England.

Lyndie & I keep chatting about the differences between the U. S. and English cultures in terms of our directness and their courtesy; each perhaps to a fault, but each admired by the other. They have a “Telephone Preference List.” We call ours “The NO CALL list!” – What they call a strimmer, we call a weed whacker. – They have signs along the motorway saying, “Queues Likely.” Ours would probably read, “You  in some heavy shit now, Bitch!”


So many fun challenges as we sort out our two very different versions of an at least theoretically common language. Lynden had agreed I could buy the theater tickets to see Lincoln night before last, but then I had forgotten my wallet and she had paid. In America we call sticking someone with the bill, or an unpaid monetary debt, as stiffing them.

Telling Lynden’s lady friend the next day, though, that I had stiffed Lynden the night before at the movie theater sparked off quite a reaction.

Apparently stiffing your date in the theater means something quite different over here.


Everywhere in these ancient towns, where people used to be a lot shorter, are signs reading, “Mind Your Head,” or, “Mind The Step.” – In America using “Mind” as a verb means something quite different. Signs like these would more likely mean either, “Do everything the step tells you to do,” or, “Really let yourself get all hot and bothered by this step!”

And when a sign says, “No Dog Fouling,” does that mean we aren’t supposed to knock it over, or just not get it dirty?


On kilts: Between the cold, the wind, and the fact that kilts aren’t worn with undies … Scottish folks couldn’t possibly have found anything weirder to wear in their climate. Or ANY climate! The streets of Edinburgh are crowded with statues and memorials to fallen heroes of uncountable wars. I look up and see some guy who died fighting a war in Africa wearing a hat like a full-sized bear cub on his head. Natives defending their own turf were probably shooting at him with all sorts of exotic weapons while he’s struggling to keep his hat on, and yanking at his skirt. His only weapons were a couple of knives stuffed into his socks. How many soldiers died cussing the military uniform and ordinance department?

And while we’re at it, who was the first guy to grab up a lamb out of the field, start squeezing it, and telling himself whatever sound it makes, I’m gonna call it a bagpipe and we’ll make it the national musical instrument? Is it any wonder that Scotland’s most important product seems to be whiskey? I think not. – Oops, he’s on a rant again.


Walked to a pub for dinner. They had a food list chalked onto a board there. One item sounded juicy and succulent after our long drive, but not very filling. I suppose it might have been a misspelling, but this being a foreign culture with strange foods, one can never be sure. So I had the Guinness and Beef, while she had the lamb with mint sauce. That “Juicy Beeburger” just sounded really tiny.


In America, cars commonly sport personalized licenses, or what we call Vanity Plates. We can choose to have pictures of lighthouses, butterflies, moose droppings, or whatever on them. We have them spell out words and names, like “Yank my giblets,” or “FlirtyKitty.”

Here, all license plates are long yellow strips, generally with 2 letters, followed by 3 digits, and then 3 more letters. – DG462PTR –

Yesterday a car went past with a license something like M291SRL.

I pointed out to Lyndie that it only had a single letter in the first position.

She said, “Oh. That is probably a personalized plate.”

For some reason that struck me as particularly hilarious.


We’re eating on the floor by the fire; I’m tossing parts of the pizza boxes onto the coals as we plow through our feast. But then I start picturing some bird on a nest on a chimney nearby, calling down, “Hey! You guys wanna stop messing around down there? I’m getting strange cravings for pizza! I mean I’m already pregnant, for cryin’ out loud! That’s cruel!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s