scribbles tagged ‘Englishness’

diagnosis: foreign object

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

foreign objectsJust how do you diagnose something as a foreign object without the aide of well-labeled packaging?

words used include:

  • bin
  • toilet (3 times)
  • Please (3 times)
  • Thank You
  • ‘foreign objects’
  • ‘Sanitary towels’

Arranged in what look like sentences including full-stops do help to make this sign wonderfully British.

I attempted to comply but it is possible that a foreign foodstuff did make a sort-of appearance. I’m hoping no-one checks¦

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take 5 mins

Saturday, January 17th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

After a prolonged bout of worky-worky-worky

Wendy: would people like a restroom break?

Person-1: Did you ACTUALY say RESTROOM break? (Face expresses what looks like incredulity)

Wendy:, I lived in the US for 8 years and it still hasn’t quite worn of

Person-2: you’ve lost a lot of your American accent

I am still labouring under the potential misapprehension that I have never had an American accent. It’s clear that I picked up a lot of US words.   I like them,  their meaning appears understood locally  if experienced as out of place with my reputedly cute accent.

Unfortunately, even on the rare occasions that I say You rock, that was super-awesome   (UK meaning: ‘thank you that was jolly good’) I exude an air of trouble-with-sincerity to the locals that can induce both  grimacing or giggling depending on the disposition of the listeners

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saucy, troublesome, impertinent, pestilent, impudent canting, prating Penn

Friday, January 2nd, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |


Prior to 1670 it was normal practice for Judges to put a jury in prison without food, water, heating  or smokes if they returned a ‘not guilty’ verdict when the judge thought they had reached the wrong decision.  


Below is an excerpt from the court transcripts of the case that lead to a change in this practice, allowing juries to find the defendant innocent without fear of being punished by the judiciary.   Penn is the William Penn that later founded the US State of Pennsylvania:



Rec. Sir, will you plead to your indictment?


Penn. Shall I plead to an Indictment that hath no foundation in law? If it contain that law you say I have broken, why should you decline to produce that law, since it will be impossible for the jury to determine, or agree to bring in their verdict, who have not the law produced, by which they should measure the truth of this indictment, and the guilt, or contrary of my fact?


Rec. You are a saucy fellow, speak to the Indictment.


Penn. I say, it is my place to speak to matter of law; I am arraigned a prisoner; my liberty, which is next to life itself, is now concerned: you are many mouths and ears against me, and if I must not be allowed to make the best of my case, it is hard, I say again, unless you shew me, and the people, the law you ground your indictment upon, I shall take it for granted your proceedings are merely arbitrary.


Obser. At this time several upon the Bench urged hard upon the Prisoner to bear him down.


Rec. The question is, whether you are Guilty of this Indictment?


Penn. The question is not, whether I am Guilty of this Indictment, but whether this Indictment be legal. It is too general and imperfect an answer, to say it is the common-law, unless we knew both where and what it is. For where there is no law, there is no transgression; and that law which is not in being, is so far from being common, that it is no law at all.


Rec. You are an impertinent fellow, will you teach the court what law is? It is ‘Lex non scripta,’ that which many have studied 30 or 40 years to know, and would you have me to tell you in a moment?


Penn. Certainly, if the common law be so hard to be understood, it is far from being very common; but if the lord Coke in his Institutes be of any consideration, he tells us, That Common-Law is common right, and that Common Right is the Great Charter-Privileges: confirmed 9 Hen. 3, 29, 25 Edw. 1, 12 Ed. 3, 8 Coke Instit. 2 p, 56.


Rec. Sir, you are a troublesome fellow, and it is not for the honour of the court to suffer you to go on.


Penn. I have asked but one question, and you have not answered me ; though the rights and privileges of every Englishman be concerned in it.


Rec. If I should suffer you to ask questions till to-morrow morning, you would be never the wiser.


Penn. That is according as the answers are.


Rec. Sir, we must not stand to hear you talk all night.


Penn. I design no affront to the court, but to be heard in my just plea: and I must plainly tell you, that if you will deny me Oyer of that law, which you suggest I have broken, you do at once deny me an acknowledged right, and evidence to the whole world your resolution to sacrifice the privileges of Englishmen to your sinister and arbitrary designs.


Rec. Take him away. My lord, if you take not some course with this pestilent fellow, to stop his mouth, we shall not be able to do any thing to night.


Mayor. Take him away, take him away, turn him into the bale-dock.


Penn. These are but so many vain exclamations; is this justice or true judgment? Must I therefore be taken away because I plead for the fundamental laws of England? However, this I leave upon your consciences, who are of the jury (and my sole judges,) that if these ancient fundamental laws, which relate to liberty and property, (and are not limited to particular persuasions in. matters of religion) must not be indispensably maintained and observed, who can say he hath right to the coat upon his back? Certainly our liberties are openly to be invaded, our wives to be ravished, our children slaved, our families ruined, and our estates led away in triumph, by every sturdy beggar and malicious informer, as their trophies, but our (pretended) forfeits for conscience sake. The Lord of Heaven and Earth will be judge between us in this matter.


Rec. Be silent there.


Penn. I am not to be silent in a case wherein I am so much concerned, and not only myself, but many ten thousand families besides.


Obser. They having rudely haled him into the Bale-dock, William Mead they left in court, who spake as followeth.


Mead. You men of the jury, here I do now stand, to answer to an Indictment against me, which is a bundle of stuff, full of lies and falshoods; for therein I am accused that I met ‘vi & armis illicite & tumultuose:’ time was when I had freedom to use a carnal weapon, and then I thought I feared no man; but now I fear the living God, and dare not make use thereof nor hurt any man; nor do I know I demeaned myself as a tumultuous person: I say, I am a peaceable man, therefore it is a very proper question what William Penn demanded in this case, an oyer of the law, on which our Indictment is grounded.


Rec. I have made answer to that already.


Mead, turning his face to the jury, saith,You men of the jury, who are my judges, if the Recorder will not tell you what makes a riot, a rout, or an unlawful assembly, Coke, he that once they called the lord Coke, tells us what makes a riot, a rout and an unlawful assembly. A riot is when three or more, are met together to beat a man, or to enter forcibly into another man’s land, to cut down his grass, his wood or break down his pales.


Obser. Here the Recorder interrupted him, and said ‘I thank you, sir, that you will tell me what the law is,’ scornfully pulling off his hat.


Mead. Thou mayest put on thy hat, I have never a fee for thee now.


Brown. He talks at random, one while an independant, another while some other religion, and now a quaker, and next a papist.


Mead. ‘Turpe est doctori cum culpa redarguit ipsum.’


May. You deserve to have your tongue cut out.


Rec. If you discourse on this manner, I shall take occasion against you.


Mead. Thou didst promise me, I should have fair liberty to be heard? why may I not have the privilege of an Englishman? I am an Englishman, and you might be ashamed of this dealing.


Rec. I look upon you to be an enemy to the laws of England, which ought to be observed and kept, nor are you worthy of such privileges as others have.


Mead. The Lord is judge between me and thee in this matter.


Obser. Upon which they took him away into the Bale-dock, and the Recorder proceeded to give the Jury their charge, as followeth:


Recorder. You have heard what the Indictment is, It is for preaching to the people, and drawing a tumultuous company after them, and Mr. Penn was speaking; if they should not be disturbed, you see they will go on; there are three or four witnesses that have proved this, that he did preach there; that Mr. Mead did allow of it: after this you have heard by substantial witnesses what is said against them : now we are upon the matter of fact, which you are to keep to, and observe, as what hath been fully sworn at your peril.


Obser. The prisoners were put out of the court into the Bale-dock, and the charge given to the jury in their absence, at which W. Penn with a very raised voice, it being a considerable distance from the bench, spake.


Penn. I appeal to the jury who are my Judges, and this great assembly, whether the proceedings of the court are not most arbitrary, and void of all law, in offering to give the jury their charge in the absence of the prisoners ; I say it is directly opposite to, and destructive of the undoubted right of every English prisoner, as Coke, in the 2 Instit. 29. on the chap. of Magna Charta.


Obser. The Recorder being thus unexpectedly lashed for his extra judicial procedure, said with an enraged smile.


Rec. Why, ye are present, you do hear, do you not?


Penn. No thanks to the court, that commanded me into the Bale-dock; and you of the jury, take notice, that I have not been heard, neither can you legally depart the Court before I have been fully heard, having at last ten or twelve material points to offer, in order to invalidate their Indictment.


Rec. Pull that fellow down, pull him down.


Mead. Are these according to the rights and privileges of Englishmen, that we should not be heard, but turned into the Bale-dock, for making our defence, and the jury to have their charge given them in our absence? I say these are barbarous and unjust proceedings.


Rec. Take them away into the Hole: To hear them talk all night as they would, that I think doth not become the honour of the court and I think you (i. e. the jury) yourselves would be tired out, and not have patience to hear them.


Obser. The Jury were commanded up to agree upon their verdict, the prisoners remaining in the stinking hole. After an hour and a half’s time eight came down agreed, but four remained above; the court sent an officer for them, and they accordingly came down. The Bench used many unworthy threats to the four that dissented; and the Recorder, addressing himself to Bushel, said, ‘Sir, you are the cause of this disturbance, and manifestly shew yourself an abettor of faction; I shall set a mark upon you, Sir.’


J. Robinson. Mr. Bushel, I have known you near this 14 years; you have thrust yourself upon this jury, because you think there is some service for you: I tell you, you deserve to be indicted more than any man that hath been brought to the bar this day.


Bushel. No, sir John, there were threescore before me, and I would willingly have got off, but could not.


Bloodw. I said, when I saw Mr. Bushel, what I see is come to pass, for I knew he would never yield. Mr. Bushel, we know what you are.


May. Sirrah, you are an impudent fellow, I will put a mark upon you.


Obser. They used much menacing language, and behaved themselves very imperiously to the jury, as persons not more void of justice than sober education: After this barbarous usage, they sent them to consider of bringing in their verdict, and after some considerable time they returned to the Court. Silence was called for, and the jury called by their names,


Cler. Are you agreed upon your verdict?


Jury. Yes.


Cler. Who shall speak for you ?


Jury. Our Foreman.


Clerk. Look upon the prisoners at the bar; how say you? Is William Penn Guilty of the matter whereof he stands indicted in manner and form, or Not Guilty?


Foreman. Guilty of speaking in Grace-church street.


Court. Is that all ?


Foreman. That is all I have in commission.


Rec. You had as good say nothing.


May. Was it not an unlawful assembly? You mean he was speaking to a tumult of. people there?


Foreman. My Lord, This is all I had in commission.


Obser. Here some of the jury seemed to buckle to the questions of the Court: upon which, Bushel, Hammond, and some others, opposed themselves, and said, they allowed of no such word as an unlawful assembly in their Verdict; at which the Recorder, Mayor, Robinson and Bloodworth took great occasion to vilify them with most opprobrious language; and this verdict not serving their turns, the Recorder expressed himself thus:


Rec. The law of England will not allow you to part till you have given  in your Verdict.

Jury. We have given in our Verdict, and we can give in no other.


Rec. Gentlemen, you have not given in your Verdict, and you had its good say nothing; therefore go and consider it once more, that we may make an end of this troublesome business.


Jury. We desire we may have pen, ink, and paper.


Obser. The Court adjourned for half an hour; which being expired, the Court returns, and the Jury not long after.

The Prisoners were brought to the bar, and the Jury’s names called over.


Clerk. Are you agreed of your Verdict?


Jury. Yes.


Clerk. Who shall speak for you?


Jury. Our Foreman.


Clerk. What say you? Look upon the prisoners: Is William Penn Guilty in manner and form, as he stands indicted, or Not Guilty?


Foreman. Here is our Verdict; holding forth a piece of paper to the clerk of the peace, which follows.

‘We the jurors, hereafter named, do find William Penn to be Guilty of speaking or preaching to an assembly, met together in Gracechurch-street, the 14th of August last, 1670, And that William Mead is Not Guilty of the said Indictment.’


Foreman Thomas Veer, Edward Bushel, John Hammond, Henry Henley, Charles Milson, Gregory Walklet, John Baily, William Lever, Henry Michel, John Bnghtman, James Damask, Wil. Plumsted.


Obser. This both Mayor and Recorder resented at so high a rate, that they exceeded the bounds of all reason and civility.


Mayor. What, will you be led by such a silly fellow as Bushel? an impudent canting fellow? I warrant you, you shall come no more upon juries in haste: You are a foreman indeed, addressing himself to the foreman, I thought you, had understood your place better.


Recorder. Gentlemen, you shall not be dismissed till we have a verdict that the court will accept; and you shall be locked up, without meat, drink, fire, and tobacco; you shall not think thus to abuse the court; we will have a verdict, by the help of God, or you shall starve for it.


Penn. My jury, who are my judges, ought not to be thus menaced; their verdict should be free, and not compelled; the bench ought to wait upon them, but not forestal them. I do desire that justice may be done me, and that the arbitrary resolves of the bench may not be made the measure of my jury’s verdict.

Recorder. Stop that prating fellow’s mouth, or put him out of the court.

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temporary outbreak of total clothes rights

Monday, December 15th, 2008 | tags: , , ,  |

In 1973 my pre-teens were spent enjoying and observing the evidence of early outbreaks of  total clothes rights that came with the flamboyancy of Glam Rock as people on the street took their lead from popsters like The Slade, Marc Bolan, David Bowie, Gary Glitter, Roxy Music, Wizzard, and around this time I belatedly discovered The  Bonzo Dog Doo-dah band  and of course….  

The Sweet sang Ballroom Blitz.

I credit them as inspiration for a pair of tight red trousers in my wardrobe that make appearances most winters like Sweet songs in the UK.


The following song’s lyrics were common playground chant’s that probably  significantly influenced the formative years of anyone from my generation  named William…

The Sweet sang little willie

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a little horse on the phone?

Sunday, December 14th, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

Office for poniesSign on the door of an office in the Reading Cattle Market.

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cute accent #8: dulcet tones

Friday, December 12th, 2008 | tags: , , ,  |

Since repatriating to the UK I have not been the lucky recipient of any spontaneous exclamations of ‘cute accent’.   It has been pointed out that I sound foriegn.    I attribute this ‘foriegn accent’ accusation to remnants of my regional, Bristol, burr.     It is possible that the following  comment counts as an English equivalent of saying ‘cute accent’,   it is also possibly something different:

English person in open-plan office (EPIOO):   I heard your dulcet tones nearby and thought I’d take the opportunity to talk to you

Wendy:   Oh (signifying a double message of I wonder if that means cute accent? and what does the EPIOO want?)

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near Europe

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008 | tags: ,  |

why I love England #6: It’s near Europe

Learning about diverse countries, climates, cars,  cities, cultures  by actually visiting them  is easy because they are close, part of the European community (EU) though  Britain has opted out of many of the unifying practices such as the Social Charter and the Euro currency.

near Europe
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just bear with me if you will

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008 | tags: , , , ,  |

says the Very Nice Lady (VNL) from the highways and drainage specialists  at Reading Borough Council freephone information.

VNL:   if I don’t have any joy I’ll get back to you in just one second

Wendy: thankyou

VNL: I didn’t have any joy


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shared silence

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008 | tags: , , ,  |

captive silenced female mannequinLunching with an hearing impaired friend (HIF) who uses spoken words rarely, with good effect:


HIF: you are the only person I know who talks less than I do

Wendy: is that good?

HIF: yes (laughs)

Wendy: (laughs)


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public service advertisements

Sunday, October 26th, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

why I love England #5: public service advertisements

The most recent series of public service advertisements are aimed at tackling ‘binge drinking’ culture that is painfully obvious on the Streets of British cities and by the behaviour of British holiday makers.

They are very direct and witty: Metro webpage with embedded media files of TV abverts.

My first memory of this striking style of advertisement was the 1986 anti-Aids campaign that leveraged John Hurt as voice-over and Nicolas Roeg’s directorial talent.

public service advertisements
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wonkey sounds like wrong key

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008 | tags: , , , ,  |

IT support:   hello,   this is [name] in Salt Lake city   (US Accent)

Wendy: Oh!   I hope its sunny in Salt Lake city

IT Support:   it’s 4am in the morning

Wendy:   Ah,   gosh,   well,   not sunny then,   I’ve got this problem…

[problem fixing conversation and Wendy starts falling asleep then wakes up when]

IT  Support:   Wonkey,   I’m even talking British now,   wonkey

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Friday, September 26th, 2008 | tags: , , , ,  |

Why I love England #4.    welcoming

England welcomes all sorts of people,  even bus enthusiasts, as long as they behave like responsible citizens by following health and safety instructions and reporting suspicious unattended packages to the appropriate security authorities.
Bus Enthusiasts

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ex-colonial accent

Monday, September 8th, 2008 | tags: , , ,  |

Lady on plane with English accent (LOPWEA):   where are you from?

Wendy:   Bristol, England

LOPWEA:    I though you had a  foreign accent

Wendy:   I’ve recently lived abroad for 8 years,   where would you guess the accent is from?

LOPWEA:   Austraila or  New Zealand

Wendy:   yes,    its ex-colonial English,   the NW US

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Tuesday, August 26th, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

Why I love England #3.    closeness

closeness illustrated by analogy to the display system in a local store UK closeness illustrated by the proximity of items in a local store

Within 6 months of arriving in Reading I’d been invited to a local couple’s wedding,   into half a dozen neighbours houses for tea and general niceness,   out to numerous local events,   heard multiple personal stories of divorces,  abortions, new-loves,  disputes with the local council,   disputes with neighbours,   and, of course, the standard commute and job stories.    I experience a closeness with people here that is very heartwarming.

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movements in Wedding headgear

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008 | tags: , , , , ,  |

hat # 18: yellow and red shot silk from cornwall circa 1990first Man In Panama Hat (MIPH): that is the most striking womans hat at this wedding,   I didn’t recognise you earlier,  is it new?

Wendy:   I have a tan.   The hat’s about 20yrs old,  from Cornwall, it’s my favourite hat,  though I rarely have a special-enough occassion to wear it (subdues jumping impulse  based on the excitement of being in the company of 2 other people wearing hats).

first MIPH:  it did  SAY Cornwall to me (giggles).  

second MIPH: it is the ONLY woman’s hat at this wedding (giggles).

Headgearless guest:    Isn’t it  good of the Bride and  Groom to arrange a wedding so that  we can all wear our favourite clothes (smiles).

post ceremony drinksOn this fabulously sunny and very cheerful day the female wedding guests were not ruining their immaculate coiffures by squishing them under hats.   Instead a rash of fascinators were jiggling with the movement of their wearers.

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do not destroy!!

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

The  US the tax year runs from January 1st to December 31st.   The UK Tax, fiscal,  year runs from April 6th to April 5th based on 18th Century ‘quarter days’ when servants were traditionally hired and  ‘rent’ was gathered from the predominantly non-home-owning population and,   of course, the introduction of Tax to support  the Napoleonic wars.   Those darned French.   The UK corporate financial year runs from April 1st  to March 31st,   something to do with not loosing money when the Gregorian calendar was introduced.

I think of my P60,   provided by my employer as being like my US W2.

Do not destroy

The P60 helpfully announces this instruction  in bold type on its authority-imbued graduated pinkness.

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t in the park

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

Not a popular  Scottish music festival.   A testosterone fuelled  five-aside football tournament  in Palmers park.

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public funded broadcasting

Saturday, July 26th, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

why I love England #2:   The BBC

Public funded broadbcasting in the public interest rather than in the interest of making profit.   With journalists all over the world who assume their audience has some intelligence and ask insightful rather than tabloid questions.   I suspect that I have a crush on Jeremy Paxman.  They produce high quality drama,   comedy productions  and Dr. Who.   They backed  Red Dwarf on BBC2 and  Top Gear.   They employed Dennis Potter and delivered Blue Peter who provided me with my first and enduring female role model in Valerie Singleton and  gave me profound appreciation of the potential of squeezy bottles and sticky-backed-plastic to contribute to orld happiness.

Stephen fry quoted on Wikipedia’s entry about Valerie Singleton:

I have been pondering this business of fame since I was young enough to know Valerie Singleton from the Queen (for Americans and other non-Britons I should explain: one is a remote, god-like, autocratic woman endowed with powerful charismatic charm and the other is a constitutional monarch recently played on screen by Helen Mirren

What more could a girl want from broadcasting?

public funded broadcasting
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a wendys home is her castle

Monday, July 21st, 2008 | tags: , , ,  |

A  castle isn’t complete without a moat.  

In April I booked builders  to  install a moat in June.   In mid july I haven’t yet seen them.  

Without a moat how can the Wendy House remain defended from being undermined?

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waterside ceremony

Friday, July 11th, 2008 | tags: ,  |

What is  an English waterside ceremony?

Lots of people wearing gender-defined colourful, often impractical, clothes and hats  travel to a small Oxfordshire town to shout at teams of very muscular young adults rowing boats rather fast on a straight-stretch of the River Thames.   Pedestrians weave between cars* jammed in the roads while  police people politely suggest,   then instruct, that  the pedestrians stay on the pavements.   Not to mention the barrels of Pimms  flowing,  gallons of champagne popping,   and glasses of  Brakspear sinking in Public Houses,   car parks,    and by the riverside.    It was the annual  Henley Royal Regatta.

 * I took the 850 arriva bus from Reading to High Wycombe, hopped off at Henley,  and a jolly pleasant ride it was too.

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jumping ladies

Thursday, June 26th, 2008 | tags: , , ,  |

Why I love England #1.    First in an infinite series

Healthy ladies in slightly ridiculous hats &  waistecoats made of flapping strands of material oddments  jumping around with large sticks and bells tied to their staunchly sensible shoes within the ruins of a 12th  century Abby adjacent to a Victorian prison on a rather damp June day.   How could you possibly not love this?   and it happened in Reading!

jumping ladies
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openings and closings

Monday, June 9th, 2008 | tags: ,  |

The opening and closing phrases used in emails that I receive* from English people  are noticably different from those I receive from US people.    Opener-closer pairings  tend to be  more thematic than systematic:

Most common 2 UK Openers:

  • Dear Wendy  
  • Hi Wendy
  • Other openers: ‘Thank you‘    ‘Heya‘Hello   (Wendy, Love, Angel, Darling etc)‘   ‘Indeed’   ‘Oh my!’   ‘take this quiz its great!’**   ‘Oh cripes yes!’  

Most common 2 UK Closers:

  • Kind Regards (name on new line)
  • Best Wishes,   (name on new line)
  • Other closers:  ‘Love’     ‘Cheers’‘   ‘Sincerely‘ Thank you’    

Most common 2 US Openers

  • Hi Wendy
  • Hey
  • Other US openers: ‘Hello’   ‘Thank you’    ‘your question has been received’  ‘that time again’   ‘thematic and diverting’

Most common 2 US Closers

  • Thanks
  • [authors name]
  • Other US closers: ‘Sincerely’     ‘                   [name]’   ‘Must go!”   ‘Thank you’   ‘Thanks’   ‘thematic and diverting’

* The data leading to this  conclusion was drawn by unsystematically reviewing the contents on my work and personal email inboxes for  May 2008 living in the UK and  October 2006 when I lived in the US.    The senders assumed-location or citizenship was used  to assign  UK or US practice.     By far the most common emails I receive come from friends and family with no standard opener or closer, they are written as-if with-in an ongoing conversation and are  excluded from the analysis.   In no way can my inbox contents be considered representative of National or International trends.  

** My nieces do like eveyone to join in  a good Quiz

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soppy outbreak

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008 | tags: , , , , ,  |

”’bring”’ ””’bring””:   Hello…   …Wendy House speaking,   how can I help you?

American friend:   Wendy?   Is that you?

Wendy:   Yes

American friend:   OH MY GOD,  Wendy,   your accent has gotten so English that I didn’t even recognise you! So,   how are you liking being back in England

Wendy:   It’s the little things that you didn’t realise that you missed or thought were over romantised like the sound of leather on willow during a cricket game in a park,   followed by a brief silence then clapping as the players on both sides applaud a good shot,   the smell of freshly mown, damp, grass in the morning, the diversity of nose shapes, the plethera of watery blue eyes and men wearing shoulderbags.

American friend:   are you reading one of your blog posts?

Wendy:   I’m not sure,   I’ll check and get back to you on that one

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jumble sale

Thursday, March 13th, 2008 | tags: ,  |

A jumble sale in the local church,   not something I came across in the NW US.   The word jumble  didn’t crop up at all.   Ah,   memories of  crowds of people waiting for a sale to open, the rush to get the bargains,  old people with elbows of steel aimed with  the  precision of military training  at my softer-parts…     …money raised being put towards renewing the church roof….

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where is home?

Thursday, March 6th, 2008 | tags: , , ,  |

New Zealander: are you homesick?

Wendy:   Homesick?

New Zealander: 8 years is a long time to live in the US, do you miss it?

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3 buses at once

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008 | tags: , , ,  |

Waiting in the cold March night air at a crowded bus stop…

Ottowan: I’ve learned so much from you British
Wendy: give an example?
Ottowan: how complaining can be used anywhere, anytime, to entertain complete strangers, like at a bus stop where you’re waiting 30 minutes for buses that are sKeduled to turn up every 8 mins
Wendy: nods, giggles, “look, there are 3 buses coming now” and 3 buses did indeed arrive together

Does this count as a good commute story?

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apologising with aplomb

Sunday, January 20th, 2008 | tags: , , ,  |

Apologies are used in a subtly different way here in the UK than   in the NW  US.   This bus uses a lively exclamation mark.   It feels  more like a cheerful announcement than  a humble  seeking of forgiveness.   I don’t recall the word sorry used in this cheerful way as frequently in the NW US  as in the UK.

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house names

Sunday, January 13th, 2008 | tags: , , ,  |

Halifax House names survey 2003 doesn’t include The Wendy House.

Kent Junior School claim that the tradition of naming houses was introduced by Landed gentry and subsequently copied by peasants.

Here are the top 5 names for UK houses according to the Halifax in 2003:

1. The Cottage
2. Rose Cottage
3. The Bungalow
4. The Coach House
5. Orchard House

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queues (US = lines)

Sunday, December 16th, 2007 | tags:  |

Text-messaging is probably popular here because  its a way of having fun with friends without using too much cell phone battery while you’re in a queue.   In   just one one day I queued for a cumulative total of 2 years, 3 months, 1 week,   8 hours,   24 minutes and 7 seconds  at:

  1. after-party London fancy hotel, because I’m worth it,  check-out
  2. London Underground ticket-issuing machine,   because I’m really Joe Public
  3. British Rail Ticket office, because I haven’t yet queued enough today
  4. Letting agency office, because I was  just a would-be renter.
  5. NatWest counter who cashed my  cheque to pay my first months rent but they  directed me to another queue to take my a standing order
  6. NatWest information to set-up a standing so that it pays automatically in future
  7. Marks & Spencers public loos, ladies,   restrooms,  toilets, washrooms,   because I really can’t decide what to call them and have lost the ability to say TOILET in public or LOO,   really,   I go all pink and start inspecting the top of  my shoes.
  8. Bar.   Apparantly this bar staff  found out that a 3 foot bar can render me invisible.   Sigh.   Luckily,   fellows  on the customer side of the bar noticed my little queue-bashed-face and pointed the bar-staff over to sort me out before a I subjected everyone to a wreckless outbreak of public blubbing.

It feels like  UK systems maximise having people stand in queues awaiting their service distribution.   This is very economical for the service provider in terms of cost,   they under-staff and turnover remains high.   British consumers appear very patient with this approach to providing them with service.    I’d much rather the services provided adequate staffing to ensure that, as a customer, I do not have to plan for standing in a queue…..    

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Saturday, December 15th, 2007 | tags: , , ,  |

During a rather unrare  planningy moment:

Spanish person:   you’ll need your passport number to complete this form

Wendy:   will an out of date passport number work?

Spanish person:   I don’t know. They accept other documents

Wendy:   My Birth certificate?

Spanish person:   No,     it has to be a UK Birth Certificate

Wendy:   It is,   I’m born and bred in England!

Over a lunch of chicken and chips with lashings of vinegar:

Someone from the Colonies (don’t know which):   Are you Australian?   I can hear an accent

Wendy:   I’m English

SFTC(DKW): but you’ve lived abroad for sometime?

Wendy:   Yes,   8 years in the US,   but its probably my regional English accent that you’re hearing

Over a disturbingly small cup of tea:

New Zealander:   I can hear your American intonation

Wendy:     that’s actually  my English regional accent intonation

New Zealander:   (immitates raising voice-pitch towards end of sentence)

Wendy:   That’s right,   Bristolians raise their voice towards the end of a sentence,   well spotted!   (I squeaked the last bit in a higher pitch)

I don’t think I convinced anyone.   Maybe I’ve been colonyised?

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