26 January 2012


So because I didn’t do much of consequence this past week besides getting the flu (damn you English weather!), I thought I’d give you a Beth post. If you’ve been reading for any length of time you know a Beth post is one in which I describe a something that is particularly British. These posts are to make her feel both guilty and grateful that she hasn’t come to visit me yet. They might also be my little way of swinging some knowledge around because heaven knows I have precious little of that to swing. Unless of course you want to know how to knit a scarf using the knit stitch; I’m a goddamn expert on that. I can’t purl stitch and I can’t knit anything but scarves but seriously…I’m really really good at it.

I could make you one of these in my sleep.

So yes! Today’s Beth post is about the very traditional British Sunday Roast Dinner. I’m only remembering to post something about this as I was just at one this past Sunday. Because I don’t have enough knowledge to swing about to tell you about the history of the Sunday Roast Dinner (SRD henceforth), I can only tell you what I know about it now.

As the name suggests, SRD is held on Thursday. Oh, ha ha. Yes, it’s on SUNDAY. From my experience, SRD occur after church, are attended by as many family members that are available, are usually held in a pub, and are reserved for special occasions such as birthdays, Easter, birth of a child, a new hair transplant, or because Jamie is going to Chester for 3 days and we don’t know if we’ll ever see him again. I’m sure that SRD happen weekly in some families and that some families cook their SRD at home. I’ve yet to see this though so I can’t tell you for sure.

SRD...not usually served with entertainment, or with blood in your gravy.

Almost every pub that serves food and is considered a family pub (ie: children are allowed in until 7 PM) will serve SRD on Sunday. The menu rarely varies. You get your choice of chicken, ham or beef served with roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, peas\broccoli\beans, carrots and cabbage. The whole lot is covered in gravy. It sounds filling (which it is) but it’s amazing how much of it you can put down if you don’t eat the vile cabbage.

Just push the cabbage onto a separate plate.  Might as well do the carrots too.

The first time I was invited out for SRD was about three weeks after we first moved here. It wasn’t described to me as SRD; it was simply, “we’re meeting the family for lunch”. Now, I don’t know how your family goes out to eat in restaurant – especially in regards to lunch. I know my family is pretty impatient and will quickly run out of things to talk about so we tend to be in and out of places within an hour. My first SRD though…shit, it took us an hour to order. It then took at least 40 minutes for the food to arrive, 20 minutes to eat it all and another hour to order dessert and coffee and finally decide to leave. I’ve noticed that SRD on average will run you 3 to 3 ½ hours. What’s funny though, it never SEEMS like it’s that long as the conversation (at least with Andy’s family) flows really well.

What the best thing about a British SRD? Nobody gives you the stink eye when you order dessert. Nobody feels the urge to tell you how many calories you are consuming with that dessert. Best of all, you won’t be the only one ordering dessert and you certainly won’t be the person to suggest having dessert. (For Beth: In the north of England, dessert is called ‘pudding’. It doesn’t matter if you are having pudding or not (pudding as we know it is called custard anyhow) – it could be cake or a lemon tart – it’s all called ‘pudding’. So at the end of the meal someone will say, “Well I’m having a ‘pud’ – anyone else?”). Also, no matter what dessert you order you will always be offered either a scoop of ice cream or custard with it. I highly suggest the custard, unless it’s the chocolate fudge cake, then the ice cream is much preferable. I KNOW WAY TOO MUCH ABOUT THE DESSERTS HERE.

Never underestimate the deliciousness of custard.

For the record, if you are ever at Sunday Roast Dinner, don’t feel obligated to actually have the traditional Sunday Roast. Have the lasagna. Have the All Day Full English Breakfast. Have a sandwich. It doesn’t matter. You just have to eat.


BTW, its two weeks until my anniversary post and I’ve yet to get any suggestions on what you’d like to read. I was thinking about doing a daily sausage taste test but then I made myself sick thinking about eating all those sausages (dirty!). Seriously, if you don’t come up with anything, I’m just going to post a picture of my butt and trust me, NO ONE WANTS TO SEE THAT.

19 January 2012

Snapshots from a post that never was

So Andy won’t let me go to Lithuania. We were talking about our trip to Spain and how great it was that we got cigarettes at a fraction of the cost. He then mentioned that he was trying to work out if it was worth it to go to Spain again to get more cigarettes at some point. I said surely Poland would have cheaper cigarettes and that I was more than willing to go for a night to get some. Andy laughed at me. After researching it a bit, I found that not only does Lithuania have even cheaper cigarettes than Poland, there’s a round trip flight from Liverpool for only £40. A night in a hostel is only £10! If I bought six cartons of cigarettes, that’s still a savings of £100.

I turn to Andy and say, “So, shall I book it?”

“Yeah, right.”

“Waaa, why not?”

“Do you even know the capital of Lithuania?”

“Do you?”


“So, shall I book it?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Why not?”

“Because I wouldn’t get to go.”

“So? Do you even want to go to Lithuania?”

“Do you?”


“Well, so do I.”


Lithuania: You and I shall never meet.


I’ve been thinking about kosher dill pickles a lot. Of all the things I miss about America, kosher dill pickles are one of the biggest miss. This is simply because unlike most other things I miss, I can’t pimp my family and friends out from the States to send me some. They are considered produce and are forbidden by Customs. Such is my yearning for kosher dill pickles I have even considered spending the £3.37 (plus additional shipping) to have some. I know it’s insane. But so is having a turkey sandwich or a grilled cheeseburger without pickles.

Before you chastise me and say that I can in fact get kosher dill pickles in the UK at any major grocery food chain, let me correct you and tell you I cannot. While you can purchase many a jar (or can) of pickles that say “kosher dill” on them here (which I have), there is not a one of them that doesn’t contain sugar. Not that I’m against sugar. I love sugar. I just don’t like them in my pickles. Seriously, sweet pickles are just gross. I’ve actually made myself sick before from having a (proper) kosher dill pickle and following it up with a sweet grape.

I have dreams about you.


As you may remember from my ‘X’ post awhile back, I have vehemently refused to sign anything with an ‘X’ for the entire time that I have been in England. For the sake of being honest, I must admit that I have finally broken down and sent not one, but two texts to a friend and signed them with an ‘X’. It felt weird, and no I didn’t want to make out with her. I simply did it because this particular woman is one of those horribly sweet and kind ladies that you wonder why in the world they’d want to hang out with a cold-hearted bitch like myself. What mystifies me even further is how well I get along with this wonderfully sweet and kind woman, even as I’m holding myself back from releasing the f-bomb during our conversations and asking if she’d like to do shots.

Anyhow, this particular friend is moving away from the area (Is it me? Don’t answer that) and we were texting back and forth last night with general chit chat. As she signs every single one of her texts with an ‘X’, the guilt of it all finally got to me. Like I said, I felt weird doing it – I felt like a phony really – but I did it. But don’t any of you fuckers think I’m going to pull that shit again.

Want to do some shots?

No?  More for me then.


So my one year anniversary of living in England is coming up in the next couple of weeks. I’m taking suggestions on what kind of anniversary post you’d like to read. Would you like more cultural differences? British products? A general reflection? Pros and Cons? “If I was a real Brit I’d…”? Leave me a comment and let me know. I’m open to other suggestions as well. Sadly, there is no way to have fireworks shoot out when you open that post. Well, I’m sure there is, but seriously, have you seen the price of fireworks recently?

14 January 2012

MISSING: The Toilet Seats in Malaga

So as Liz correctly guessed, Andy and I went to Malaga, Spain this past week. It was our two year anniversary so by my math, the one year anniversary is Get Too Caught Up In Moving Abroad That You Completely Forget That It’s Your Anniversary (to replace Paper) and the 2nd year anniversary is Find The Cheapest Flight To Anywhere Warm Just To Get Away From Your Non-Sleeping Kid Even Though You Still Can’t Actually Afford The Expense (to replace Cotton).

By all accounts, I wanted to not like Spain very much. This is solely due to some repressed teenage angst I have against my mother who thinks Spain is the best country in the world (besides the US of course - she’s very patriotic) and who has a fetish for speaking Spanish at any opportunity. I was going to call this post “If my mother calls it ‘Espana’ one more time…”. But I’ve been there now and I found the current post title a bit more apt and dammit, I loved Spain very very much. Grrrr….mother.

One thing my mother asked, as well as Vegemite Wife, was why we only went to Spain for two days. The very simple answer is that we have a very small child. Even the greatest of nanas can only tolerate watching very small children for a short amount of time. Would I have liked to stay a week? You betcha. Could we have stayed a week without worry that Henry would be dropped at the nearest charity shop after Day 3? Not so much. Until the Henbot is able to be reasonable (I’m thinking this will occur around 300 months), we will have to continue to do short trips. Grrr….babies.

So yes! Spain! I could go through our entire itinerary but that would bore both you and me to death, so instead I will just do sections. For example:


Andy and I actually both had a bit of a tough time dining in Spain. Andy is a vegetarian and I don’t eat fish. Being on the sea, most of Spain is known for their seafood which was completely lost on us. We were also trying to keep our costs down so we never went anywhere upscale that might have had more options for us. The long and short of it is, we ate A LOT of cheese sandwiches. Well Andy did. I also had some meat based tapas, roasted almonds, chocolate and churros, spaghetti, chicken baguettes, pancetta, and some tacos from Taco Bell because it’s been so damn long since I had Taco Bell.

Andy had potatoes.  Because he had to.

Quick note about Taco Bell – I might have been drinking a bit when I went in (which I think is the only true reason why Taco Bell stays in business) and I had it in my head that because it was Taco Bell and Taco Bell was American, surely I could walk in and say, “Two crunchy tacos please” and the cashier would know exactly what I was saying. As it was, there was a lot of pointing and “que?” and I don’t know the Spanish phrase for “to go” (or “take away”) and I got soft tacos instead of crunchy ones and they weren’t ANYTHING like the tacos in the States but I ate them and liked them because I may have been drinking. Also, a burrito is going to run you 5 Euros ($6.33) but a taco is only a single Euro ($1.26).

I do want it known that I desperately wanted to try paella. They have meat based paella and vegetarian paella at some places. Of course when the opportunity arose itself and I ordered it, I was told “finito” (all gone). Damn it!

Churros con chocolate

My final thoughts on the food:

The Spanish make the best coffee I’ve ever had.

And the sugar packets were huge!

If you go hungry while you are drinking, you are doing something wrong as they give you snacks with every drink.

If you are in Malaga and you want a cheap and fresh and absolutely tasty food option, hit the Ataranzas Market before 1 PM. They have meat, cheese, bread, fresh produce, fish (ew) and snacks.

What great bananas you have!

Pick a cheese, any cheese



I can’t say I did much research before we got to Malaga. What little searching I did, I came up with 4 things that I thought might be interesting to see. The first was the Ataranzas Market as mentioned above. The others were the Picasso museum, the old Roman Theater, and the beach. I don’t have any interesting stories to tell about these places (its tourist shit after all) but here are the pictures to prove we did it.

Picasso Museum.  You couldn't take photos of the art itself, so just pretend my nose is hanging out of my ear

Roman Theater.  Something with Jim Carey was on so we decided to skip it.

Andy fucking around on the tire swing on the beach.  It was awesome.

El Dorkus Malokus en la playa

No idea what this is, but it's pretty.

Still no idea.


Another reason why we chose Malaga besides the cheap plane tickets is because we knew that the prices on drinks were also relatively inexpensive. On average, a large San Miguel ran about 2.50-3 Euros. Sangria was also the same price. A heavy handed pour cocktail of any kind was 4-5 Euros.


You know in all movies and TV shows, when someone goes into a bar and orders a beer, the bartender never asks what type of beer they want? That totally happens in Spain. The first place we went into we said, “cerveza?” The waiter said, “beer? OK.” That was it. At many places we went to, if you order beer, you get San Miguel.

Wish you were here.  Hell, which I was still here.

If you are in Malaga, I recommend going to the Antiguo Casa de Guardia which is the oldest bar in Malaga (1840). They have a long line of wooden casks of different type of sweet wines and sherries (which Malaga is known for) and you can get a taste of any of them for around 2-3 Euros.

Note: You may not want to show up here half in the bag at closing time.  Just so you know.


I wrote on Facebook while I was there that “High School Spanish is failing me.” I took Spanish for approximately two years in school and never achieved more than a C grade at it. While we got by OK while we were there, there were some definite frustrations and humor trying to communicate.

On the second night my guts revolted on me. It might have been all the booze or rich food or whatever but my guts expanded to that of a Goodyear blimp. We went into a pharmacy where I gently asked, “hablo ingles?” The lady behind the counter shook her head no and I looked at Andy with desperate eyes. I looked back at the lady and did this impression of a dead person holding their stomach with their tongue hanging out. She responded with an impression of someone rubbing their belly while eating something sour. I nodded eagerly. She went and got a packet of some pills then did an impression of an Oompa-Loompa – cheeks puffed out while waving her arms around to signal a huge gut. Yes! Thank you pharmacy lady, I have too much gas! I could have kissed her.

When you want to wash your fine linens with your ass.

During that same bad gut episode, we were walking around searching for a toilet in which I could…well, I don’t have give you details now do I? Every place we went into, the toilet seat in the ladies room was missing. We went into 5 different places before finding one that was so posh it had a seat on the toilet. It hadn’t occurred to me previously because I hadn’t the absolute need to sit down before, but many of the toilet seats in the ladies rooms were missing in Malaga. Many times, the men’s toilet had one, but the ladies did not. Andy and I were convinced that there was a Ladies Toilet Seat thief on the loose in the area. It was probably in the papers but my Spanish is so bad (muy mal!) that I wouldn’t be able to read it.

 No, YOU'RE El Pimpi.

 Andy and the missing tambourine.

"What do you mean we have to go home?  What is this small child that you speak of?"

09 January 2012

Getting away

There's no proper post this week as we're finally taking a well deserved break from the man child.  We're going here: 

I'll give you a buck if you can name the city and country this is.   OK, that's a total lie.  After this vacation, we won't have any bucks leftover to give.  Plus, I work in pounds now bitches.   But hey, it's still fun to guess.  No cheating Facebook friends.

02 January 2012

The Tale of Two Intoxications

So due to Beth’s most recent comment on my last post, I felt a bit obliged to tell the tale of my Boxing Day shenanigans. This also inspired me to tell you about my New Years where I also got horrifically intoxicated. Having said that, I have to tell the stories in chronological order and the Boxing Day explanation is a slightly more interesting read than New Years so you’ll have to read this with the knowing that I’m giving you your dessert before your kidney beans so to speak.

But before I do that, I have to address the other question that Beth posed which is to explain what this whole business with the paper hats at Christmas is. This might bore people who are very familiar with paper hats at Christmas but because Beth is my very best friend who is learning all about British culture from the worst possible source (read: me) I feel I owe it to her. Was that a run-on sentence? I think it was.

So yes! The Brits wear paper hats at Christmas. I’ve heard from many sources that they also wear paper hats at other festive occasions (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) but I have yet to witness this first hand so I assume it is mostly a Christmas thing. I did a bit of research on the subject (ha ha! I did a Google search when I was half in the bag on New Years and clicked the first link) and the source of the hat thing apparently goes back to Roman Saturnalia where they wore hats or it could be because of the Twelfth Night thing when the king and queen overlooked the whole proceedings – basically no one really knows, they’ve just been doing it for forever. You can’t blame them though. We Americans have many nonsense traditions that we blindly follow year after year without questioning. I mean, we expect candy to be thrown from parade floats, we don’t question why. Anyhow, paper hats are always contained in the famous Christmas cracker.

A Christmas Cracker: You can put cheese on it but I can't verify how good it would taste.

The cracker will usually include a groaner joke, the paper hat, and some little trinket toy (like a mini magnifying glass or a tiny pad of paper) which you will marvel at for approximately 5 seconds before you try to sneak away and throw it in the trash before the person who bought said cracker sees you. I personally love the paper hats. Ever since I heard of their existence 8 years ago I have added them to my Christmas holiday and enforce those around me to do the same. Here’s Christmas 2007 as proof:

A California Christmas with the folks.

OK then, the debauchery stories. The first one is Boxing Day. For Beth again, Boxing Day is the day after Christmas and is also a legal holiday that everyone gets off. I guess back in the day, it was the day when people would box up gifts to give to their servants. Since nobody has servants anymore besides the queen, it is now simply an extra day to do the things that you wanted to do on Christmas but couldn’t because you were obligated to spend the day with family. Ha ha.

Because my mother-in-law is incredibly awesome, she had offered to take Henry for the night on Boxing Day. She does this, in her words, so that we can get some rest. In our defense, we really did want to rest on Boxing Day. The plan was to watch a bit of television, order some Chinese delivery, go out for a couple drinks, then be back home in bed by 10 PM. Everything was going swimmingly until the Chinese delivery portion came up.

I had placed an order on Just Eat for the Chinese place that we always go to. They accepted our order and stated that it would be 45 minutes until the food arrived. An hour and a half later, the food still hadn’t come. We called the place up but they weren’t answering their phone. I went back on Just Eat only to discover that the Chinese place had now declared their restaurant closed for the night and weren’t accepting orders. Basically, we were not at any point going to get our food.

With nothing in the house, we decided to go out to the Penny Lane Wine Bar which usually serves food. Of course, upon arrival, they weren’t serving any food but we decided to have a drink there before we continued our search. I suppose I should clarify to say ‘my search’ as Andy had already given up that we were going to be eating anytime in the near future.

The night wore on. We continued to walk pub to pub having a drink in each. I will admit that there finally came that magical time in a drinking session where food just didn’t seem important anymore and I announced that the little bag of peanuts would be quite enough to “fill me up”.

At the last pub we ventured into it was incredibly packed so we asked these too older women in their 70’s if we could possibly share their table. They agreed and we soon struck up a conversation. The two women seemed to know quite a few people in the pub and I was amazed that every 20 minutes or so, a younger man would come over with a fresh rounds of drinks for them – including shots. The women had mentioned that although the shots brought were nice, Slippery Nipples were ‘lush’ which of course prompted me to buy a round of them for the table. One mere Slippery Nipple later and I’m drunk texting the world. If tequila makes me dance, and whiskey makes me both chatty and tearful, then Sambuca makes me want to tell the world how precisely hammered I am.

It was shortly after said shot that we thought it best that we head home. I did end up making a box of macaroni and cheese despite stern Welsh warnings that you should never drink and cook.

Now on to New Years… We had decided to stay over at Andy’s mum’s house on New Years so that she could watch Henry while he slept and we went out. We had no intentions of going into Liverpool and planned just to stay and drink in the New Year at a little pub in Crosby.

I had told Andy that I wanted to get to the pub by 8 PM so that we could get a table. Andy laughed at me and said that would never happen- that it would be too packed by that time. When we arrived there at 7:30 PM the place was practically dead. We found a table in the corner and quite peacefully drank there until midnight having a lovely conversation and a bit of a debate about religion. The pub never got properly busy and I was really disappointed that when midnight struck, nobody was at all bothered. There were no streamers, or hats, or horns and definitely no champagne. I, having had quite a few double vodkas at this point, did a very obnoxious American thing by yelling “5! 4! 3! 2! 1!” with the countdown which only produced a few annoyed looks by the locals. We decided to move on.

In all fairness, there was quite a bit of commotion going on outside in the village center and I saw a bit of streamer debris on the sidewalk. Basically, we missed the party in our quest for a quieter pub. We popped into a more lively bar for one last drink and I again made an ass out of myself by trying to request dance-y songs to the DJ.

“Can you play Blue Monday?” (which probably came out, “canna you plaaaay boo monda?”

“I already played that 3 times tonight.”

“How about Dee-Lite?”

“Played 2 times already.”

“uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh, Wombats! Play Wombats! Dance Joy Division!” (It’s ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’ but I was hammered)

“Yeah, OK.”

So we danced to our Wombats song, downed our drink and got some food at the chippy to end our evening. Hello 2012!