05 July 2012

British Bits (Non-Dirty Version)

So I've been saving little bits I've come across in my British life and tucked them away for a rainy day when I didn't have much else to write about. Since it's been monsoon weather for the last forever days, the “rainy day” analogy is quite apt. Also, since it's been raining (and raining and raining and fuck me it's never going to be summer again) and we haven't done anything more than look mournfully out the window wondering if the sun still actually exists, I think it's time I whipped these bits out. That sounded dirty. Heh.

As a quick side note: Seeing as my peoples in Wisconsin are suffering through 100+ temps with humidity, this is all I'm going to say about the rain* we've been having (rainy-est summer since 1910!). I will forever trade 'never feeling dry again' to 'sweating my tits off while never feeling dry again'.

BRITISH BIT #1: The Milk Man

From my understanding, you can still get milk delivered to your door 1950's style in the States. I personally have never seen such services advertised, nor have I seen any deliveries around the neighborhood in the States, nor do I know any milkmen, save the dead kind (punk joke). I hear it's still done though so if you are interested, I'd start doing some web searches. Here in England, milk delivery is certainly not as popular as it was 50 years ago, but it's still going at a fair pace. We have some elderlies who live next door to us who get their milk delivered so every few days one of these pulls up outside:

This is called a 'milk float'. I don't know why. It's an electric powered vehicle (like a golf cart or Duffy boat) and I think the top speed is something like 20 mph. You see, if you are delivering milk at the ass crack of dawn, you need a quiet motor. It's also an open setup so the milkman can get the milk easily without a noisy door opening and closing all the time. This also means that if you are crafty enough, you can nick yourself a bottle.

I Do Not Condone the Nicking of Milk...I'm just saying, you know, in general.

Seriously though, I have never stolen milk. I stole a singing, jiggling, light up spider from Target once when I was 16, but never milk off a milk float.

BRITISH BIT #2: Informative AA signs

Before Beth asks (and I know she will after seeing the picture), the AA is the British Motoring Association. Basically, it's the UK version of AAA (Pronounced to the non-Yanks as 'triple-a'). There isn't a single person in the UK over the age of 25 (including those who do not drive) who do not have a waiting for the AA tow truck story to tell you. You could probably get that story from them two years before you get their first name so you know, it's something to start a conversation with anyhow.

Unlike the States, in the UK, it appears that the AA has full right to put up legal road signs directing one to attractions they think drivers might be interested in. For example:

I like to think of it as driving along the I-5 in LA to see proper road sign telling me that 'Stan's Medical Marijuana is 2 miles, next left'.

BRITISH BIT #3: You tell me what 24 hours means

Ah Tesco...open 24 hours except on the weekend when, you know, it might actually be useful.

BRITISH BIT #4: The after effects of rain can be pretty

I took this from our back patio (sorry, back garden)(there is no plants or grass in our garden, it's just concrete so I don't know why I have to call it a 'garden') after we've had a bit of rain (ha ha...it's always raining). I liked this picture a lot, so I modified it to have a fancy frame so you can tell me how awesome my photography is. It obviously didn't look as impressive without the frame. See if you can spot the magical fairies!

Just kidding, there are no magical fairies in this photo. It's still pretty though, right?

BRITISH BIT #5: Tequila

Even though the weather has said otherwise, it is technically summer. When it turns summer, an old girl's thoughts turn to margaritas. You thought I'd say strappy shoes and light salad dressing didn't you? You didn't? Oh, bless you, you are starting to know me. Finding a place that serves margaritas is, well, difficult. When you do find a place that sell them, they are overpriced and never taste quite like the ones back home. Not knowing how to make a margarita is, quite frankly, appalling. Next the barmen here will tell me they don't know how to make a Harvey Wallbanger or a Monkey Gland. However, the overpriced bit, well, I kind of understand.

Below are the prices for the smallest (50cl or 16 oz) bottles of tequila. Oh, who am I kidding? In 3 stores, this was ALL they had for tequila. If you went for the cheapest bottle there, you'd still be paying $16.50 for it. That bottle of Jager? $28 US dollars. Thank god I'm not 19 anymore or I'd be really bummed about that.

On the upside, if I was 19 I'd be happily enjoying these WKD, commonly known as 'alcopops'. My 19 year old self – holding a sad looking, heartburn inducing wine cooler in my hand – is jealous. My 38 year old self is appalled at the youth of today.

BRITISH BIT #6: Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah

If you are an anglophile you probably already know of HP Sauce. You probably have a bottle of it in your fridge right now, bought from the Cost Plus World Market saved for those rare times you pick up a couple of Cumberland sausages from the specialty butcher. Hey, I'm not making fun of you – I WAS you. You probably also love Guinness because there is a rare anglophile that doesn't. Well Anglophile, this is for you. Actually, it's not for you because you don't live here. Ha ha ha ha ha!!! Don't get too depressed, I'm sure you got to wear shorts sometime this year already.

BRITISH BIT #7: This is fucked up in any country

When I'm in Liverpool One wasting time with Henry, we always end up going to John Lewis at some point because they have, hands down, the best toilets. That is to say that they have a lot of toilets and many of them are big enough to fit myself and Henry's stroller in. I rarely buy anything at John Lewis – even though I really love their shit – because it's expensive. I once bought something there on sale for 4 pounds and twice I bought FUCKING HELL, HOW MUCH? pajamas for Henry because I couldn't find any other place that had footy pajamas with zippers (I know, right?) even though I fucking looked (I paid 18 pounds ($28) for a single pair of pajamas – and we used the SHIT out of them, I made sure of it). What I'm trying to say is, John Lewis is great if you are the type that has extra money that you're not really doing anything else with. If I was rich, I'd shop at John Lewis all the time. I would not, however, pay 225 pounds ($350) for a trash can.

Don't believe me? Here's the close up:

When I walked through and saw this, I stopped to examine the bin. Was it automatic? No. Did it self clean? No. Did it come with a butler service to empty it for you every day? Sadly no. It is a metal trash bin with a non-slip base. Apparently it has a 5 year guarantee. Whoop-fucking-dee. For that price it ought to be big enough to hide in in the event of a nuclear war.

So that's what I've got for you this week. Oh, apparently a 'somersault' is called a 'roly-poly' here.

*I still ended up complaining more about the weather. Go figure.


  1. My in-laws get milk delivered. It is so weird to me. They are in Newcastle though and, well, it isn't the most forward city on Earth.

    And I never understand the lack of footed pajamas with zippers over there. As in, I never found them at all. I hated it!

    1. I am so glad I'm not the only one who couldn't find footed pj's with zippers here! Sometimes you think there must be this secret place that has them but you just weren't persistent enough to find them. Now I feel justified in my expensive JL purchase as well as forcing my relatives to send me Carter's pj's from the States.

  2. $350 for a trash can?!!!! Holy cow!!! And I thought the simplehuman trash cans were expensive at $100! I think I remember buying something maybe once in my life at John Lewis. Oh, twice - my brother had his wedding list there.

    Margaritas and daiquiris were novelties for my family when they visited us here in the US. DH has introduced me to Silver Patrón tequila and 23 year-old Ron Zacapa - smoooooth! Will have to brig my own bottles with me when we visit the UK I think. I bet he would like the Guinness HP sauce!

    We have a local milk delivery service, but you have to leave a cooler out on the front doorstep because they deliver in the middle of the day and the milk costs something like $5/gallon.

    1. AA: Yeah, I still don't get the trash can thing and I even did a bit of research on that bin after I posted this. There is still nothing special about it but it's apparently very popular. I'm thinking with the Million Dollar set. "It's expensive! It must be good!"

      My sister is coming to visit next month. I will force her to bring tequila in her bag from the duty free...and cigarettes. She doesn't need anything in her carry on for a 12 hour flight, right?

      I will list you as having all the knowledge on milk delivery service in the States then. ;-)

  3. OH MY GOD! The spiders!!!! Ha ha ha! It think that was the only time I have "nicked" something as well. What a night. Did we partake in those heartburn inducing drinks? Maddog? Or were we just being stupid kids?

    I think tequila is way better too. Too bad it is too expensive for you. Let me know if you still want footie pjs and what size. Thomas may have a bunch to share.

    24 hours but not on the weekend? What about late night drunk munchies? They are really missing out on that money maker. By the way, what is the dollar cost for the gas? I am too lazy to figure it out myself. :)


    1. BH: Of COURSE we partook in those drinks...Mad Dog 20/20 and Sun Country Wine Cooler (2 liters) were the big ones I remember. Plus the cheap beer...there was always cheap beer.

      We are currently getting plenty use out of those Snoopy pjs you sent (Snoopy-like). He's wearing them now actually. I will definitely let you know.

      I know..the Sunday hours are what suck the most. It's usually 4:30 PM (while I'm making dinner)on Sunday that I realize that I've forgotten something and oh shit, the store is closed already.

      As for the gas prices - the price you see is per liter...and a UK gallon is smaller than a US gallon. BUT, I asked the math whiz sitting next to me to calculate it for us and it works out to $7.70 per US gallon. So don't you be bitching about $4 a gallon where you are!

  4. These are good bits!!!

    When I worked in Bristol, I would pass an AA sign for 'Lady Boys of Bangkok'. I had no idea what that was and I was way too embarrassed to ask. Then I saw them on 'An Idiot Abroad'. Not sure it was appropriate for AA to advertise them.

    I know someone who gets milk delivered in Manchester and it always gets nicked.

    And Tesco...you could do a whole post about them! There was one in Dublin with the same 24 hour schedule. My favorite thing that they do is tell you something is on sale and the advertised sale price is higher than the advertised original price. They're notorious for that one!

    Oh, and I know someone who spent over 100 quid for a toaster from JL. I thought this was totally ridiculous, they thought it was completely normal. I guess I just don't feel the same way about toast.

    1. Kim: Glad you enjoyed my bits (non-dirty). ;-)

      I am honestly shocked that they had a 'lady boys of bangkok' sign! Though, after being in Cardiff and having the Lady Boys have a gigantic tent set up for the Queen's Jubilee, well, I suppose anything goes.

      I could do a whole post about Tesco. I would start with them not letting me not-buy a stuffed animal I had given Henry briefly to entertain him because he chewed on the price tag. You could still read the fucking bar code. But, you know, WHAT EVER.

      100 quid for a toaster? I hope it burnt daily affirmations on the toast for that price.

    2. Isn't it 24 hours for the petrol? and then the shop has seperate hours?

    3. Ian: I'm pretty sure the store is open those hours. Couldn't say about the petrol as there is always too long of a queue to actually go there.

  5. I stumbled across your blog while I was trying to decide whether to move back to Liverpool & thought f@#k it I'll let the internet decide. Funniest thing I've read in ages, I may even take the family cheese rolling next year. Kay

    1. Kay: Glad to be of service! Cheese rolling is a definite must if you have the chance. Just watch out for wayward cheese rollers. Might be a good idea to wear a helmet if you have one handy.

      If you do move back to Liverpool, make sure to bring your umbrella.

  6. Whoa! What's with all the hate on JL!? I love it! I confess our toaster was over the £100 mark. And the bin might have been similar. But I have stolen so much milk over the years that I can afford it.

    1. No hating on JL! I like JL even if I can't afford to buy anything there. But seriously, 225 quid for a bin? That's silly.