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.