Saturday, September 15, 2018

What We’ve Learned

Bits and pieces of what we have seen and learned during our time in England and Wales:

The Brits sure do love their dogs. Many stores and almost all tourist sites have a dog water bowl outside the front door. We have seen signs saying "good mannered dogs welcome here" and "Good mannered dogs are welcome, poor mannered children are not." Walking down a crowded street can be a challenge. It seems every person, couple or group has at least one dog, often more. People carry them or lead them through museums and other tourist places. Many restaurants and cafes have outdoor seating and dogs are often seen there. We don't mind dogs but in many ways I think there are places they belong and places where they shouldn't be.

If I ever see a duvet after we leave England, it may be too soon. Every bed we have slept in since arriving here July 24 has had a duvet and a bottom sheet but no top sheet under the duvet. That means I either sleep with no covers or under a fairly heavy duvet. Since I am often too hot at night, especially when there is no air conditioning available, this doesn't make me happy. I do admit it is easier to make the bed in the morning when there is a duvet. But that doesn't make for better a night's sleep.

I wonder if a large number of people have been electrocuted in bathrooms in this country. Switches for bathroom lights are on the wall outside the bathroom. The only electrical outlet in the bathrooms is for shavers only. I wonder where women use curling irons and hair dryers. In addition, each electrical outlet is switch controlled, including the outlets for stoves and refrigerators.

Every person we have asked for help has been extremely helpful and friendly. A policeman and a shop keeper have walked outside and down the sidewalk to show us how to reach our destination. People working in stores and bar tenders and waitresses have asked us where we are from. A good number of them have been to America and often they know about Colorado's mountains. On the other hand, when we walk down the street, Brits don't make eye contact. They are like big city dwellers in the US, each in their private space, not interacting with others they pass.

We have an accent? Texans and people from the South and those from England and Australia have accents. Those of us from Colorado and the West and Midwest don't have accents, do we? People here think we do. When we tell people we are from the US, they say they knew it from the accent. All we have to do is open our mouth and say 3 or 4 words and they know we don't live in England. We couldn't keep it a secret, even if we wanted to.

Today we saw a sign saying CCTV cameras were in operation and "fly tipping will be prosecuted." We had to know, what is fly tipping?. We asked a passing man what it meant. It is dumping your trash in someone else's trash container.

When we comment on the weather, "it sure is cold out today," several peoples responded, "it's fresh." We finally decided that is a statement by Brits who are trying to have a positive attitude about the cool, wet weather. On the other hand, on the TV weather reports, fresh means there will be less humidity.
They are also realistic about the weather. It is possible to see, in one block, people wearing wood stocking caps and down coats and other people in shorts and a t-shirt. And that is in August at sea level, but not at the sea shore.

Do you know what a hob is? It's a stove.
A bap? That's a roll, like ham roll or cheese roll.
Ramps are speed bumps
Boot sale is a garage or yard sale but out of the boot or trunk of a car. People in an area come to a common place, open the boot and offer things for sale.
Our GPS—purchased in England—tells us to "cross the round-about and go straight on."
"At the end of the road" means when a road ends turn right or left.
"Caution, oncoming vehicles in the middle of the road" is a really scary sign on a 1-lane road.
Swedes are turnips
A diversion is a detour
Lorries are trucks
Works access only means construction access

There are people everywhere! Tourists, locals, office workers, students. For a while I thought we were just picking very popular places to go. Finally, I checked some statistics: the population density of England is 395 people per square kilometer. That translates to 153 per square mile. In contrast, Colorado's density is 52 people per square mile and Arizona's is 45 people a square mile. No wonder we feel overwhelmed when we go out!

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