06 February 2011

'Fictional Flourish' and Other Whatnots

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

[image: Pinterest]

I recently heard 'fictional flourish' as a colorful way to say 'exaggerated'. Isn't that wonderful? There is constant word play going on by the English. They use words I haven't seen since studying for the GRE (and many are simply new to me). 

As a follow up to my post in September, Lists & Doodles, here is my current list of things I find different here: 

* There are no drive-thrus. Of any kind

* 'Squash' is a term for fruit juice, not the vegetable

* Christmas cards with your family's photo on it appears self-centered. Note to self, stick with generic cards from the store

* Kiss friends on both cheeks in greeting. Be sure to start on the correct side to avoid that awkward moment

* You have not driven into the valet section of the parking lot when you see cars 'backed in'. Although a tricky maneuver, it is easier to pull out of small parking spaces when leaving

* Using a different system, my shoe size is 3 numbers smaller while my dress size is 2 numbers bigger (bummer!)

* The English have an amazing amount of patience when it comes to queuing. They can stand in a slow, long line without a single rolled-eye, sigh, or frustrated comment to their neighbor. To quote the 80s show, 'That's Incredible!'

* 'Tea leaves' is cockney for 'thieves'. Other good sayings include 'gutted', 'poppet', and 'I don't mind'

In a local cafe

I haven't been an anglophile since my high school days, but I think I am turning into one :)


Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

The nice thing about queueing is chatting to my neighbours about how interminably loooong the queue is!!

I'm wondering about the kissing on both cheeks thang. I do have some friends I kiss on both cheeks....but only if it's initiated by them. I prefer hugs with my friends.

That#s funny about the Christmas card thing. It's true, I think, but I hadn't thought of it before. I love your blog - seeing England through different eyes!


Beth said...

Laura poppet, you really know how to capture the interesting things about living away. I have been thinking about posting a similar post myself. I think I might just do one this week inspired by you!
However do you manage with the cockney rhyming slang -that's almost another language isn't it. x

Make mine Mid-Century said...

Isn't it sweet that you're turning into an Anglophile!

You've picked up such subtle, but profound, differences between the English and Americans.

Raine and Sage said...

I think I'm already an anglophile, every point seems normal to me.

Thanks for the enlightenment I did not realise.

Jane said...

Ah, Laura, I always love your take on ex-pat life. I am intrigued by the English double-kissing.

In Australia, the single kiss on the left cheek is the most common.

If you have Italian friends, say, it's the double kiss. I have to kiss my Lebanese-Australian friends three times!

But I always understood the English to stick to the single kiss rather than the more Franco-and Italophile double kiss. Intriguing. J x

American in Bath said...

I hadn't considered the Christmas card issue, but you are right. Which side do you start to kiss on? I find that only some of my friends use this in greeting, but some complete strangers do too. Which is correct? No one can seem to tell me.

A skyping through Target is a wonderful idea. Do you think that you could sell that idea to Target?

Laura said...

Ahhh I'm so happy you love my 'home'... I've manages to source 'squash' here in the States and so the girls love a glass of Robinsons and even ask for a glass of squash... along with a bickie (cookie) I definitely don't get the family Christmas card thing and said exactly what you put here... Jeez we're predictable... Oohh and I also call tea 'Rosie Lee'... Right I'm off for a nice cup of Rosie Lee... Ta ta for now poppet. Lx

Rona said...

Hi Laura

It's so funny seeing English life from an American's point of view...

Your post reminded me of when I used to work in the CIty and was on a conference call to two colleagues in the States. It was quite hot in our office, so 5 minutes into the call I asked them if they would mind holding just for a second whilst I took my jumper off...

I resumed the call to find them both laughing so much, they could hardly talk! And then they explained to me that jumper means a different item of clothing in the States! They had a picture of me sitting in the open-plan office with not very little on!

For those English readers - a jumper in the States is normally a kind of dress, like a pinafore. No wonder they were laughing so much!

Rona x

Hines-Sight said...

I love your posts. I get so excited when you have a new post. I really do so I hope you take that as a compliment.

I like that sign.

Self-Centered American who plans out her family christmas card and card selection way in advance each year.

Frau S said...

I love "I don't mind." It seems so much kinder than "I don't care." I tried to bring it back with me but no one knows what I'm talking about here.

La Vie Quotidienne said...

I love all of these, for some reason they seem more interesting than our way of saying things. (-:

Philly Girl Abroad said...

In The Netherlands it is three kisses: left, right, left. If you live in an expat community like I do, you must remember who does three kisses and who does the "one kiss and pat on the shoulder" or that "big 'ol Texas hug".

Beth Dunn said...

I love the way the English speak!

Emily said...

So there's a word for it . . . anglophile. I think this must describe me from the time I was born. :) Oh, and I just love "fictional flourish." I'll be pulling that description out as much as I can in the coming weeks! Can't wait to share both with the Mister.

Oh, I just love Christmas cards ~ a delightful rarity! I treasure a handwritten note. Although, I did slip in a photo of the kids when I mailed my cards out this year.

Fiona said...

I wouldn't try the 'family-photo' Xmas card here in Australia either.
We might definitely think you're a little up-yourself!

Emily said...

p.s. Please continue with the new vocabulary words / idioms.

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Hi Laura so happy to have found your great blog. If our home (ever) sells we are bound for Scotland. My husband is from Aberdeen and it's my deepest wish to be able to live in the U.K. for at least a few years. It will be much fun to read your perspective as an expat. Hoping your weekend was a good one?
Cheers ~ Deb


Would love to read a post from your British friends . . . about what they have noticed about you. I have never heard "poppet". What does it mean?

Fun post.

StarletStarlet said...

OMG - until reading your post, I didn't realize that Americans do NOT kiss friends on both cheeks!

We do that in Indonesia, so I do it here too sometimes. Now that I know this...there WERE some awkward moments!!! LOL.

Laura, Happy Homemaker UK said...

Wow, what great chatter!! You can imagine my horror when I sent out my best family photo Christmas card to neighbors and received generic cards in return! So embarrassing

Glenda: 'Poppet' is an endearing term for a child - isn't it sweet?

Am N Bath: To be honest, I keep forgetting which side to start on, so I stay in 'neutral position' :)

lisaroyhandbags said...

Great post! I've been bopping back and forth from Canada to Ireland for 4 years and always encounter the "strangest" terms for things. I often have to catch myself in a conversation and use their term or I get blank looks. In Ireland it's only one kiss and if I'm going to do the kiss thing, I always do the double kiss so it's awkward (especially since I'm a hug person!). There are a couple of Burger King and McDonalds drive-thrus here in Ireland but only near Dublin. :)

Melissa @ Lulliloo said...

Hi Laura, I loved the things you noticed, for me it is these little quirks in the language and these different social things that sometimes stop me in my tracks during my busy day and remind me that yes, I am in England!
I sometimes get blank looks when I come out with very Australian sayings and have many a time had to explain those little colloquialisms!
- Melissa x

PS @Laura from A Place for Tea - I love that you've found Robinson's in the US - that is so sweet!

Privet and Holly said...

I was born an
Anglophile {possibly
the Browning, Smith
and Gatton DNA?}and
following my UK friends
as they blog about
life across the pond
has only increased my
interest. Loved your
xx Suzanne

Redlilocks {Swoon Worthy} said...

Oooh a fellow American living in England! What a lovely post - I've been here such a long time now that sometimes I forget what my reactions were like when I first came over. Now the American way of doing things seems a bit odd to me lol

There are drive throughs here - Subway, KFC, McDonalds all have them. They aren't nearly as common as the States though - I remember drive thru banking and ATM machines quite fondly!

Not sure about the kissing thing either, some of my friends do both cheeks, most only one. Perhaps that's an area thing?

The funniest thing I've found is that I lived in the south (Kent) for 8 years and then moved to the North (Manchester) a year & a half ago. Well, of course when I moved to Manchester I thought I had the vocab sorted and then I found out they spoke differently here! Barm cakes? Mithering? Using the word 'dinner' to mean 'lunch'?! What? lol I had to learn all over again!

Sorry for the long comment, couldn't help myself ;) Enjoying your blog! xxx

Julia Writer said...

Love your blog! I'm the reverse of you ~ living life as an English expat in California :)

bibbitybob said...

Hello! I've just discovered your blog and as a English girl this post really made me smile :) and I must confess that I still haven't a clue whether we're supposed to do one kiss, two or none. I'm from 'up North' so it's less common up here. I hope you're enjoying your life in the UK - off to read more of your blog now! x

Anonymous said...

Oh Laura....so....yes, I had to look up Anglophile! Now I'm with ya! :) On our flight back from Paris on British Airways...I had to chuckle when the flight attendant called my son 'poppet' and asked him if he would like some 'bits'?! So cute! Oh, oh....and I do know of TWO McDonald's drive-thrus...but they're both a good 1/2 hour away from us. :( JoAnn