Sunday, April 6, 2014

Observations at Six Months

It has been 6 months since our adventure began.  During that time I have begun to develop some general observations (I am profiling) of life in the UK .

  1. People in the UK walk more.  They especially walk their dogs more.
  2. Red hair is popular across all ages whether it be what God gave them, what Clairol gave them, or what Kool-Aid gave them.  I have seen women my age and older with Kool-Aid colored hair.  It is not just for punkers or Halloween.
  3. Curry is VERY popular.  Dare I say even more popular than fish and chips?
  4. Root vegetables rule in the winter.  Learn to love rutabaga (Swede), turnips, parsnips, carrots, potatoes, beets and onions.
  5. The items in the store are sold in much smaller packages.  People here buy their eggs mainly 6 at a time and their milk a pint at a time.
  6. Wellies are the common footwear during the fall, winter, and spring.  I will let you know about the summer.
  7. Meat is eaten much less and in smaller servings in the UK.  That old commercial "Where's the beef?"  would not resonate over here.
  8. All grocery stores, even Aldi, sell liquor and wine.  Surprisingly, at least to me, the wine at Aldi is recognized as being some of the best lower cost wine available.  It even got written up in the paper.
  9. In the states it is a quarter to get a shopping cart at some grocery stores.  Here it is a pound.  Free carts are rare, the idea being to stop people from transporting their groceries home in them.  Remember, a large part of the shoppers walk to and from the store.
  10. Charity shops are to be found in any town of any size.  And they are used by all strata of society, rich to poor.  It is an environmental conservation thing as well as a budget thing.
  11. A town may not have a post office but it always has a pub.  And a pub is not like a bar except that it sells alcohol.  They are family friendly and you rarely see anyone over indulging.  They are social centers with a warm fire, food, drink and your dog is welcome.  They even have water bowls on the floor for the dogs.
  12. School uniforms are the norm here.  Pants, shirt, tie and jacket for boys.  Skirt, shirt, tie and blazer for girls. Fewer arguments in the morning.
  13. Houses are much smaller and more densely packed than in the US.  Terrace housing is common (attached row houses) as are semidetached (duplex).  
  14. The British aren't any fonder of their politicians and their policies than we are.
  15. Green grocers and butchers are still common and used regularly even with the advent of the supermarket.
  16. Most people grow fruits and/or vegetables if they can.  If they live in a flat it might only be herbs in pots.  If they have a garden (yard) apple trees are common as well as salad vegetables and root veg. Allotments are popular for people who don't have land where they live.
  17. Pumpkin or winter squash is used in alot of dishes like curries, rice dishes, and soups. 
  18. Risotto is very popular as a main course.
  19.  It used to be you rarely saw jeans on people but now they are much more common.  Baseball caps are not.
  20. Most cats here are black and white.  Very few tigers, marmalade, calico, etc.  I don't know why.
  21. The government here suggests 7 servings of fruit and veg a day with only one to two actually being fruit.  Vegetables rule.
  22. Once a British individual hears our accent they want to talk to us.  Most think we are Canadian from our accent.  They seem to like Americans.
  23. It is becoming more popular here to base your food consumption loosely on the ration amounts during and after WWII.  Government studies have shown that people here were at their healthiest then.
  24. People here smoke more than in the states.
  25. British TV is a lot more educational vs entertainment.
Stay tuned for my one year observations.  I know you can hardly wait.  :-)

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