After almost 7 months in non-English speaking countries, I have finally returned to England 2 years after arriving for the first time.
A week ago I was not so kind on myself regarding my relationship with the UK, so this week I am sharing the things I love most about England (noteably not the whole UK).
Fish & Chips
The way of serving Fish & Chips in the UK is not a whole lot unlike Australia’s (understandably) but a number of key differences add a new dimension to the tradition. In England Fish & Chips is often served with an assortment of: fish, chips (‘chippy chips’), baked beans, mushy (or smashed) peas, fried sausages, malt vinegar, curry sauce, cheese and/or gravy. According to a poster in a Cornish ‘chippy’ I visited, the average Briton prefers Cod fish, fat ‘chippy’ chips with salt and vinegar and mushy peas by the seaside straight out of the packet. Sounds good to me!
The English are not the best drinkers in the UK by any stretch of the imagination but they are certainly the most confident and no matter how ‘wankered’ they are, never bet against them in a game or pool of darts, you won’t win. Those traditional English pubs, whether they’ve become a far more budget-friendly Wetherspoons yet or not, have a distinct smell that pubs back home do not have. The strong smell of alcohol and varnished timber fights the disinfectant used to unstink bathrooms since the smoking ban stopped masking the smell. The older the pub, the more charming it smells and thus the more welcoming it is.
Flapjacks are a testament to English cuisine: take a bland ingredient, add butter, add sugar, add fat, serve. The result is a 100 gram slab of rolled oats with all the satisfaction of junk food while serving the purpose of an entire meal for only half a pound. They’re a staple here and it surprises almost everyone I speak to that flapjacks are something impressive to me, as they’re no less normal than bread here. Served best with white chocolate over the top.
England fits into Australia 59 times and has over twice the population size. And yet, in between England’s big cities the rest of the country is beautiful, vast, lush, green countryside. Incredibly uncharacteristic of population density this severe. I suppose they have Australia to thank for taking the English when overpopulation in the UK reached critical mass a couple of hundred years back.
As much as I love learning languages and having to sort my problems out on my own when I am abroad, arriving England marked the end of 200 days spent in non-English-speaking countries. It is no less easy to understand half the folks that live here as England has about as many accents as cities and far too many of them are indecipherable considering this is the country the language actually came from.