Sunday, May 31, 2020

More Than Words


 George Bernard Shaw once said, "England and America are two countries divided by a common language." I can tell you that is truly an understatement. Even after twenty years together, my British husband can surprise me with a word or phrase that I have not a clue what he is talking about. On the other hand, I can do the same to him. The difference is that he really has not come to the American side of the English language that much. Then, there is me. Every once in a while I shock myself when I say it just the way that he would. About the only thing that I have taught him and that he uses is the phrase, "Well, bless your heart." He has learned that it is all in the intonations of how you say it as to what it means. I believe that this is more of a Southern phrase and it is not always meant in a positive way. An example would be, if you said it to someone who just served a meal and you told others, "Well, bless her heart," meaning that she tried but it was not edible.

Below you will find some of the differences that have come to light throughout the time that we have been together.

Steve still asks me where do we want to go for our holiday? (vacation) The first time he asked me, I thought that we were going to go away for Christmas!
When we get in our pool he will ask me if I am wearing a new swimming costume. I will let him know that it is the same swimming SUIT that I had last year. If our granddaughters are over, he will ask if I have the lilo blown up? Once he pointed to her floaty, I knew what he meant.

Let's talk for a minute about going on a holiday or out to eat. First, we must get some petrol, he will tell me. I refresh his memory that we call it gas here. He smiles and says that he is glad that we don't own an estate car. I ask you this:  

 Were you aware that a station wagon/SUV was called an estate car? I was thinking a limousine. Something that would cost a fortune to fill up with GAS. As we are getting ready to pay, I ask him if he will pass my purse over. He passes my wallet. That was fine, in that is where my money is but he calls the bag that the wallet was in 'a wallet.'

Going out to eat is interesting because I have learned what a serviette is. He was missing a napkin when we were seated once and he meant a napkin. However, he asked the waitress for a serviette. Her blank and clueless face was priceless. I translated. Also did a translation to help when he requested  tomato sauce. He wanted it to go on his burger. And he said that he had crisps on his plate. He asked for them. I did not, so the regular fries came with my burger. He said to the waitress and to me that I got chips. We were all confused on that one. She did bring him out some FRIES. I don't think she could get too upset because he does have a very proper British accent. Although, when she set them down she did kindly say to him that these were his fries. 

She had a look of surprise until I shared with her that he meant ketchup. 

Truly would give the burger a different flavor. Easy enough to straighten out what he needed. I would love to have heard the conversation that our waitress had with the other servers. On the positive side she now has a new vocabulary word and what it means if someone orders tomato sauce. We did confuse her a bit when she asked if there was anything else that we needed and I said,"Yes, please the check, and he said, "And the bill." So which is it? Sort of like the same thing when he asks where are the loos. Not everyone knows that he is asking where are the restrooms. He still questions me on that one about why they are called that because one does not go in to rest. 

While we are on the subject, sort of, about food, let's talk about going to the grocery store. First you must find a place to park in the car park. He still calls it that instead of a parking lot. That's ok. I have even let it slip out a few times pointing out to him as we drove by a very busy store. You knew it was because I said, "Just look at that car park!" It flew out of my mouth before I knew it. 

Some items that we pick up at the grocery are:

barbie sauce  (BBQ sauce)
mince meat  (hamburger meat)
kitchen towels (paper towels-not linen kitchen towels)
lollies   (popsicles for granddaughters)
courgettes  (zucchini)

washing liquid (dish soap)
beetroots (beets)
satsumas (clementines)
I have always called aluminum foil Reynolds Wrap. He asked if we needed some AL - U - MIN - YUN. I must admit that one took me a bit to grasp what he meant.

Before we went over to get in the long line (queue), we passed the vitamins. He mentioned that he would like to pick up a multi- VIT - A - MIN. It must be said like I spelled it with a hard accent on each syllable. It sounds nothing like the word vitamin.

Once we got home, I asked if he could pull all the way in the garage. He asked me if I meant the GAR - AGE. We work it out. He also asked if maybe later we could go back out because he thought he saw a new place called the Pie Shop. He was so excited. I was so confused. He is not a real sweet eater, especially pies (one exception is apple pie). We went back later that afternoon and he went up and down the counters looking and finally asked where the savory meat pies were. I could not translate that one until he told me like the ones in the pubs of England such as Steak and Kidney Pie or pasties. Plus, I can assure you that they would not have Faggots and Peas, which is on almost every pub's menu. Let's just say that faggots are spicy meatballs made out of beef and pork organs. The peas are mushy and also usually served with mashed potatoes. The only thing here that  could somewhat compare to the savory meat pies
 would be a Shepherd's Pie or Chicken Pot Pie. With that said, we do not go in a Pie Shop for those. He was sadly disappointed that the choices were chocolate, key lime, lemon, banana, peach, apple and a handful of other pies. He didn't even buy an apple pie to take home. I remember the horrified look on the waitress behind the counter thinking they would have meat pies in her shop.

Cooking at home is entertaining because I cook on the stove while he uses the cooker. (Yes, they are one in the same.)

 Two easy sandwiches that we make (with some minor adjustments) are Welsh rarebit and a Bacon Butty. The Welsh rarebit is really a grilled cheese. I like mine just that way. The British way that he grew up with is to put Worcestershire sauce on the cheese. I suppose it is what you grew up with. The Bacon Butty was new to me. Usually I made BLT's. For breakfast he asked me one day if I fancied a Bacon Butty. When he explained it was toast that was buttered with bacon inside for a sandwich. I must admit that was good. I still like the idea of adding lettuce and tomato. Or even an egg for a breakfast sandwich. It is a little give and take. Some days all I want is a tomato and mayo sandwich. is what I grew up with.

Some other words that mean the same but are separate items would be:

  • waistcoat      vest
  • jumper         sweater

  • vest             wifebeater

There are times I ask my darlin' husband about his opinion about a style. I asked what he thought about me getting bangs. He had a horrified look on his face. I turned my magazine picture of a woman with bangs and showed him what I meant. He sighed a sigh of relief and said, "Oh, you mean fringe!"  He explained later what he thought I meant when I used the word bangs. I will not even mention it here. 

When I put the date on my blogs, he politely questions me about why I put the month before the day and then the year. Then, I remembered that I thought for a long time that his birthday was June 12th. Because he writes it out 6.12.1951. It wasn't until it came out in the beginning of our relationship that I realized that he was a December baby just like me. In fact, he asked me if I needed a rubber to erase my mistake. Yes, you guessed it. The Brits call an eraser a rubber.

Well, at this time, I have mentioned from A to Z most of our vocabulary differences. I don't throw fits over these differences (or wobblers as he would say).
Instead I embrace them.  Oh, wait a moment, I should have said all of the differences from A to Zed.
I learned that when he took me to the showroom to trade in my great big Tahoe for a Zed-3. I had not a clue what he meant. Until I saw we were pulling into a BMW showroom and he took me to a little two seater convertible that I had always called a Z-3.

 I believe that is when it dawned on me just exactly why our relationship is more than words. (Or as he would say, " Bob's your uncle.")


  1. I'm with Steve on the restroom issue!

  2. LOL He has caught me putting on our shopping list - loo rolls