Down the Lane: From an English woman’s view

Published 2:19 pm Monday, January 17, 2022

I happened to have a chance meeting with a very sweet English lady, named Lisa Short a few days before Christmas.

For some reason I was drawn to her accent as a I stood in line to check out at Wal Mart. She was next in line behind me. I asked her if she was from England and her response was, “Yes, I am from the U. K. (United Kingdom).

I welcomed her to the U.S. and she told me she had lived here for a few years. Her sister was with her, also from England visiting with her for the holidays. I invited her to my Homemaker group and asked her if she would mind if I called her to speak with her about the different ways we see things in the U.S.A. She said that would be okay, so, below is what I have learned.

We not only have a different accent that can vary from whatever area you come from in the U.S. but we do not think the same way. I have often found some of the words my husband says so funny even though he grew up in Winchester, Ky. to what I grew up hearing.

Lisa and I discussed this. My being a foodie, I will begin with the differences I learned about food. I learned that a biscuit to us, means what you usually would eat for breakfast in America, while in England it means cookies. On the biscuits we may put sausage but in the U.K. they put bangers on, their word for sausages. I could not help but think if I were looking at a menu there,and saw bangers I might want to pass it up, thinking it might be like a firecracker.

If you blitz it in England you are puréeing or chopping it. A knob of butter means roughly one tablespoon to an American cook. That “roughly” for me could be confusing a bit. Pudding in America means it could be a variety of different flavors made into a creamy sweet mixture topped with whipped cream and could be a dessert. In England it could mean of variety of any kind of desserts. To mince something to me would mean to really chop something like an onion really small but in England it means ground meat. I think that means any type of meat that is ground. Coriander leaf to us means cilantro to an English lady.

If you have something tinned for dinner it means you opened canned food. Once you have prepared something such as meatloaf you put it in the cooker in England but here we consider it a stove. A cooker could mean several different modes of cooking to us from a crockpot to an air fryer.

If, after the meal you want to send some food home with your guest, you cover it with cling wrap, to us, it usually means Saran Wrap or plastic wrap. I have even seen some use of the word cling wrap used in America now. You would send it home with them in a poke, we call it a bag in the U.S. with the exception of my husband who is the only one I know, who calls a bag, a poke.

If the meal was a total waste you may want to just throw it in the bin in England. We call that the trash can or garbage can. What goes in the bin has dual meanings in England also and could mean rubbish or trash.

If you wore a jumper while preparing your meal in England you would have worn a sweatshirt in the U.S. if it looked like their jumpsuit.

If you spilled food on your clothes you may need to throw it in the scullery in England to be washed. Now that usually means an older English cook may think of it that way. The younger ladies consider it a laundry room the same as we do. The scullery might also mean a workroom of any kind.

One thing for sure you do not want to mention is, a fanny pack in England, ladies, since it could be misconstrued. The fanny in England represents a ladies vaginal area not the derrière. Men’s clothing is different also. Pants in England mean a man’s underwear where, in the U. S. A. we refer to pants as a man’s slacks or trousers. Trousers was all I ever heard my daddy speak of in reference to men’s slacks.

Just in case your husband wanted to get home early to watch a ballgame on television, he may have driven a Lori if he were English but if your husband were American he hopped in his truck and drove off.

Before he left he may bum a fag for the game which would only mean he saw the American smoking a cigarette and wanted one, too. He also needed to unplug the socket to the Christmas tree and the American said he had unplugged their tree from the outlet that same day.

Now, if the ladies stayed and tidied up the kitchen and left later, one may have put the leftovers in the boot if she were English and finished them at her home. However, all the way home the American lady may be pondering why she put the food in her boot. She learned putting something in the boot was just putting something in the trunk.

I do not know about you but I have learned a lot about colloquialisms used in England. Even though Lisa and I may not speak the same we can become instant friends. I want to thank you Lisa Short for giving me insight into the country you have left behind to live in the U.S.A.

I have truly enjoyed visiting with you for such a short time.

I am looking forward to spending more time with you.

Longtime Sun columnist Sue Staton is a resident of Winchester.