So there is a list doing the rounds, for a redundant survey to find the quintessential symbols of Britain.
Because, naturally, I disagree with several ommitted items on this list, here are ten essential aspects of British life. Also, because I couldn't think of anything else to write. Do do do. 1. The crisp butty
For the Limey-challenged out there, this is only the
greatest example of gastronomic scuzziness. Take a slice of white bread-- I myself favour the delectable Rathbones
toaster bread. Spread on a generous amount of Lurpak, if one is posh, or Lidl own brand margarine if one is a skank. Open a packet of Walker's cheese and onion crisps, or, if splashing out, a packet of McCoys. Layer crisps on bread delicately. Fold bread in half. Press down on bread. Eat.
2.Strolling into work half an hour late and nobody batting an eyelid.
It's thanks to this attitude that I am considered employable.
3. The liquid lunch
As much as I love alcohol (being your stereotypical Brit and all that), is there anyone else who can't take nipping down to the pub for a quick panini and a glass of wine or beer before returning to work? It does, however, still boggle me that this is considered all right. Especially as we deal with alcohol abuse referrals.
4. Suburbs composed of nothing but takeaways, pubs, taxi joints and betting shops
I estimate this to be the case with 90% of Northern cities.
5. Big Ben's chimes
I don't understand any survey on British icons that leaves out Big Ben. If I'm trying to negotiate between the crassness of Radio City and Key103.FM en route from work, I will sometimes land briefly on the BBC six o'clock news broadcast, replete with the resounding chimes from Big Ben. I always stop to listen, because as much as I love travelling, as much as the UK is full of silly things like crisp butties and Fantasy Football, it's home, and nothing to me is more a symbol of that than those chimes. Gawd love 'em.
6. Nuclear green mushy peas
When I was in high school, our French tutor gave us a long talk on why our cuisine was disgusting, and she singled out mushy peas for a particular savaging. Her countrymen, she told us, couldn't understand why we British mistreated peas so. Now, I love French cuisine, but our peas do not deserve such slander. Je m'en fous
, the peas stay-- though I now use lashings of balsamic vinegar on them in deference to her. Or because balsamic vinegar makes it seem all right.
Every single nation has its own version of chavs, but what's great about ours is that they're so crap
. Forget intimidating LA gangs or the mean banlieus of Paris-- ours hang about on street corners asking you to nip into the off licence (liquor store) for some White Stripe cider. And if you don't? Why, they'll...they'll... hurl abuse at you. When you're down the road. And run when you return to sort them out.
8. Turkey curry on Boxing Day
Bridget Jones elaborated on this enough, I think.
9. Trains taking eight hours to travel 200 miles
Having experienced this several times, I can see why so many people throw themselves in front of trains.
10. A nice cup of tea
No list is complete without this. You should know that the formula is apparently so: Take teabag. Place in cup. Boil kettle. Pour water into cup. Take teabag and press against the side of the cup for two seconds. Stir, and leave teabag for precisely two minutes to brew. Take teabag and press against the cup for two more seconds. Remove teabag and pour milk into cup. I'm not kidding; there was extensive scientific research on making the perfect cup of tea. I tried it out at work, and three people concluded the tea was great. The other two said they asked for coffee.