Umbrella sharing and other British problems

98154857_365642cSo here I am standing on a train platform in what can only be described as monsoon like conditions with no wet weather protection. I am without; umbrella or jacket, waterproof or hat. Stood there between men and women with almighty great umbrellas, space in abundance but do they offer you space to shield a man currently more water than human? Do they hell. I put it down to another one of our wonderous and useless British quirks.

Quirks, traditions, habits or thingamyjigs whatever you call them the ideological doodads that make us British may seem quiant from the outside but really do frustrate me. The ones I struggle with the most are as follows:

Not talking on the underground.

The first time I travelled around London by myself I was about 18, old enough to think I know what I’m doing but young enough to not admit when I don’t. Anyway I arrived at Paddington Station with the aim of getting to Sloane Square, which is on the circle line, only problem is I got on the wrong way round the circle. What resulted was a thoroughly confused teenager getting off at Kings Cross and getting a rather expensive taxi. You’ll say why didn’t you ask for help? Well everyone had the headphones in or their heads in papers and out of the two people I asked one was Russian and spoke no English the other spoke with a East London accent but also said he spoke no English. I arrived half an hour late but because we are British and I’m a man I never would’ve admitted the error (until now…).

Liking Football.

I hate football, let the blogosphere take note if this, yet as a British person I am always judged to not only know about it but to love it. I can step in any taxi around the world and when they ask you were you are from the second response is; “oh what football team do you support?” My response is usually to name an fictional team (I usually go with Bazford United) and hope that silences the footy talk.

Liking Tea.

I love tea. Guilty as charged on that one.

Great at Queuing

keep_calm_and_drink_tea_poster_by_englishlioness-d3iq80qLet it never be said that we the British aren’t a paticent bunch. While at University I once watched in sheer pride at a group of about 200 drunk students patiently queuing to get into a night club; no shoving, no abusive language and most certainly no queue jumping just quiet reverence bottling it all up until they got inside. Where as when I arrived in India for the first time and tried to be British and stick to our proud tradition of queuing I ended up not getting on public transport as they all filled up with the crush of people ramming in while I waited incorrectly.

Inability to Complain.

When something goes wrong at a restaurant do you a) politely tell the waiter there is something wrong or b) eat the disgustingly undercooked chicken that will more than likely give you Salmonella? If you answered b) then you are probably British.

No being able to put up with any kind of weather.

Small talk is another thing we Brits are cracking at and the one that everyone resorts to in an awkward conversation is of course the weather. Wether it be too hot, too cold or anything inbetween we turn into a Goldilocks people never happy with whatever the weather.

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28 thoughts on “Umbrella sharing and other British problems

  1. Asariels Muse says:

    When I visited a small town about a mile outside of London and found myself in need of some basics I was given directions to the “apothecary” just down the block. After finding myself unsure which fork in the road to take I asked a couple of passer-bys for directions and was met with stony silence in one case and in another case it was a brief “I don’t know” or possibly it was a cruder leave me alone phrase the dialect was uncertain). When I finally located the shop the second case guy was inside. I couldn’t resist saying “Oh, I see you found it!” He had the grace to at least blush and lower his head as he left. Maybe in the fend for oneself mentality the idea of volunteering assistance or asking for it is seen as rude?

  2. Keith202 says:

    I love love love this! Hilarious Im married to a Uk citizen and all of those things are things she complains about living in Canada! You really hit the nail on the head with this post coffeeandcountries

  3. Liza Harrow says:

    Oh James! This post is amazballs you just need to post more often we miss you here in the blogessphere… See I made a rhyme

  4. John W. Howell says:

    Lovely post. My big thing in London (as a Yank) is to step off the curb looking the wrong way. Thank heavens for the cabbies desire not to mess the front of the cab. Thanks for the visit.

  5. africanherbsman1967 says:

    So true. Not a brolly man so walking on a rainy Oxford St ducking and diving those brolly tips was good training for any boxer/fencer. I’ll add to the list…. At this time of the year receiving Xmas cards from neighbours – “to flat 87 from flat number 85, ” – who you have hardly spoken with or ignore your existence for 364 days until they slip that card in your letter box when they know you are not at home!

  6. Sallyann says:

    I’m afraid you got wet in the rain because you’re male…
    Males seem to have an invisible barrier around them, a line in the sand, so I to speak, which other males dare not cross over so, of course, standing close enough to another male to share his umbrella is totally out of the question.
    I would imagine if you were female, especially a young, pretty female, pretty much any male on the planet would be happy to share his umbrella with you.
    I’m afraid that being male you are at a disadvantage when it comes to sharing an umbrella with a strange female too.
    As much as females are a lot more sociable, and would quite happily share the little patch of dry headroom under their umbrella with another female, sharing with a strange male opens the female up to all sorts of difficult situations.
    Therefore, your only possibility of a little bit of shared umbrella would rest with an elderly lady.
    Not just any old elderly lady mind you, she would have to be the mother, or grandmother of sons or grandsons of about your age… and they would have had to have treated her well.
    Good luck with this solution next time it’s raining. πŸ™‚

  7. swimlittlesquid says:

    This is my 4th year living in England, and I am still amazed by the brits and their queuing. I mean, you guys literally line up along the sidewalk BEFORE THE BUS IS EVEN THERE. What’s up with that? πŸ˜€ :O πŸ˜€

  8. youngexpatlife says:

    Yesterday I was waiting for a friend of mine in pouring rain for approx. 20 minutes with no umbrella or waterproof jacket… I was in the middle of an inner monologue (i.e.: rant) about people not sharing their umbrellas (even though they were obviously waiting for someone too). Then it hit me – wait, I just discussed this with someone – no, I probably read it somewhere – but where? Well, here – just a few days back:)
    Selfish umbrella usage – internationally trending.

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