Tag Archives: visiting the UK

Americans: This Is A Fanny

So far, I have made two posts dedicated to teaching Americans the REAL meaning of words they don’t use properly. The response has been promising, although (like most people) Americans are a little stubborn about admitting when they are WRONG. Still, I shall continue to battle bravely on.  

As some of you will have seen, I managed to explain what “Jumper” meant and what “Vest” meant, in a very straightforward manner. Great stuff. However, explaining the REAL meaning of the word “FANNY” is going to be a little more of a challenge. Americans will now be grinning at the prospect of me having to discuss something as embarrassing as a “rear end”… Believe me, my Yankee friends, you (as you would say) ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.  

THIS IS NOT A FANNY

 This first picture is of a BOTTOM. A bottom is not, and never has been, a FANNY. Right now, I suggest those of you who are of a delicate disposition, should brace yourselves. If you are standing up, sit down.  

THIS IS A FANNY

I’m sorry about that… But it was necessary to post a second picture, in order to show you the REAL meaning of the word FANNY. As you can see (if you can bear to look again) FANNY  is the word for a lady’s sex-parts.  

I don’t know when (or IF) you will ever use the word “fanny” again - but if you do, you now know that you will be speaking of something a lot ruder than a BOTTOM. Normally I’d ask you to say the word “FANNY!” aloud (at this point) and stare at the second picture, in order to fix the proper meaning of FANNY in your mind… But I don’t think any of us want to dwell on this any longer than is absolutely necessary. And “fanny packs”? I’m not even going to go there. 

 Second picture: (The famous Sheela na gig at Kilpeck, England Image credit: Wikipedia | Rights/License: GNU FDL)

For Americans: 40 Random Facts About The UK

1) People in the UK drink tea with milk.

2) When British people say “biscuits”, they are talking about what Americans call “cookies”.

3) Most British people under the age of 25 wouldn’t  recognise Benny Hill, if they were shown a picture.

4) London is not the only city in the UK.

5) “Pea-Soupers” and other forms of heavy London smog, were ended by the Clean Air Act of 1956.

6) Jack the Rippper is now presumed to be dead.

7) Princess Diana is definitely dead.

8) British people come in a wide range of ethnicities.

9) “Hogwarts” is not a real school.

10) If you ask for a packet of “rubbers” in the UK, you will get a packet of “erasers”.

11) Not everybody in the UK has met the Queen.

12) Beer is served at room temperature, in British “pubs”.

13) “Are You Being Served?” hasn’t been shown on British TV (apart from as a novelty) since 1985.

14) Cats, in the UK, are normally allowed outside.

15) Jesus is not as popular in the UK as He is in the USA.

16) It is impossible for an American to successfully imitate the Cockney accent.

17) Levi jeans are popular in the UK and are available in many shops.

18) British policemen are also known as “Bobbies”, “Coppers”, “Dibbles”, “The Sweeney” and (among criminals) “The Filth”.

19) “Pissed” in the UK means “drunk”.

20) Illegitimacy is more popular in the UK than it is in the USA.

21) Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel were both born in England. Johnny Depp wasn’t.

22) Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character.

23) Most Brits are bemused by the idea of “flossing”.

24) The British national dish is called “Curry”.

25) Despite rumours to the contrary, British people measure their journeys in Miles.

26) Some buildings in the UK were erected more than 200 years ago.

27) Most women in the UK would regard being called a “bitch” as a compliment.

28) British people correctly insert the letter U into many words.

29) Being softly spoken is regarded as “normal” in Britain.

30) The word “Soccer” is regarded with suspicion by Brits, who prefer to use the proper name for Football.

31) British people love to queue and businesses happily respond to that, by not providing enough check-outs, or Customer Service desks. Or Ladies toilets.

32) Brits use the word “Toilets” as if it wasn’t offensive – even though they could say “Rest Rooms”, or “Bathrooms”.

33) Tony Blair is no longer the British Prime Minister.

34) “Tipping” is a very unpopular concept in the UK and should be done rarely and begrudgingly, at no more than 10%.

35) The Underground is a complex railway system, running through tunnels, under London. Remember to mind the gap.

36) Brits tend to regard “Doctor Who” as being aimed at children.

37) Big Ben is not the name of the giant clock in London but the name of the bell inside it.

38) In the UK, “chips” are chunky batons of potato fried in oil – not thin slices of cooked potato (we call those “crisps”).

39) Buckingham Palace is much bigger in your head than it is in Real Life.

40) Kindly people in the UK will always give you directions but only if you learn to pronounce place names properly.

American/Cockney Translations

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that I am always keen to facilitate the idea of Americans visiting the UK. I like Americans, they’re really funny. Sadly, most Americans become confused when they visit the UK, because they don’t understand the language. They think they can speak and understand “English” but when they arrive in London (as they inevitably do) they discover that the locals do not sound like Mike Myers, or Johnny Depp, or even Daphne out of Frasier. In London, the locals speak “Cockney”. So here are a few useful Cockney phrases, for Americans visiting our shores. You’re welcome.

“Hello” (said to a man):Alright mate? How’s it hangin’?”

“Hello” (said to a woman): “Cheer up darlin’ it might never ‘appen!”

“Please direct me to a bar”:Where’s the nearest boozer mate?”

“How much does that cost?”:What’s the damage on that?”

“Where are the rest rooms?”: “Any bogs in ‘ere? I’m breakin’ me neck!”

“You’ve been very helpful” (said to a man): You’re a diamond geezer mate.”
“You’ve been very helpful” (said to a woman):Fanks darlin’ you’re a top bird.”

“I would like to try some authentic British food”:I could murder a curry.”

“I would like a cup of tea”:Stick the kettle on, I’m dyin’ for a cuppa.”

“I think you are mistaken”:  “You’re talkin’ bollocks.”

“Are you joking?”:You’re pullin’ my plonker, ain’cha?”

“I’m very surprised”:I don’t Adam and Eve it!”

“I am exhausted”:I’m cream crackered.”

“I am travelling alone”:I’m on me Jack.”

“Would you like to have sex with me?”:Fancy a shag?”

“I’m sorry, I do not find you attractive”:You’ve got a boat race like a bag of spanners.”

A basic list of useful phrases there but if my public demands it, I may do some more at a later date. Don’t be too shy to ask me for translations in Comments either, I live to serve.

English Food

A few years ago an American friend of mine decided to visit the UK. He was really looking forward to his trip but one thing worried him - the prospect of trying to survive on English food. It seems that we English (and Brits generally) have a bad reputation, when it comes to the culinary arts. Below is a perfectly formed scale model of the conversation I had with him (on IM) about his visit, and the food he might be eating: 

 American Friend: I really want to eat traditional English food when I’m in England but I’m nervous about that, because you guys have a reputation for serving up some real crap. I’ve been looking at a website with a list of the best English foods.They’re listed in alphabetical order. I’m looking at B…What is Bread and Butter Pudding?

Me: Oh, it’s lovely! And a good way to use up stale bread! It’s like buttered bread, sultanas and sugar, all covered in an eggy type of custard and baked in the oven. Mmmm.

American Friend: STALE bread? WTF? In America we don’t eat stale food. We throw that shit out.

Me: Well, not ROTTEN bread, just dry, you know?

American Friend: Not rotten? Oh great. Yeah. I have to say, you’re not tempting me here….OK, what’s Bread Pudding?

Me:That’s delicious! My Mother used to make it when I was a kid. That’s a mixture of bread, spices, dried fruit and sugar. It’s baked again but it is firmer and cut into squares, like cake. It, um, it’s a good way to use up dry bread, again…

American Friend:WTF? In America we have a good way to use up dry bread…We call them DUCKS. Do you have ducks in England? Throw them the dry bread and stop using it in f*cking “puddings”! Jesus Christ. Here, try this…What is Black Pudding made with? That sounds hardcore.

Me: That’s savoury, it’s a sliced sausage, you fry it with bacon and eggs.

American Friend: You call a sausage a “pudding”? What kind of meat is that made of? Badger?

Me: No. Well, it’s not exactly MEAT as such anyway…It’s made with….Blood.

American Friend: Holy f*ck.

Me: Hahahaha! Stop it! It’s very nice.

American Friend: I feel sick. Black, fried blood. And that’s a GOOD meal in your country? Like, it’s something you BOAST about on websites? I hardly dare ask what Bubble and Squeak is…

Me: Oh god that’s YUMMY. It’s like Hash Browns but made with a lot of different vegetables and fried!

American Friend: Different? There isn’t one recipe?

Me: Well…It depends what cooked veg you’ve got left over from Sunday lunch…

American Friend: LEFTOVERS? Again? Listen to me…THE WAR IS OVER! Seriously, you can buy new food now!

Me: Hahaha! You’re not going to come here, are you?

American Friend: I might. BUT I’M BRINGING MY OWN FOOD.