Being the caring, sharing kind, I actively participate in Quora, the Knowledge sharing site, where I attempt to provide robust answers on topics where I have expertise, or opinion on topics where I have an interest or experience.
Quora’s mission is to share and grow the world’s knowledge.
Mostly these are somewhat technical responses to queries around Microsoft 365 etc.
Occasionally, a question comes along which is so bonkers, left-field or unexpected that there is a choice between either getting snippy, or being British about it. Some of these responses I’m sufficiently proud of (and entertained by) to think they are worth sharing in their own right. Today, I offer you this genuine question:
Question: What are things to be cautious of while going to Great Britain?
Asked by T.I. Donson on 24th April 2016
Driving. Britain drives a lot faster than the US, on average, with greater car density on the highways (they are properly called motorways). Europe is often worse.
Beer. Unlike the default US variety (though there are now notable and honourable exceptions from many great craft breweries), British beer mostly has a thing called FLAVOUR. Try it, you may like it once you get used to the unexpected experience. And it isn’t warm – it’s also not designed to freeze your tongue.
Language velocity. We talk veryfastindeed,pleasetrytokeepup.
Humour. It’s dark, often pointy, frequently witty (i.e. requires wit) and is mostly a ubiquitous part of conversation.
Customer Service. You will mostly be disappointed. We are friendly and some service will be excellent. But some will be naff. Except in airports, where the staff are great (compare and contrast). And our police are brilliant.
Weather. If it weren’t for the Met Office (which is probably the best in the world) then we would have no idea what to expect. All four seasons in one day is no exaggeration. Dress for every eventuality.
Chocolate. It tastes wonderful and contains 0% earwax. Do not try it or you will never be able to eat US chocolate again. Especially avoid Maltesers for this reason.
Old stuff. Someone once joked that there are door handles in Britain that are older than the US. I laughed, then realised a couple of my door handles were 300 years old. When I lived with my folks most of the house was 500 years old. We call these ‘not that old’ since some stuff goes back thousands of years (there was a boat found 300m from where I type this that is 4500 years old). Try not to break anything – some of it is fragile.
Culture. It’s absolutely everywhere (apart from parts of Birmingham, and Slough of course). Don’t try to notice it all, the human brain isn’t big enough and you’ll have an aneurism if you really try. Just let it wash over you and enjoy the experience. After a while you will stop noticing, just like us.
In terms of being mortally cautious – pretty much nothing. No one will shoot you, even if you are in the wrong part of town. Crime is rare and falling. Poverty is real, but not on a scale the US experiences. Try not to spill anyone’s pint and say hello and thank you and you will be absolutely fine.