by Stephen Andrews
Let’s face it, British people are totally mad. Take Brexit. Once you didn’t need a passport to travel anywhere in Europe if you were British, but now you do. Duh! Or how about the trains? If a train is due to leave at 10 o’clock, that actually means it’ll leave at 10 minutes past 10, or even later. And another stupid thing about trains in Britain is that they won’t let them run if there are leaves on the railway track. If you’re waiting for a bus, you can wait for one for ages and then 3 will come along all at once. You’d think they’d space them out! If you’re living or visiting London, just go and have a look at the soldiers guarding Buckingham Palace – they all wear funny-looking furry hats. And the men looking after the Tower of London all wear red skirts, stockings and garters, like ladies. Some of the maddest people in Britain are politicians. Recently, as you may know, they had a Prime Minister called Liz Truss and they let her ruin the British economy. Weird! Here are some other examples of British madness…
The British were born to queue. It’s in their genes. It’s a major British pastime. They love to queue for the bus. They queue for toilets. They can’t wait for shops to have a sale, so they can queue overnight in the pouring rain. Same goes for tennis at Wimbledon. They bring along a tent with them and queue overnight in the freezing cold just to get a ticket. It’s totally mad. Why don’t they buy a ticket online like the rest of the world? And never ever do what they call ‘queue jumping’. That means pushing in front of other people. In Britain, that’s almost like a crime. Here’s an example of how much they love a queue: once I was standing in the street just having a look in a shop window, when I noticed a man standing behind me and then, a few moments later, someone stood behind him and before I know it, there was a huge queue snaking down Oxford Street. And there was nothing to queue for. That’s how much they love a queue, they’ll start one at the drop of a hat. Unbelievable!
Drinking tea every 5 minutes
In Britain, a cup of tea – also known as a ‘nice cuppa’ – is a cure for everything. If you’ve just split up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, or lost your job, then there’s an easy way to feel better. Just go and make yourself a cup of tea and everything will be fine again. And make sure it’s very strong and you put milk and two sugars in it, otherwise it’s not really a good cup of British tea. Even if nothing bad has happened, the English are just obsessed with having a cup of tea every couple of hours. The Brits love tea so much they even invented a new time of day – ‘teatime’. No other county on the world has teatime. But they didn’t stop there, they also invented the ‘high tea’. This is when you go along to a teashop or hotel and have tea with scones and sandwiches and lots of cakes. It’s delicious, but can be expensive and you might put on weight!
Now everyone loves cheese, right? But you wouldn’t go around chasing cheese, would you? Well, the British do. If you don’t believe me, all you have to do is visit Cooper’s Hill in Gloucestershire on a Spring Bank Holiday Monday. Local people gather at 12 o’clock in the afternoon to chase big circular bits of cheese shaped like wheels, down a big, very steep hill. True! Sounds a bit dangerous, doesn’t it? Well, it is. In 1997, a total of 33 competitors were injured. Serves them right, they’re all mad!
Another strange English tradition. What happens is that once a year, in villages and towns throughout England, people dress up in silly costumes decorated with flowers and ribbons. Men have to wear a white shirt and trousers, and they get themselves a big stick and attach little bells to it. They face each other in two lines, then hop up and down and dance towards each other. Once they’re facing each other they tap their sticks together to make the bells ring, dance backwards again and repeat over and over. It’s almost as mad as another tradition called ‘dancing around the Maypole’. In this, someone puts up a big pole in the middle of a village. Long ribbons are attached to it and people come along, grab a ribbon and dance around the pole until they’re dizzy. Oh, and if you’re wondering who Morris was, well, nobody really knows. Another mad English person, probably!
The British never stop saying sorry, even when they’ve done nothing wrong. They say it all the time, they just can’t help themselves. If you step on someone’s foot, they’ll apologise to you: ‘So, sorry, my foot was in the way!’ Or if they want to get your attention: ‘Sorry for disturbing you’. Or if they’re in a restaurant, their meal was awful and they want to return it: ‘I’m so sorry, I don’t want to cause a fuss, I’m sure your chef is wonderful, but, I’m really sorry, could I possibly return it, do you think?’ They even say sorry for saying ‘sorry’ too much: ‘So sorry, I keep saying sorry. Oh, sorry, I just did it again! Sorry!’
Refusing a favour
Even when they really want something, a typical British person will keep refusing it when it’s offered. For instance, if you’ve gone for a coffee with a friend and they discover they’ve lost their purse and you offer to pay for them, they’ll say: ‘Are you sure?’ ‘Really?’ ‘Oh, no, I couldn’t possibly!’ And they’ll go on like that for ages until they finally give in and say; ‘Okay, then, but only if you insist…’ It’s guaranteed to drive you nuts!
Going for a ‘Cheeky One’
Lately, British people have taken to going for ‘a cheeky one’. What does this mean? No one really knows, but it’s all about giving yourself an excuse for doing something that you feel guilty about. Some examples: ‘I think I’ll go for a cheeky MacDonalds’. Or ‘Do you fancy a cheeky Nando’s?’ Or: ‘Let’s have a cheeky pint!’
Actually, anything could be cheeky, when you think about it. I mean, in any other country in the world, you’d just go and do it, wouldn’t you? Yet another example of British weirdness!
So, remember, when you’re in Britain and see something you think is really strange, don’t worry, for the Brits, it’s perfectly normal!