A Canadian friend of mine lives with her British boyfriend here in London. As such, she’s had much more exposure to British culture than I’ve had, and often provides me with valuable insights on a weekly basis. The other day she remarked on the difference in simple, every-day expressions. “Did you know the British don’t let their tea steep?” she asked.
“What are you talking about? Of course they do. That’s the whole point of tea. They’re some of the world’s biggest tea drinkers.”
“Yeah,” she replied, “but they don’t actually say ‘steep’. They say ‘brew’.”
“But that’s ridiculous! You don’t let a tea bag brew in constantly boiling water. And you can’t brew tea like you brew beer, either. Weird.”
“Right? I thought so too!” she replied, glad to have her expat view validated. “I mean after all those years of drinking Tim Horton’s’ ‘Steeped Tea’, I come here and find out I’ve been saying it all wrong.” I rolled my eyes.
“Timmy Ho’s is wrong too. ‘Steeped tea’ is redundant. If you’re selling tea as a beverage, it’s always steeped. Gah! Again, it’s the whole point of drinking tea.”
Abnormal frustration over linguistic quibbles aside, it got me thinking about stuff British people like that I will never understand:
1) Marmite - a yeast extract spread for toast. Mmm.. tastes like toe jam!
2) Cold toast - toast that's grown cold and THEN buttered. Shudder.
3) Mushy peas.
4) Saying 'vye-a' when the word 'via' is clearly Latin and should be pronounced 'vee-a'.
5) Obsession with the Royal Family.
6) Hating the French.
7) Secretly wanting to be French and then hating themselves for it.
8) Keeping their buildings draughty and frigid ON PURPOSE.
9) Thinking that wet, windy, cold weather is 'invigorating'.
10) Feeding pigeons. You don't see people in New York feeding the rats, do you?