Tourism to the U.K is at an all-time high. The government finally switched off that bloody racket Big Ben was making and we can finally hear ourselves think. Now everyone wants a piece. And you know what, come on in, take a slice; the pies still warm enough. But, take heed of my words and read my tips.
1. If you go to the supermarket, they’ll charge you five pence for a plastic bag to store your shopping. No self-respecting person will spend that 5p so, to most of us, there are two choices: walk home whilst trying to fit 12 different items in your pockets. Or, and this is the far more popular option: once the cashier has scanned everything and asked you whether you’ll be needing a bag, just storm out without any of your purchases. There is a third option though. One that is not known to the masses. It takes a keen eye and a sure hand but it’s well worth the risk. At some point during your shopping, go to the fruit section and grab about six of those little transparent bags. I think they’re called ‘produce bags’ but there’s not a lot of official documentation on them. Anyway, preemptively put a load of them in your basket like you’re thinking of picking up ten limes at any moment. Then, once you’re right at the finish line, pull those little bags out and fill them with your shopping. Lately, I like to leave a couple of unused transparent fruit bags at the self-service for shoppers in need of a Sainsbury’s angel.
2. In the U.K, a holiday is only one day long. That’s why it’s called a holiday. Because of this, most people like to vacation within two-three miles of their home. Some people go to places like Italy but then leave within four hours of landing. That’s why you always see so many British people sprinting around the Colosseum. ‘Wake up and go to sleep in your own bed’ is the motto of the British Travel Agents Association.
3. It’s 2017, we all thought Wifi would be everywhere by now. But, we’ve got to face the cold, hard truth: It just isn’t. There is a solution, though, and it’s generally all around. For when you can’t find a McDonalds to linger outside, try tailing an Addison Lee. They’re a chain of taxis who offer free wifi to passengers which you can steal if you get right up their arse.
4. The main form of communication is still telegram. Sometimes we get news many years after the rest of the world. The film ‘Titanic’ was originally banned here because news of it’s sinking still hadn’t reached the majority of the country. Most of the next-of-kins of those who perished in the disaster still hadn’t been informed of their death at the time of the film’s 1997 release.
5. When the weather is particularly warm, people will compare it with other locations around the world which, at the moment, aren’t as warm as here. They will comment on how it’s warmer here than it is in Sydney even though they are fully aware that it’s the middle of summer here and the middle of winter there.
6. If you’re speaking with a British person about an upcoming trip you have planned. They will immediately respond with ‘Is there room for me in your suitcase?’ or something like that. Don’t be alarmed, this is just a joke. If they don’t say it, they’re probably not British.
7. We’re not really 100% on rubbish: how to get rid of it and how often we should do that. If you walk down any residential street, it’s customary to walk in the road because there will be a 260-strong rainbow of bins strewn across the entire pavement.
8. Over 80% of cars have a Manual Transmission. Remember the film District 9, when the main character (Chris?) started turning into an alien? The first things to become prawn-like were his hands. He was, rightly so, very worried. So, soon after that, he acquired a car so he could get away and just take a personal day. He needed it. But, anyway, in the International version, the car had an Automatic transmission. But filmmakers were worried that British viewers wouldn’t be able to relate, so in the version made for us, the car he acquired was a Manual. This meant that he couldn’t move the car because you can’t change gears with a prawn hand. So, the film ended immediately after that scene. The reviews were substantially more positive than the original.
9. We still have National Service. But instead of a year in the military, everyone does 12 months in Chimney Sweeping school.
10. As mentioned above, sometimes international films are slightly changed so they make more sense to British people. Kind of like the opposite to the whole ‘Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone’ thing. When you’re here, it’ll seem like you’re watching a very clever knock-off copy but don’t be alarmed, the filmmakers just recorded two different versions. It’s all legit. A good example is the film The Dark Knight Rises. In the British version, instead of wearing a mask, Tom Hardy’s character Bane has a beard. This is due to the fact he was unable to have a fag or a lager with the mask on and test audiences found that to be very hard to relate to.
11. A few years ago, there were reports that people on motorcycles would ride close to the pavement so they could snatch pedestrian’s phones. As a defence mechanism, we all walk in very tight groups as far away from the roadside of the pavement as possible. If you see someone walking on their own, approach them, preferably at a run, and then hold onto their hand/shoulder.
12. It’s impossible to use someone else’s shower without detailed instruction.
13. If you need to return some clothes that you have obviously worn, always do it in person. British people are too awkward to call you out in a public setting so the Cashier will just chuck that money right back into your account. The person on the other end of a postal return doesn’t have to deal with any awkwardness whilst deciding whether or not your soft cheese-stained trousers have been worn. It’s why we don’t have tuxedo rental places. We just buy a suit from Topman, wear it for the entirety of wedding season, then return it 28 days later.