You know you’re in England when…
I’ve just returned from my first trip back to the UK in almost two years, where I was lucky enough to spend two weeks with friends and family. This marked the end of my longest stint outside of England, and it was definitely a weird experience going back. Everything was the same, but different. There were so many things that I’d just plain forgotten about having been away for so long, and had a lot of ‘classic England’ moments. Below are a few of my favourite sights and experiences, those moments where you just KNOW you’re in England…
The word ‘Mate’
I didn’t realize how British the word ‘mate’ is before I left. Canadians don’t say it, unless they’re ex-pats ironically greeting each other with ‘alright, mate?’. This was the first picture I took when I was back, of a vending machine at Heathrow. Coca-cola bottles over here say Dude on them. Yup.
30 miles an hour road sign
Looking at this picture almost made me put English villages as a category in themselves. There’s only one country in the world this photo could be taken in, and that’s before I saw the 30 mile an hour sign. I never thought of the white and red circle as particularly iconic while I was living in the UK, but now it’s a sure sign (geddit?) that I’m home.
Double-decker buses aren’t solely limited to England, but they definitely don’t exist as public transit options in Vancouver. I gave myself bonus points for this being a Park and Ride bus (another English classic) and definitely ran up the stairs to sit at the very front…
Driving on the wrong side of the road
Yes, I said wrong. After 4 years of driving on the right hand side, in an automatic, it’s a good thing that I’ve never had the need to drive in England. It would be a disaster. Navigating roads as a pedestrian was bad enough…thank goodness for the road markings in London telling me which way to look.
Pizza Express Doughballs
Definitely forgot about these. Definitely shouldn’t have.
Real, actual chips
I made a vow to not consume a single french fry when in England, and just about managed it. I particularly enjoyed these bad boys as they came with an equally delicious steak and ale pie. Canadians, take note.
Red Phone Boxes
This one has been turned into a library, which may be even cooler than its traditional use. Either way, the red phone box is another British icon.
Cold, wet train stations
Trains aren’t really a thing in Canada, unless you’re going on a luxury trip to Whistler or the Rockies, or down into the US. Whenever I go back to the UK I seem to spend more time on trains than not, and it’s usually pouring with rain. This trip was no different, and I particularly enjoyed freezing my fingers off at Amazingstoke.
Sitting on the floor of trains
As if spending so much time on trains wasn’t bad enough, I had a distinct sense of déjà vu when realizing that the baggage rack was full and I had no choice but to sit on the floor in between two carriages. Late night trains and trips to festivals meant that this was unfortunately not new to me, and I wasn’t the only one sitting there for long.
It still blows my mind how squash doesn’t exist in Canada. I made up for it by drinking gallons of the stuff whenever I could get my hands on any kind of cordial (lemonade and lime, please). Naturally, I had to throw some bourbon biscuits in for good measure.
Pimms and Lemonade
You can get Pimms in Canada, but it’s usually mixed with ginger beer and the fruit to liquid ratio just isn’t on par. This particular glass was served to me in a particularly British pub, and really was delicious.
I know this is specific to London and not the rest of England, but I couldn’t resist. I actually took my camera out to take this picture of an empty train at Oxford Circus as it was such a rare sight. Most of my tube experiences were hot, busy, sweaty, sticky and generally unpleasant. Oh, how I missed it.
Until next time, England…