English Language...

The Loony Bin ( loonies@bloodaxe.demon.co.uk )
Thu, 23 Oct 1997 13:06:44 -0400 (EDT)

Hiya All...

Because we're English, some of our Loony friends overseas have a little
difficulty with the language. Here's a guide...sent in by MA Porter...

Wishes & Dreams...


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***                                                 ***
***                 THE LOONY BIN                   ***
***           loonies@bloodaxe.demon.co.uk          ***
*** Archive: http://eleceng.ukc.ac.uk/~pjw/loonies/ ***
***                                                 ***
*******************Internet Goddess********************

  ------- Forwarded foolishness follows -------

The Brits have peculiar words for many things. Money is referred to 
as "goolies" in slang, so you should for instance say "I'd love to 
come to the pub but I haven't got any goolies."  "Quid" is the modern 
word for what was once called a "shilling" -- the equivalent of 
seventeen cents American. Underpants are called "wellies" and friends 
are called "tossers." If you are fond of someone, you should tell him 
he is a "great tosser" -- he will be touched. 

The English are a notoriously demonstrative, tactile people, and if you
want to fit in you should hold hands with your acquaintances and tossers
when you walk down the street. Public nuzzling and licking are also 
encouraged, but only between people of the same sex.
Ever since their Tory government wholeheartedly embraced full union
with Europe, the Brits have been attempting to adopt certain
continental customs, such as the large midday meal followed by a two
or three-hour siesta, which they call a "wank." As this is still a
fairly new practice in Britain, it is not uncommon for people to
oversleep (alarm clocks, alas, do not work there due to the 
magnetic pull from Greenwich). If you are late for supper, simply 
apologize and explain that you were having a wank -- everyone will 
understand and forgive you.
University archives and manuscript collections are still governed by
quaint medieval rules retained out of respect for tradition; hence
patrons are expected to bring to the reading rooms their own 
ink-pots and a small knife for sharpening their pens. Observing these 
customs will signal the librarians that you are "in the know" -- one 
of the inner circle, as it were, for the rules are unwritten and not 
posted anywhere in the library. Likewise, it is customary to kiss the
librarian on both cheeks when he brings a manuscript you've 
requested a practice dating back to the reign of Henry VI.

One of the most delighful ways to spend an afternoon in Oxford or
Cambridge is gliding gently down the river in one of their flat-
bottomed boats, which you propel using a long pole. This is known as
"cottaging." Many of the boats (called "yer-i-nals") are privately
owned by the colleges, but there are some places that rent them to 
the public by the hour. Just tell a professor or policeman that you 
are interested in doing some cottaging and would like to know where 
the public yerinals are. The poles must be treated with vegetable 
oil to protect them from the water, so it's a good idea to buy a can 
of Crisco and have it on you when you ask directions to the 
yerinals. That way people will know you are an experienced cottager.

British cuisine enjoys a well deserved reputation as the most 
sublime gastronomic pleasure available to man. Thanks to today's 
robust dollar, the American traveller can easily afford to dine out 
several times a week (rest assured that a British meal is worth 
interrupting your afternoon wank for). Few foreigners are aware that 
there are several grades of meat in the UK. The best cuts of meat, 
like the best bottles of gin, bear Her Majesty's seal, called the 
British Stamp of Excellence (BSE). When you go to a fine restaurant, 
tell your waiter you want BSE beef and won't settle for anything 
less. If he balks at your request, custom dictates that you jerk your 
head imperiously back and forth while rolling your eyes to show him 
who is boss. 

Once the waiter realizes you are a person of discriminating taste, he
may offer to let you peruse the restaurant's list of exquisite British
wines. If he doesn't, you should order one anyway. The best wine grapes
grow the steep, chalky hillsides of Yorkshire and East Anglia -- try an
Ely '84 or Ripon '88 for a rare treat indeed.  

When the bill for your meal comes it will show a suggested amount. Pay
whatever you think is fair, unless you plan to dine there again, in
which case you should simply walk out; the restaurant host will
understand that he should run a tab for you.
Public taxis are subsidized by the Her Majesty's Government. A taxi
ride in London costs two pounds, no matter how far you travel. If a
taxi driver tries to overcharge you, you should yell "I think not, 
you charlatan!", then grab the nearest bobby and have the driver 
arrested. It is rarely necessary to take a taxi, though, since bus 
drivers are required to make detours at patrons' requests.  Just 
board any bus, pay your fare of thruppence (the heavy gold-colored 
coins are "pence"), and state your destination clearly to the 
driver, e.g.: "Please take me to the British Library."  A driver 
will frequently try to have a bit of harmless fun by pretending he 
doesn't go to your requested destination. Ignore him, as he is only 
teasing the American tourist (little does he know you're not so 

Speaking of the British Library, you should know that it has recently
moved to a new location at Kew.  Kew is a small fishing village in
Wales. It can be reached by taking the train to Cardiff; once there, ask
any local about the complimentary shuttle bus to Kew.  Don't forget that
buses are called "prams" in England, and trains are called
"bumbershoots"--it's a little confusing at first. Motorcycles are called
"lorries" and the  hospital, for reasons unknown, is called the "off-

It's also very important to know that a "doctor" only means a PhD in
England, not a physician. If you want a physician, you must ask for an
"MP" (which stands for "master physician").
For those travelling on a shoestring budget, the London Tube may be
the most economical way to get about, especially if you are a woman.
Chivalry is alive and well in Britain, and ladies still travel for
free on the Tube.  Simply take some tokens from the baskets at the base
of the escalators or on the platforms; you will find one near any of the
state-sponsored Tube musicians. 

Once on the platform, though, beware!  Approaching trains sometimes
disturb the large Gappe bats that roost in the tunnels.  The Gappes were
smuggled into London in the early 19th century by French saboteurs and
have proved impossible to exterminate. The announcement "Mind  the
Gappe!" is a signal that you should grab your hair and look towards the
ceiling.  Very few people have ever been killed by Gappes, though, and
they are considered only a minor drawback to an otherwise excellent
means of transportation. (If you have difficulty locating the Tube
station, merely follow the signs that say "Subway" and ask one of 
the full-time attendants where you can catch the bumbershoot.)

One final note: for preferential treatment when you arrive at 
Heathrow airport, announce that you are a member of Sinn Fein,
pronounced 'shin fane' (an international Jewish peace organization --
the "sinn" stands for "shalom").  As savvy travellers know, this little
white lie will assure you priority treatment as you make your way
through customs; otherwise you could waste all day in line. You might,
in fact, want to ask a customs agent to put a Sinn Fein stamp in your
passport, as it will expedite things on your return trip.

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