They Speak English, and We, American

One of the absolute best (and most surprisingly enjoyable) activities this European trip, has been listening to Londoners simply…speak. Although the UK and the US each profess to speak primarily English, we don’t really share a common language. There are distinct and definite differences!  London-speak is much more delightful, indubitably. (Sorry, the English really don’t speak that way either, except for perhaps Sherlock Holmes.) Herewith, please find a few conversations overheard – or witnessed on television – by me, on this trip to London-town.

(You must read the following with a British accent):

  • A young man with friends about to enter a pub one rainy night in the West End: “You do know I’ll fog up my glasses if we go in there.”
  • A couple behind me (he older, she younger and of Asian descent wearing a fur coat) while standing in line at the TKTS booth in Leicester Square
    waiting to buy show tickets:

 He-“How about Deathtrap?”

She-“Oh, we’ve already seen that.”

He-“I haven’t seen it.”

She-“But there’s probably nobody in it. Nobody famous, anyway.”

  •  A gentleman, with his female companion, while standing at the end of a row of seats in front of me at the Prince Edward Theater as “Jersey Boys” was about to start. (The people in the entire row had just stood up to let them pass to the two empty seats at the very end of the row.): “Oh, but this isn’t our row anyhow is it?”  When the jaws of all those standing dropped, he said, “Just kidding,” and went to sit down in the seats.  Everyone laughed.

Prince Edward Theater, London

  • Same theater, an older woman to her friend, sitting right behind me, right before the show start-“Doll, we’d better mind our manners here so we don’t get thrown out like we did in Ipswich.” I giggled as softly as I could. Really I did.


  • Same theater, just before the start of the same show. The announcer, after having asked all of us to switch off our mob-EYE-les and pagers: “And now might be the time to unwrap any hard candies or soothing sweets you wish to enjoy.” Wow. Hadn’t even thought of that. Marvelous suggestion! Those wrappers are a bit crackly, aren’t they?
  • At the Remembrance Day parade on Sunday when the Royal Family was passing by so that Queen Elizabeth could lay the wreath of poppies at the Cenotaph on Whitehall. (Yes, I unexpectedly saw the Queen, Prince Charles, etc.):

 Mom to teenage daughter and me-“And that is Prince Andrew with his new bride. I think she’s Wessex, or something.”

 Daughter (aghast)-“His wife’s name is Wessex????” 

 (Hysterical. Mom’s remarks were incorrect, however. Prince Andrew has no new bride. And Prince Edward, the Queen’s youngest child, married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999. They hold the title of Earl and Countess of Wessex. It is frightfully hard to keep all the royals organized, isn’t it?)


  • Again on Remembrance Day, a dapper bearded gentleman who, after having witnessed me try unsuccessfully to hop up onto a ledge (an incredibly comical endeavour) in order to better see the parade and take photos, and who had recruited another gentleman to give me a lift up, and to whom (along with his wife) I had just said after successfully – and rather gracefully, I must say, with their assistance – landing squarely on my rump on the ledge, “Oh, I hope no one had a video camera nearby just now”  –“Oh, yes (pointing down the road), up there is a man from the BBC. You’re going to be on the 6 o’clock news!”


  • The soldiers on Remembrance Day: “For your tomorrow, we gave our today.”
  • At the Tower of London today as soldiers were preparing to fire off 3 cannons a total of 62 times in honor of Prince Charles’s birthday, a mother said to me and her son, of the soldiers -“And now we have the ceremonial waiting around a bit prior to the firing.”
  •  At the site of the executions of Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Gray, and others, in the courtyard of the Tower, a teacher accompanying a class of what looked like 3rd or 4th graders, to me-  “So this is where they chopped off their heads?”    I-“Yes.”   She–“Okay (turning to her class), then let’s take a picture!”
  • The whirling inscription on the glass sculpture at the execution site: “Gentle visitor pause awhile-where you stand death cut away the light of many days-here jewelled names were broken from the vivid thread of life-may they rest in peace while we walk the generations around their strife and courage under these restless skies.”

Tower of London

  • (And, British television! I really do think we might need to get cable at home, just in the off-chance that we find some British reality shows…)

“I think I’d quite like to not die of embarrassment.”

“If you don’t go for it, then I’ll officially have to whip out my allure.”

“Do you want to fork the wee, or rake poo?”

“It smells like my first boss.”

“These aren’t used for breeding. They’re used for bacon.”

“Sue and I haven’t got any parents to take over the goat feces.”

“Don’t let your ambition exceed your abilities.”  “Too late.”

“We’re still killing things, right?”  “Right. And quite painfully.”  “Great.”

“That basically tastes like wee smells after you eat asparagus.”

“Shedding these peas is so frightfully tiring, Nanny.”

“You don’t have to eat meat to get delicious, you just have to add 40,000 kilos of butter.”

“Oh, dear, that’s gone quite badly wrong.”


(See? I have laughed more in London than anywhere else this trip just by listening to the English speak English! Great fun!)


8 thoughts on “They Speak English, and We, American

  1. Lovely read. Being frightfully English myself, I have to confess that every now and again, I come out with some classics that would have you in stitches.
    Did the ‘allure’ quote come from Miranda – one of my favourite British comedys? Her mother rather reminds me of mine (but don’t tell her I said so!)


    • “Miranda”! No, I’ve not watched it but I plan to! I loved Camilla Hart in “Call the Midwife”! The “allure” quote was from an hysterical television show, the name of which I’ve lost, unfortunately! It depicted a couple trying to learn how to farm? I remember lying in my tiny room near Earl’s Court, exhausted, not wanting to move, and just laughing hysterically at the television at the foot of my bed.
      Kat, perhaps I should interview you sometime and you could give me some “classics” to add to my list!
      My very best to you. I am so enjoying following your travels!

      Liked by 1 person

    • renatemarie

      I sent it to you, I promise, Brother. I’d love to talk to you about it. It was a life-changer! (They all are, aren’t they?) Love, Sis


  2. Darlene

    It’s so much fun to hear your stories. And, yes, British TV is the best! Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, old and new, Masterpiece, just can’t get enough.


    • renatemarie

      Oh, yes, LOVE those shows, Darlene. The show I watched there was a little different than those, though! Hysterical!


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