A short guide to being really, really English.
Visiting England anytime soon? Do these, and you’ll look like you were born here.
Born here? Prove it. Make sure you can tick off all 35 before the end of the year.
Off we pop.
1. Make a cup of tea using a level of concentration rarely found outside the upper ranks of Zen Buddhism.
2. When making tea, add milk first, before the tea goes in.
3. Spend a significant portion of your day explaining to someone why putting the milk in first is the correct way to do it.
4. Open a power-related utility bill and curse loudly.
5. Watch a news report on the television and announce to an empty room that the world has gone “mad – quite mad.”
6. Complain about the weather in one of three ways: “oh, it’s too hot”, “oh, it’s too cold”, or “oh, I hate it when it can’t make its mind up”.
7. Anthropomorphically address the weather – eg. You Heartless Bastard, or Oh Come On, I Bet You Think This Is Funny.
8. Join a queue purely on instinct.
9. Give a bicycle an old-fashioned name (eg. “Bertie”, “Gladys”, “Percy” or “Randolph”).
10. Schedule a day out with friends or family, and upon finding it’s raining, snowing or blowing a gale, take them anyway – then use the phrase “oh, it’s not so bad really” when there’s a respectable chance you’re all going to die.
11. Reference something, usually in the fields of warfare or politics, using extended cricket or football metaphors.
12. Ask someone if they’d like their cup of tea “strong, weak, or just right”.
13. Buy a brand of biscuits purely on their ability to hold together after being dunked in hot tea just long enough to reach one’s mouth. (Say, traditional Hobnobs or Bourbon Creams.)
14. Use the word “dunkability”.
15. Instead of filling the sink with water to wash crockery, place a grubby plastic bowl in the sink and fill that, even though it’s too small to immerse mugs and dinner-plates in it, so you have to wash them in the sink afterwards, sans bowl. When asked about this, attempt to explain how this is saving water in the long run.
16. Stride around the garden wearing short trousers in temperatures low enough to freeze lightning.
17. Press the “next stop” bell on a bus at the wrong moment, feel enough embarrassment to neglect to tell the driver it’s the wrong stop, get off the bus and walk to the correct stop.
18. Apologize to someone for something you both know is their fault.
19. Feel annoyed when a good friend you haven’t seen in years calls by on a day you’re doing nothing important, without arranging it with you in advance.
20. Verbally self-assassinate yourself in a protracted bout of savage self-depreciation, completely confusing any Americans in the room.
21. Suggest anything – a bitter divorce, a property-destroying gas explosion, a sucking gunshot wound – can be fixed with a nice cup of tea.
22. Put money into some kind of pub amusement machine without a shred of hope of either winning anything or enjoying the experience.
23. Try to get someone interested in The Archers by using wildly inappropriate metaphors such as “It’s like a suburban Game Of Thrones.”
24. Avoid confrontation by saying “yes, perhaps” when you really mean “I’d rather roast in Hell.”
25. Open a door for someone in a way where it takes far longer and is far more labour-intensive than just letting that person open it themselves. Bonus points: entirely blocking the way in both directions while you do this.
26. When asked “How are you today?” take great pains to answer in full, leaving nothing out.
27. Gently sabotage your own reputation at work when you hear that a special fuss will be made of the month’s most outstanding employee.
28. Be reduced to giggles by the word “spunk” and the name “Randy”, while not batting an eyelid at the word “fag”.
29. When queuing on foot or in traffic, pointedly refuse to notice the person trying to attract your attention in order to ask to go in front of you, so you don’t have to be rude to them.
30. Argue that sandwiches taste better when cut diagonally into triangles.
31. Feel crippling shame for the week after giving a bus-driver a £10 note at the beginning of the day, or giving a £20 to a shop-keeper 5 minutes before closing time.
32. Realise halfway through reciting a joke that you can’t hold the audience’s attention as far as the punchline – and feel a wash of gratitude when someone rudely interrupts you.
33. Apologize to a person vandalizing your possessions – eg. “Excuse me, I’m terribly sorry but that’s my Morris Minor you’ve just thrown a brick through the windscreen of.”
34. Assume something is high quality because it was manufactured in either Britain or Germany. Assume the opposite if it was manufactured in America or France.
35. Think nothing of newspaper headlines like “Man, 98, Dies”, or “Hat Found In Tree”.
Edit: Far, far funnier than this post: this twitter feed.
Sorry, everyone, I should have directed you there first.
Oh, I feel awful about this now.
Look – just forget this post ever happened. What do you say?
Images: Elliot Brown, Jimmy & Sasha Reade and peasap.
With thanks to the many, many people who added their thoughts to a Facebook post on this topic earlier in the year.