Rest and Words

Some months ago when I mentioned taking a big vacation to Britain, my doctor said she was a little dubious about trips where people run around constantly, exhausting themselves so that at the end they need a vacation from their vacation. I’m not sure “running around constantly” quite applies to us, since we tend to go to one place each day and explore it thoroughly, but nevertheless, after over a week of exploring York and the Edinburgh area we’re feeling tired – and Margaret has to last two more weeks beyond the end our our stay in Britain next weekend, for the Cantabile Choirs’ trip to Paris and another week in Britain after that. So today we took the predicted heavy rain as an excuse to justify taking a day off.
I decided to write up a few Britishisms we encountered – words or phrases that are different from what we say in Canada. Lots of people know about “boot” for trunk and “petrol” for gasoline, but here are some that I’d never heard before.

  • Alight – get off the train, and probably other modes of transportation
  • Central reserve – the median strip on a divided highway or brief stretch of city street.
  • Concession – special rate for somebody over 60 (possibly including military and students, from a conversation I overheard). We joked that I was conceding I’m approaching geezerhood.
  • Crisps – chips, since “chips” means “french fries”
  • Footpath – sidewalk
  • Guarded – has a guard rail to prevent you from falling off a drop. Several sections of the city walls in York were unguarded, which was unkind to my vertigo.
  • Mind the gap – when getting off a train or subway, this is what you’re told instead of “watch your step.”
  • Sorted – roughly equivalent to “straightened out” or “fixed up”
  • Stance – place where you wait for a bus and maybe other things. In Sterling we were told to wait at Stance 2 for the hop-on, hop-off tour bus.
  • Tatties and neeps – potatoes and turnips
  • Way out – exit, instead of “very unusual”
I imagine there will be others over the next week.
This is in “writing” instead of “travel” because it suggests that adding a few slightly-odd phrases, with context, can help give a sense of being in a different culture.

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