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Things You Can Depend On in Britain- Like a Nice Cuppa Tea!

Updated on January 22, 2014

I guess there are worse places to live, like Texas

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The British Standby...a Nice Cuppa Tea (and a digestive biscuit)Even the neighbourhood plod gets his cuppa!British humorBrits view politics like thisCameron at work behind the scenes...but we're on to him
The British Standby...a Nice Cuppa Tea (and a digestive biscuit)
The British Standby...a Nice Cuppa Tea (and a digestive biscuit)
Even the neighbourhood plod gets his cuppa!
Even the neighbourhood plod gets his cuppa!
British humor
British humor
Brits view politics like this
Brits view politics like this
Cameron at work behind the scenes...but we're on to him
Cameron at work behind the scenes...but we're on to him

A Sinking Ship - but some of the rats still love the place!

A Nice Cuppa Tea. You will never, semantically, get a nasty cup of tea in Britain. These days, realistically, you will rarely get a nice one, either, made as it is from a stale tea-bag. But you will always be asked to have a "nice cuppa tea," and you will be required to - or find yourself saying after having a few cups along life's journey - "Oooo, lovely, thanks" adding "Mmmmm...mmm" if the often insipid beverage is accompanied by a couple of tasteless, sugary digestive biscuits. Don't ask me why they are called "digestive biscuits," perhaps once, when biscuits first came into being, some were so indigestable - like the ship's biscuits with weevils in them - a new sort was called for that people could actually turn into poop without getting stomach woes.

British Weather. Unlike more balmy climes such as the States (for Texas, change to barmy...right Misty?), where the sun is expected to shine more or less continuously for months on end, Britain really does get weather. Generally not the kind that kills you, as that in America when the sunshine does change to hurricanes and twisters drowning the unlucky or even taking them and their automobile aloft never to be seen again. But in Britain to be a weather person on Television is a serious career choice and the BBC, for example, would loose half its programming if they didn't report the weather every few minutes on their news. The Weather Gods or whoever is responsible for climate has arranged things in Britain so we have some really glorious clear sunny days from 4:00 am to 10:00 pm; these are usually allowed between 3 and 5 days per year and are received with some chagrin by the weather reporters who are at a loss for something to report all day, except to mutter grimly that a "front" is coming over the Irish Sea bringing a "belt" of rain which will soon end our summery jinks.

A normal day in the UK for eight months at least of the year commonly contains about five changes, from mist and freezing fog in the morning, to rain by midday, sunny spells in the late afternoon just in time for the sun to be of the angle it shines uncomfortably in your eyes while driving the kids home from school, back to rain in the evening and a drop in temperature causing black ice on the motorway under the many bridge abuttments. Recent higher than normal rainfall has seen thousands flooded out of their homes (I saw with no little glee that the floods hit the wealthy this time in the Surrey Stockbroker Belt as the Thames broke its banks...of course, this gave them a chance to move into the yacht, the London flat, or run around in the amphibean vehicle, and even the PM went to see them, but they were put out for once). Now that is something a weather girl can get her teeth and sadistic tendencies into!

Dislike of our European Partners. Although the European Union has being going for a couple of generations and being added-to with much pleasure on the mainland, the British like none of it and see themselves as superior to all other members. Although we are arguably the poor men of the continent in most ways that count: treatment of elderly and the young, expensive housing, petrol and consumer goods; the ability to prepare food, the way we dress, our potholed roads, filthy cities and awful resorts...the bloody weather! I could go on here but it's not a rant against but rather FOR the better things here - I wish they were easier to find!

The British sense of humor. The saving and perhaps necessary grace of this beleagured and torn island(s) is the often hilarious sense of humor which makes the British able to laugh at themselves more ably than any others I have met. OK, perhaps they have more reason to find life a comical and often rugged journey. But you won't be around a Brit long before he is poking fun at himself, his buds or the land he lives in. Yet the British are extremely patriotic under the sardonic veneer. ("This is my friend, Terry," a chap might say, "He's a bit of a dickhead but we're used to him!"). You have only to hear sports spectators or a concert audience bellowing the inane national anthem, "God save the Queen" to realize that we apparently love the place and its rulers. How the bloody monarch can bear to listen to that sonorous and boastful nonsense without turning royal purple with embarrasment and issuing a proclamation banning it is beyond me. But royalty and the subservience to it has always caused me to have gas.

The British disdain for money. Yes, it's true, we are nowhere near turned on by the "almighty dollar," or pound, stirling as our cousins in the USA or even the French and Germans across the sea. The British are living in a country known as "RIP" for "Rip-Off Britain." We are surrounded by foreigners (mainly) after our pathetic savings and/or wages. This comes from online crooks in scores of other nations - stand-out is Nigeria - trying to dupe us into buying into some scam or other on the Internet. The "Payday Loans" unregulated, quasi-legal swine who lend money and charge despotic rates of interest are represented by a dozen firms advertising in a big way on television. We are taxed and regulated to the point of insanity. LIke sheep, the poor of the country get more and more into debt. Goodness knows - but one can guess - what the end will be as baliffs try to remove their poor sticks of furniture when they fail to pay, as thousands are sure to do, or not to do. (A baliff told me in all seriousness they try to get their hands on a person's sentimental belongings as they might be persuaded to pay to get them back, and their goods are worth nothing...this is especially true as bankruptcy sales do well to net 10 cents on the dollar).

Yet, along with the champs, the North Americans, the British are among the most generous of charity givers to the literally hundreds of agencies and charity shops begging funds for children, animals, hospitals and other country's refugees. That a huge percent of this money goes into the charity CEO's pockets really doesn't get the givers irate (except me!). Because - and Freud would have a field day - the British really don't love money all that much and will happily give you some if you have a good story. (Note: to those reading this article and sensing a chance, I am more French in my outlook...f--k off!).

An excess of good manners? You can test this by kicking someone in the shins, stepping on their toes, or running your cart into them in the supermarket. Although wincing in pain and secretly wishing you dead, the victim will invariable say, "Oh, so sorry" As if he had been the aggressor. This scenario is laughed at and derided, but I rather like the habit. Usually, he or she who committed the minor infraction against you is about to say sorry, too, so the situation is defused (unless you are dealing with an OAP which might bare its gums and snarl at you as it grumbles away, or a more honest American visitor who might say, "Hey, fella, why don't you look where you're going!").

Queueing manners. The British never jump queues, and won't like it if you do but probably won't protest. They will wait for hours for buses (days even for concert tickets or store sales) and remain mannerly when the conveyance arrives, often late here. In fact, there is often some delay as two "after you, no, I insist, after you" gentlemen hold things up further. Although these lovely manners are dying it's still common for a customer to hold the door for you to enter an establishment (such as a bank) first, although you will then be ahead in the line. .( I have stopped opening car doors for females; stepping off the pavement for them, or holding their chairs in restaurants having been given the cold feminist shoulder too many times...this can be useful if they will stand in during a bar fight for you).

Polite police and officials. After the martial attitude of police and security employees in the US, I have been impressed until up to maybe the last couple of years (it has changed some) by how low- key, polite and obliging these officials have been. I fondly remember bringing an ex. and our exquisite 4-year-old child into Heathrow airport some years ago. Not only was her status as my Mexican wife ignored, she was welcomed into the country with huge smiles by a motherly immigration officer who swept daughter, Montserrat, into her arms and the other all made a fuss of her. My ex. never forgot that and it colored favourable her view of Britain forever. It has changed I am afraid, since Lockerbie, 9-11 and the ingress of millions of Europeans "intent on stealing British jobs and getting on benefits!" Probably some truth in that anyway.

Unfailing dislike and mistrust of politicians. Unlike the US where millions seem to actually like the countries leaders or the pretenders for power, in Britain most vote but generally dislike even the party that wins the X on the line. We never trust them and not one in the current crop even receives an iota of respect. The personable PM, Cameron is perceived - rightly- as putting his buddies in big business ahead of all else. We even see today that one large pub chain has won the contract to put pubs - bars - in the motorway service stops! Just what the weary driver wants, a few belts to help him get home! And there are a hundred instances of commerce winning contacts at varience from the public interest or desire. Take fracking, the ridiculous new high speed train, nucleur power (with the work going to France). (Do we really need a train to do more than 250 mph on the journey between London and Birmingham of about 150 miles! The thing will never get up to speed). Politicians are seen as liars, power brokers, lazy and thieves, in league with banks and utiity companies. It's a wonder we don't actually shoot them often here like in the US, but we will never like or trust them.

Our beleagured yet wonderful NHS. The National Health Service in Britain is a huge miracle hanging on by the skin of its teeth to survive. It costs a hundred billion a year or more and provides FREE health service to everyone, rich or poor, old or young and is a life saver for millions. People from the US or most other nations can't understand just how reassuring it is to be able to go and see a doctor and get all the medications and not have to worry about paying a sou. Is it abused? Yes, of course, there are many who take advantage. But it saves hundreds of lives daily and if the bloody Tories don't destroy it, the NHS will remain the star jewel in Britain's crown.

So there is something to like and depend upon, at least for now, in Britain. I wish we could reset life as easily as a computer by returning to a past time. But we cannot, and much of what was good is being lost and only replaced with the ugliness becoming all too familiar...but sadly we'll never loose the bloody weather!!


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    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 

      4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Bob. I really enjoyed this hub, it is so true. A great observation of modern Britain and written like a true Brit. Tip Top.

      voted up and all.


    • diogenes profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Thanks all for comments, all read and greatly appreciated. Yes, SD, people gallop around here as if they all had a train to catch; I amble after my years in Mexico, even in the car and its like living with a lot in hyperdrive!

      Bobbi: I HATE the British regional accents, many incomprehensible to me, too. I miss the laconic, relaxed English of the USA (North!).

      Gemma: Glad you have British friends, the Brits don't do friendship easily and are mostly standoffish at first.

      Tireless T. Yes, though it was Labour that began the NHS not Winnie..

      Bob xo

    • stricktlydating profile image


      4 years ago from Australia

      G'day Bob! This Hub made me giggle and smile. I have fond memories of living in England. I particularly remember in London I would always step up the pace and walk faster, around the Tube areas with commuters, my gosh they move quickly in London!

    • BobbiRant profile image


      4 years ago from New York

      I adore British films (even though I may not always understand the heavy accent) like Game of Thrones and recently The Sweeny. The Sweeny was a wonderful action film. I see the royal family has to dip into their money reserves these days. Sounds kind of like America, no money, or maybe just a priority problem. I like this hub, I always learn something from your hubs. Great job.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Wonderful hub, Bob. I have a couple of Brit friends, and I can easily see what you mean about the British sense of humor and their ability to laugh at themselves, as well as their good manners and charitable hearts. I think it’s endearing. Anywho, I loved your take on “The Sinking Ship.” Very interesting read! :-)

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      4 years ago from California

      You have just explained the difficulty with O-Care here. The wealthy don't want to pay for O-Care, because it wasn't well planned. The young don't think they will get sick,. Thank God most of them don't.

      The Brit's at least had Churchill's help developing their plan.


    • diogenes profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Everyone gets free, or extremely low cost, health care here. Trying to decide who should pay and who not would be an impossible exercise although it is being considered. I am no buddy of the rich, believe me!

      I wish we were more like the Japanese, we might be able to build a TV and a car then!


    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      4 years ago from California

      I am concerned for you. You seem perfectly fine with the rich receiving free health care.

      Friends just moved to England after living in Japan and Singapore for 25 years. When asked how they are adjusting. They said No trouble with the culture; the English are very much like the Japanese.

      The weather is killing them though.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      4 years ago from North Texas

      I think your 'barmy' would work better in Boston than Texas. That is a foreign word here.

      I know very few people here in the states who actually like politicians. Some people like the ones they voted for, but hate the ones they didn't. A lot of people dislike them all and I think maybe they're less popular right now, regardless of political party, than lawyers. Although politicians are often also lawyers, at least here in the states.

      Neither GW Bush or Obama were/are particularly popular with certain segments of our population. Currently the overall approval of the job our Congress is doing is at 13% (Gallup). Not so good.

      Very much enjoyed reading about GB and your perspective on it. Funny, everyone always thinks their weather is worse than anyone else's no matter where they live. I hate Texas weather and so do a lot of other people, some natives. There are always a few who like the weather where they are, but everyone talks about how changeable their weather is as though no one else's is, and in fact everyone's weather is very changeable, and has horrible extremes now and then.

      For the most part I really love this article. Well written and entertaining as only you can do it. I love the British sense of humor, the accents, and some of your countryside is without compare.

      Agree regarding courtesy. I can't speak for courtesy in GB at all, but here it's all but gone down the drain. I'll take your word on it for over there.

      GB is our mother country, something a lot of Americans don't know, would you believe? I see GB as our dearest friend and ally along with Canada, but for different reasons.

      Socialized medicine works great here in the states with Medicare. No one who has Medicare is complaining about it after nearly 50 years, but they sure complained about it at the beginning as badly or worse than they're complaining about The Affordable Care Act. Complaints back then, as now, were BEFORE each respective program took affect. Of course they're different animals.

      ObamaCare is only insurance company regulation, not a healthcare plan anything like Medicare. A lot of people don't seem to realize that. Something else a lot of people don't seem to be aware of is that Medicare is a socialist program. Lots of countries, including the U.S., mix Socialism with Capitalism and it works pretty well. However, the loudest complainers here are uninformed of that.

      Voting this article up, interesting, and awesome. Hope you're having a good sleep-in. xox

    • diogenes profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from UK and Mexico

      It's a mild swear word today,'s something to do with the blood of Christ I think but am not sure I'll try to find out.

      Thanks for visit matey


    • WillStarr profile image


      4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      What is the origin of that most treasured of all British curse words, "bloody", and why is is considered so profane?

      Great Hub, Bob and voted that way across the board.

    • diogenes profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from UK and Mexico

      True OP, but it's a case where all benefit because the wealthy who do, in the main, pay more taxes get it back by the use of the NHS by them their families and often employees, while the poorer citizens get the security of good health. This socialized medicine may not be right for the US, but it has worked for many years here. It has taken a battering in recent years due to its size as much as anything but most like it, except those seeking to privatize it for commercial reasons


    • profile image

      Old Poolman 

      4 years ago

      Bob, interesting hub and some perspectives on a nation I know very little about.

      It is interesting that you call your healthcare system "free." I have no concept of your tax structure, or even how taxes are collected, but am guessing a large percentage of tax dollars go toward the "free" healthcare. That would mean that some really do get this healthcare for free because they contribute little or nothing, and others pay dearly for the same level of care. I'm not saying this is wrong but am wise enough to know that there is virtually nothing that is truly "free" these days.


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