Piccadilly is Such a Cute British Word. (Question: Does it actually mean something?) (Answer: Yes.)

picc Cannabis-Shakespeare2

“High” collars, innit?

 

Piccadilly Circus. We’ve all heard of it — the London (much smaller) version of Times Square. But where does the word “piccadilly” come from?

When I was an English teacher in Rome, it was all about eliciting the answer from the student. So I’ll try to elicit the answer from you.

Is it:

  1. A stiff collar
  2. A small armadillo that “pecks”, called a peccadillo
  3. Someone who “picks” their nose
  4. A sort of cake or turnover
  5. A “peaked” hill (geography term)

 

Ok, here’s ANOTHER hint:

piccadill

 

Still think (or hope) it’s someone who picks their nose? OK, final hint:

picc with word in it

 

Yes, it’s one of those ruffled collars that were so impractical as to be indicative of class. Wearing one meant that you didn’t work with your hands (imagine trying to load up a ship with one of those things on! Or just pick up a box! Or even just have soup!). It also meant that you had servants to do all sorts of things including washing and starching these frilly chokers. Maintaining them was a lot of work; hundreds (hundreds!) of pins were needed for the ruff’s elaborate pattern. It’s fair to say then that wearing one also indicated that you “generally had more money than sense.”

There was a merchant named Robert Baker who in the 1600s made lots and lots and lots of money on this medieval fashion statement and so when he built a very ostentatious house, it was derisively nicknamed “Piccadilly.” Thus the street and circus were named.

Maybe one day, there’ll be a High-Heel Lane or Ripped Jeans Corner or I’m-With-Stupid-Teeshirt Avenue. Maybe even Piazza Socks with Crocs.

picc sub-buzz-18059-1495140757-19

 

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Hardcore

When I first moved to uk, being the cheapskate I am, I used websites where people want to offer stuff for free that they don’t need anymore. Websites like Freecyle and Freegle.

I remember the first time I saw an ad for “hardcore”. They were giving it away! And I thought, “Those quirky Brits! They’re supposedly so uptight and yet they are just letting the entire world know they’ve finished ‘reading’ their porn magazines and want TO GIVE THEM AWAY!” Then again, I thought, why should they discard two large black bags of the stuff when someone else might want it?  Who am I to judge? Two bags though. But you never know what’s going on with people. Lost his wife? Got fired? Horny bastard? None of my business.

Then i saw this ad:

And I was like… what? TEN BAGS? Jesus Christ!! What the fuck kind of country have I moved to? Then the telephone rang or I got hungry or the pope died and I got distracted and forgot all about it.

Then, later that week:

TWENTY????? WITH MORE TO FUCKING FOLLOW???? What the hell is going on? Is this like a porn sect? What the fuck with these people? Are you fucking kidding me?

Then the telephone rang or I got hungry or the pope died and I got distracted and forgot all about it.

A few weeks later, I saw the following and the the clouds cleared and I saw the goddamn “hardcore” flipping light:

“Hardcore” in this mothereffing drive-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-road country can also mean RUBBLE.

As the Brits would say FOR FUCKS SAKE!

 

 

 

Everything’s a Roundabout

Note to reader. I don’t know how to put footnotes in so I used * and ** and ***. Footnotes at end of post.

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While studying for my driving theory test, I noticed that there’s lots of material about the darn roundabouts.* This is a very roundabout-oriented country.

Then I started to notice that in general Brits like round things. They love that London Eye thing. Lots of buildings in London are round.

“round building london” google search

And they go crazy over doughnuts.**

No hole brit donut

The busses have rounded edges, so do the taxis.

And because they drink a lot of beer, a number of British people have round bellies.

And of course they prefer the “s” to the “z”, i.e. organise not organize. Why? Because the “s” is rounder. They don’t like sharp corners. A “z” has not one, but TWO sharp corners.

Speaking of corners, even the streets tend to round. In London, that last bit of Regent Street heading into Piccadilly Circus is called The Quadrant because it’s like the quadrant of a circle, i.e. rounded. And there are so many streets that are “crescents”, i.e. in the shape of a crescent. I.e. round! Even the River Thames is curvy for crying out loud. These people like round stuff, folks, I’m telling ya.

And of course, there’s Spotted Dick Pudding.***  Not Striped or Paisley Dick Pudding. And I’ll tell you why: because SPOTS ARE ROUND.

They’ll go “roundabout” in their speaking, as well, if it’s necessary to criticise or even just make a request. They’ll get lots of extra words in there to soften the blow. They wouldn’t simply say “Move over” or even “Could you move over” but “Would you mind terribly just moving over .. just a bit? If that’s alright…?”

Even the floor of a building: they say it’s on the fifth storey of a building, rather than fifth story. They throw that “e” in there to delay getting to the “y”. (Ok, so maybe that’s going too far.)

So, why is there still a monarch in this modern country? Because it’s the Crown and a crown is ROUND.

 

HOWEVER, my sister came to visit and she found quite the exception in the hotel’s WC:

 

 

Footnotes:

*Getting your license here is a big deal. Lots of conversations about it, people spend lots of money of driving lesson.  Growing up in the states, everyone I knew was taught by their dad. We’d argue a lot but I learned to drive. Maybe American’s have a higher tolerance for arguments.

**But I think it’s weird that they don’t put a hole in the middle of their doughnut. I mean, isn’t the hole what makes it a doughnut?

***Yes, that really is the name of a dessert here.

The Steak is So Nice

happy steak

 

If you ask a Brit if they are enjoying their meal, they might say:

“Oh it’s lovely!”

Hmm. Lovely?

Food is “lovely”? Really? Is it wearing a pink bow?

Or they might say it’s “delightful”. Huh. Did the pudding tell a good story?

Or even, “nice”. Did the ribeye pick itself off the plate and open the door for you?

Well, then, my hamburger was a bit awkward. It didn’t want to come out from the bun.

sn,210x230-pad,210x230,f8f8f8.lite-1u3

And my spaghetti was furious! It threw itself right against the wall and refused to come down. And when it did, well, see for yourself:

spaghetti boxer

upsetti spaghetti

Ok, I am being a bit naughty — a bit “cheeky”! (I do love that Brit word.)

As an American, those words — nice, lovely, delightful – are words we use to describe a friend, a colleague or even someone we are pretending to like, but NOT what’s sitting in a dish in front of us.

I’m not saying American English is better than British England. (I mean, it is, but that’s NOT what I am SAYING.) But some things just make me giggle. It’s like, Brits are so nice, they’re even nice to their food. And to be honest, it makes me like them even more.

— Miss T signing off

 

 

 

 

PS. Similarly with the expression “hire a car”, another Brit anthropomorphism. (Fancy word, I know.) To an American that sounds like you are employing someone,  “Excuse me Mr Fiat, are you available Tuesday next?”

 

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carwash thinking