I had fun watching segments on England that NBC aired during the Olympics. One was on the words used by the British that are different from those we use in the U.S.
For example, what is the "English" word for:
- A flashlight?
- The drugstore?
- A bandaid?
- A nap?
- A bathing suit?
I felt a little smug, knowing answer after answer, having spent 9 months going to school in Exeter, England. But then they got to fairy cake.
How did I miss that one? I'd learned plimsoles, warden (not the jail kind), taking the mickey, fancy dress (it ain't dressing up), crisps, rubber and so much more. But never once had I heard fairy cakes.
The point of all this for solo travelers going to England is that along with visiting Stonehenge or Oxford or Westminster Abbey, I highly recommend you get away from the touristy cities and sights for a while and plant yourself in a village.
Visit a tea or fish and chip shop. Go to the local pub, preferrably one in a rural area where they'll spot you immediately as not one of the regulars. And likely comment.
Take the opportunity that opens to interact with people at their local haunts.
Wherever you go see if you can find a cream tea. Put a Flake in your ice cream cornet. Have vinegar with your fish and chips. Taste a shandy. Or a Cornish pasty. Frequent a pub to watch people playing darts, skittles or snooker.
And practice your English.
Flashlight = torch; drugstore = the chemist; bandaid = plaster; nap = kip; bathing suit = swimming costume.
Plimsoles = a type of canvas sneaker; warden = someone who oversaw the dormitories at my university; taking the mickey = teasing; fancy dress = going in costume; crisps = potato chips; rubber = eraser
Photo: Eagle and Child, Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire