I wholeheartedly believe that no matter what is happening in your life, there is always something you can be thankful for..no matter how simple it is.
This week I wanted to indulge in a little bit of reminiscing. It's funny how you can go to a place halfway round the world that feels like home, but still find some things so totally alien to you. I never HAVE understood some of the quirky things that the Brits do but I thought it would be fun to share some of the weird and wonderful things that I noticed while we were away.
Hardcore hand-dryersTimes sure have changed since the last time we were in the UK. These days a journey to the bathroom means you will probably nearly lose the skin off your hand.
Put your hand under one of these babies and you can actually see the air blow the skin sideways - Xlerator is definitely an apt name for them and there's no excuse for walking out of the bathroom with wet hands that's for sure!
Paint the town blackEverywhere we went around London there was black. Black lamp-posts, black bollards and black rubbish bins. Despite living there for 3 years I don't think I had ever really paid any attention to this phenomena.
So it was news to me when I found out on the bus tour that apparently all railings and lamp-posts have been painted black in London since Queen Victoria went into mourning over the death of her beloved Prince Albert in the 1860's. It is certainly a way to ensure the city looks very smart at all times, and there's never any fighting over what colour to paint things!
Washing up bowlsIn England it is still customary to use a plastic washing up bowl inside the sink to wash up dishes. It's a tradition that has lasted for quite some time and it makes sense back in the day when you only had a single sink as it allowed you to pour away any yucky stuff down the sink whilst not getting the dishes all dirty.
However in this day and age, there aren't that many houses around now that don't have at least another half-sink for disposing of food waste etc so why does the tradition remain I wonder? I guess old habits die hard - though I think I'd find it frustrating washing up in such a small bowl all the time when you definitely can't fit as much in there!
Bathroom light pull-cordsThis one always got me. Why on earth is it necessary to have a pull-cord for the light switch in pretty much every single toilet or bathroom? I asked my sister-in-law, and asked good old Google and it turns out that there is some method in the madness.
Apparently it is to reduce the risk of electrocution from someone with wet hands or wet feet touching the light switch and getting zapped, and reduces the possibility of condensation getting into the light switch. Apparently it was even the law until 2001 to have a pull-cord in the bathroom. I find this whole subject fairly fascinating because we don't seem to have any such concerns with electrocution here - perhaps we aren't as potentially able to conduct electricity over here in NZ?!
And then there's....
Crisps vs chips
Sweets vs lollies
Cling film vs glad-wrap
Tippex vs Twink
Iced lolly vs iceblock
Trousers vs pants
Pants vs undies
Tops vs jerseys
Corner shop vs dairy
And the list goes on....
Have you ever been to another country where the traditions there baffled and amused you? Or am I just easily entertained?!
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