Iconic Symbols of the UK: Black Cabs

Black CabBy far one of the most popular iconic symbols of the UK is the black cab, and yes, we love our cheeky cabbies ( taxi driver).

It is said that there are currently 21,000 black cabs in London and every driver has to pass a test called The Knowledge, to become an authorized driver. The test takes on average 3 years to pass and all drivers have to learn 25,000 streets and 20, 000 monuments. So, if you get lost in London, don’t bother asking directions from a policeman or a passerby, ask a taxi driver they are the walking talking driving A-Z of London.

As many of you know, the Brits love rules and regulations and we have a lot of rules that encourage integration, a respect for diversity and religious tolerance. However, we are also total nutjobs when it comes to some of the laws passed by Parliament. For instance:

  • Technically is is illegal to shout ‘ Taxi’ at a moving black cab.
  • All black cabs legally have to be designed so that a man can sit upright wearing a bowler hat.
  • Moreover, and the most bizarre law is that a taxi driver can legally take a piss against the rear of his or her vehicle. OMG – that’s just disgusting!

Finally, the race is on, if you want to find out if a taxi driver is more intelligent than a SatNav then watch this video. Will the SatNav win the race or will the taxi driver get to the finishing line first? My money’s on the cab driver, how about yours?

Oh, word of warning, if you put the subtitles on, be careful there are loads of mistakes. For example: Saint Pauls is subtitled as Big Balls and ‘We are stuck here now’, is subtitled as: ‘Overstock Africa’. OMG, it’s hilarious – the voice to text App can’t understand the London accent. As a proud Yorkshire woman, I’ve been laughing my pants off!

Iconic Symbols of the UK: Double-Decker Buses

double decker busA double-decker bus is a bus that has two storeys or decks. The red double-decker buses in London have become a national symbol of England and the UK.

Furthermore, when I was younger the double decker bus was used to differentiate your social identity, for instance if you were hip and cool you sat upstairs but if you were a bit of nerd and socially awkward you sat downstairs. Where do you think I sat?
Do you want to learn vocabulary about cities and phrasal verbs connected to transport? Of course, you do. Ok, click here and let Reggie Roo help you.

To have a stiff upper lip

keep stiff upper lipTo have a stiff upper lip is an expression used to describe someone who doesn’t show that they are upset or angry.

Ironically, British people are often described as people who have a stiff upper lip and yet, most of my friends flip out when they are angry and upset – there is definitely no stiff upper lip in their behaviour management.

What about me? Well, it really depends on the situation and the person. If it’s my mother, I usually turn bright red and yell my lungs off. However, if it’s a friend, I try to walk away because I think if you haven’t got anything nice to say, then it’s better not to say anything at all. Life is too short for regrets and most people regret the things they say in anger.

Improve Listening Comprehension: Blah blah blah

Yesblahblah, I can speak some English; yes I can order a pint of beer and a packet of crisps in a pub, but no, I haven’t got a clue what those British people are saying!

WHAT???? What are you saying?

Improving your listening comprehension takes time, effort and patience.  In addition, you should practise in different situations using different mediums, for example: listening to the radio, watching television and speaking face to face. So, why not connect with the LINK IN section and start practising your listening comprehension skills today?

My favourites from the LINK IN section  are:

  1. Elementary Podcasts from The British Council
  2. Bitesize recordings about every topic you can imagine
  3. BBC podcasts and Downloads
  4. BBC Travel Show Pods
  5. Simple English Videos to help you use English better
  6. Watch TV and Films online for free

 

 

 

British Culture: Cricket

cricketCricket is traditionally played on village greens by two sides of 11 men wearing white clothes, the game is characterised by its slow pace, long breaks for tea and lunch, and a sense of fair play and sportsmanship.
OK, I, like many people, don’t get it; surely cricket has to be one of the most boring team sports ever played since the dawn of time. What’s your feeling? Is it a winner or a loser? Correct: IT’S A LOSER!

British Culture: Dr Who

Dr WhoOne of my favourite British science-fiction TV programmes is Dr Who. Dr Who has been produced by the BBC since 1963.

Dr Who is a space traveler and the show was originally intended to appeal to a family audience, as an educational programme using time travel as a means to explore scientific ideas and famous moments in history. However, some of the evil characters, like the darleks and the cybermen had children running behind their sofa scared stiff.
So far there have been 12 different actors playing the role of Doctor Who, and although their personalities have changed over time there are some basic traits that remain the same. The Dr has a deep sense of moral justice and he values the human emotions of love, courage and bravery. In addition, Dr Who has one mission in life: SAVE PLANET EARTH AND KILL THE DARLEKS.

British Culture: James Bond: 007

007 Daniel CraigSeriously, who isn’t keen on James Bond?! The girls want to see him naked; the boys want to be him, and everybody wants at least one of the Bond cars. You’d have to be a sandwich short of a picnic not to want a car that can transform into a plane, a helicopter and a boat. And, think about all his gadgets and technology for fighting villains and seducing the Bond girls. Yep, 007 is the full package!
The Bond films are based on a fictional character created in 1953 by the British writer Ian Fleming. To date, there have been 23 Bond films with 6 different actors playing the British spy, 007.

007 Sean Connery007 is often described as suave, sophisticated, charming and gracious. He has impeccable manners although he is a notorious womanizer and an enthusiastic gambler. He likes scrambled eggs and always drinks a vodka martini shaken not stirred. According to recent research David Craig is the most popular Bond , but for me, I’m a sucker for Sean Connery Who is your top Bond?

Gut Feeling

gut feelingGut feeling is an expression that we use to describe a strong instinct about something although we can’t really explain why.

For example, my gut feeling told me NOT to go on a blind date and, as usual, it was correct, OMG, what a disaster! I’m still red with rage at my friend who set me up.

Who invented blind dates? And, do they ever work? If you don’t have any experience of them, what’s your gut feeling? Brief answers will be gratefully received.

British People Plan: I’m already thinking about Christmas!

andalusiaI need your advice!

Much to the disgust of my mother who doesn’t understand why I don’t want to celebrate Christmas with my birth family in the UK, (perhaps the weather, the children and the endless washing up have something to do with it!), I”ve decided to stay in Málaga and persuaded some like-minded friends, including my elder sister, to spend Christmas with me. However, we are thinking about taking a road-trip and renting a self-catering cottage inland for three or four days  so we can do some adventure sport, play dominoes with old Spanish men, and perhaps do a lot of drinking and eating.  So, please help me; does anyone have any ideas about where we should go?

So far, the following places have been suggested:

  1. Grazalema
  2. Ronda
  3. Priego de Cordoba

What do you think?  Any suggestions?

 

 

Are British People Polite? I’m sure it’s my fault..

people say
British Say V Mean 3