Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 481

How to be British

An American friend asked me if her British accent passed muster the other day. It was pretty good. She said she had found a site about being British and she would attempt to pass herself off as one when she was on her holibobs in the UK. Good luck to her with that! 😉

This is that site.

The bit on the site that I identified as highlighting a real difference is the way we speak, particularly the syntax and vocabulary we use.

Such as this:

In response to a question with an auxiliary and main verb, Brits respond with both: “Could you do the washing up for me?” “Could do” or “will do” (as opposed to the American, “I could.”)
“Do you have…?” in American correlates to, “Have you got…?”
Watch out for things like “at/in hospital,” instead of “at the hospital.”
Brits use the past perfect (“I have eaten”) much more often than Americans, who automatically go for the past simple (“I ate”).

We're not very good at this, though.

We’re not very good at this, though.

I recently wrote a note to an American friend (I know – I wrote a note – does anyone do that anymore?!). In it I wrote ‘I shall definitely do this in October‘. She wrote back to say that she never hears anyone in America conjugate the verb ‘shall’, and that it was very quaint and perfectly British! 🙂

Lie back and think of England

Sometimes when I am teaching abs class I mutter this to myself (at least I thought it was to myself): ‘Lie back and think of England’.

One of my students today asked me if I say this because I am homesick.



How I laughed inside!

Happy 60th birthday to Ruby Bridges!

Today is the anniversary of when the six-year-old Ruby Bridges famously became the first African-American child to desegregate an all-white elementary school in the South. When the 1st grader walked to William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans on November 14, 1960 surrounded by a team of U.S. Marshals, she was met by a vicious mob shouting and throwing objects at her.

This is the story:

One of the federal marshals, Charles Burks, who served on her escort team, recalls Bridges’ courage in the face of such hatred: “For a little girl six years old going into a strange school with four strange deputy marshals, a place she had never been before, she showed a lot of courage. She never cried. She didn’t whimper. She just marched along like a little soldier. We were all very proud of her.”

60 years ago

60 years ago

Once Ruby entered the school, she discovered that it was devoid of children because they had all been removed by their parents due to her presence. The only teacher willing to have Ruby as a student was Barbara Henry, who had recently moved from Boston. Ruby was taught by herself for her first year at the school due to the white parents’ refusal to have their children share a classroom with a black child.

Despite daily harassment, which required the federal marshals to continue escorting her to school for months; threats towards her family; and her father’s job loss due to his family’s role in school integration, Ruby persisted in attending school. The following year, when she returned for second grade, the mobs were gone and more African-American students joined her at the school. The pioneering school integration effort was a success due to Ruby Bridges’ inspiring courage, perseverance, and resilience.


The Life of a TV extra

I promise, promise, promise that I won’t go on about being an extra on a TV show, but my editor for the Baltimore Post Examiner asked me to write a piece about what it’s like being an extra.

This is that piece. 🙂

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3 Responses to Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 481

  1. Well, I had to laugh out loud, regarding “lying back…

  2. I doubt any American tourist can say holibobs convincingly.

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