Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 606

British taps and lights. Sigh!

Americans call them faucets, we call them taps. That we know. There are also, dear friends, differences in the way these things function in the USA from the way they do in back home and this is a dinner party conversation of much amusement with my American friends, so it appears.


Most bathroom sinks in Britain still have separate hot and cold taps today, even after Winston Churchill marvelled at the single tap function he found in Russia back in the day! (From the Wall Street Journal: ‘The plumbing in the villa where he [Churchill] stayed as a guest of Stalin was unlike the primitive British standard of separate taps for hot and cold. Rather than having to fill up the sink to achieve the right blend, the British leader could wash his hands under gushing water “mingled to exactly the temperature one desired,” as he put it in his memoirs. From then on, he resolved to use this method whenever possible.’)

Many Britons don’t understand why foreigners raise a fuss over this issue. “The British are quite happy to wash their hands with cold water. Maybe it’s character-building,” says one chap. Maybe so!

The two tap thing gets my America friend’s knickers in a right twist, because that is what we have in our downstairs too. Not sure why, but we do. And I suppose it does seem old fashioned in a way now!

The other thing that my American chums get all doolalley about is the fact that our British-owned house has to comply with British electrical regulations, and that means we can’t have light switches or sockets in the bathroom here in our USA house.

Apparently this is because of regulations aimed at preventing shocks which in turn forbid the installation in bathrooms of electrical outlets, except those designed for shavers. We also have to have lights that are controlled by pull cords hanging from the ceiling. Oh how I love to watch my American friends grapple with trying to find the light switch inside our loo, when it’s located outside.

Argh, electric stuff in bathrooms in the USA! ;)

Argh, electric stuff in bathrooms in the USA! 😉

I have a fascination when I visit American hotels that the hairdryer is in the bathroom, right by the sink. My British sensibilities cry out at this in horror! Electricity and water = certain death! 😉 So far, though, I have not been electrocuted and I’ve used a lot of dryers in hotel bathrooms over here!

But, each to their own. Differences: ah, how we enjoy them!

Lifestyle TV slot

My very British tones resonated across Baltimore this morning on WBFF Fox 45 News, as I discussed National Stress Awareness Month in my ‘lifestyle expert’ guise.

IMG_0973 IMG_0975

Someone who needs to heed much of this advice is ME, cos I am stressing my little Desperate Housewife head somewhat about the return to the UK and all there is to do for it. How on earth will I fit in all the pool time I require before I leave with so many jobs?

I’m sure I’ll find a way. Oh it appears I have….did I mention I’m off to the Bahamas this week with my British chum?!

We won't let the British side down, promise!

We won’t let the British side down, promise!

Watch out, Nassau, it’s a British PR girlies-wot-is-on-their-holibobs invasion!

This entry was posted in American, American customs, British, British American differences, cross culture, expat, expat British, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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