The art of being British

I came across this on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and it really made me chuckle, there are many things on list that are so true for me, especially number 17. This has happened to me on my route march home after work. It is absolutely necessary to keep up the pace after overtaking to avoid looking like a ninny as the person goes sailing past!

What it’s like to be British!!!

  1. Worrying you’ve accidentally packed 3 kilos of cocaine and a dead goat as you stroll through “Nothing to declare”
  2. Being unable to stand and leave without first saying “right”
  3. Not hearing someone for the third time, so just laughing and hoping for the best
  4. Saying “anywhere here’s fine” when the taxi’s directly outside your front door
  5. Being sure to start touching your bag 15 minutes before your station, so the person in the aisle seat is fully prepared for your exit
  6. Repeatedly pressing the door button on the train before it’s illuminated, to assure your fellow commuters you have the situation in hand
  7. Having someone sit next to you on the train, meaning you’ll have to eat your crisps at home
  8. The huge sense of relief after your perfectly valid train ticket is accepted by the inspector
  9. The horror of someone you only half know saying: “Oh I’m getting that train too”
  10. “Sorry, is anyone sitting here?” – Translation: Unless this is a person who looks remarkably like a bag, I suggest you move it
  11. Loudly tapping your fingers at the cashpoint, to assure the queue that you’ve asked for money and the wait is out of your hands
  12. Looking away so violently as someone nearby enters their PIN that you accidentally dislocate your neck
  13. Waiting for permission to leave after paying for something with the exact change
  14. Saying hello to a friend in the supermarket, then creeping around like a burglar to avoid seeing them again.
  15. Watching with quiet sorrow as you receive a different haircut to the one you requested
  16. Being unable to pay for something with the exact change without saying “I think that’s right”
  17. Overtaking someone on foot and having to keep up the uncomfortably fast pace until safely over the horizon
  18. Being unable to turn and walk in the opposite direction without first taking out your phone and frowning at it
  19. Deeming it necessary to do a little jog over zebra crossings, while throwing in an apologetic mini wave
  20. Punishing people who don’t say thank you by saying “you’re welcome” as quietly as possible
  21. The overwhelming sorrow of finding a cup of tea you forgot about
  22. Turning down a cup of tea for no reason and instantly knowing you’ve made a terrible, terrible mistake
  23. Suddenly remembering your tea and necking it like a massive, lukewarm shot
  24. Realising you’ve got about fifty grand’s worth of plastic bags under your kitchen sink
  25. “You’ll have to excuse the mess” – Translation: I’ve spent seven hours tidying in preparation for your visit
  26. Indicating that you want the last roast potato by trying to force everyone else to take it
  27. “I’m off to bed” – Translation: “I’m off to stare at my phone in another part of the house”
  28. Mishearing somebody’s name on the second time of asking, meaning you must now avoid them forever
  29. Leaving it too late to correct someone, meaning you must live with your new name forever

    31  .Running out of ways to say thanks when a succession of doors are held for you,  having already deployed ‘cheers’, ‘ta’ and ‘nice one’.

  1. Staring at your phone in silent horror until the unknown number stops ringing
  2. Hearing a recording of your own voice and deciding it’s perhaps best never to speak again
  3. The relief when someone doesn’t answer their phone within three rings and you can hang up
  4. Filming an entire fireworks display on your phone, knowing full well you’ll never, ever watch it again


But in my opinion the true test of British-ness is the humble and seemingly innocuous queue. It is a known fact that some Brits will join a queue even if they don’t know what the queue is for. But the queuing phenomenon is most evident at a bus stop. As I catch the bus to work due to lack of parking at the hospital, I believe I have become an expert observer of the bus queue.

I have discovered there are 2 types of bus queues; firstly there’s the stand one behind another type, where it is imperative to obey the rules of standing in line, to avoid the stares, the loud whispering and the wrath of your fellow passengers suspicious of your plans to jump the queue when the bus comes.

The second type can only be attempted with a group of people who catch the same bus, at the same time everyday, and have bonded over time by suffering from a crap bus service and phone apps that clearly lie when it says the bus is 5 minutes away. All the passengers have their designated place to stand and wait, (not in line). The only exception to this rule is during torrential rain and then everyone crams into the bus shelter. It doesn’t matter what time each person turns up, the group collectively know what order the passengers need to be in to advance and get on the bus.

In my bid to not become a creature of habit I don’t always catch the same bus, so I have 3 groups to negotiate in this way and luckily for me I have been accepted into each of them!