Writing this post following the terrible events in Japan was difficult, but I sincerely hope that it will give you a brief moment of happiness!
The Brits have a lot of unusual ways to have fun. To my French eyes, some of them remain hard to comprehend. I actually have to admit that I don’t find them funny at all…
For instance, they love quizzes. Each pub has a quiz competition every week. You can even have quizzes on specific specialist themes, such as birdwatching, train-spotting or whatever…The few quizzes I had to attend were such a bore that I almost fell asleep. But my British friends really had good fun! They were laughing their heads off, cracking jokes I couldn’t understand, despite all the interpretation skills I have developed over the years. I have to admit that the questions were not really designed for foreigners. Maybe that’s the point. It gives them a sense of community -and excludes anyone who has not been born & bred here. Here are a couple of examples:
1. Were are the Scottish crown jewels kept? Well the response is “in the castle of Edinburg”. Being French & hence Republican, I didn’t know and frankly I didn’t really care. But the whole debate, during the evening, was to know whether the jewels had be brought to London. And believe me, it was a passionate one…
2. According to Beatrix Potter, what sort of animal was Mr Jeremy Fisher? The response is “a frog”. Apparently, this is hilarious as I was the only French in the audience. It took me a while to understand that one (Beatrix Potter writes for children and her world is one of speaking animals, and Frenchies are known as frogs) I am sure that no harm was meant, but I have to admit that my love of quizzes didn’t really grow that night.
Another odd thing is the Vicars & Tarts parties. Or any costumed party really. Honestly, why on earth would you want to look ridiculous and make an effort to do so! I am struggling with this love of costumed parties, but Brits absolutely love it. It is FUN, apparently. Maybe it is just an excuse to drink and act in a mad way. It is not unusual to see your (male) stern boss with a plastic pair of breasts and make-up. And he will probably be completely drunk. Whatever he does during the party, you must not mention anything the day after. It is not good behaviour. Even if he made a pass at the young trainee. Everybody must pretend that all is fine and nothing has happened. Even if it is a big, fat lie…for some reason, it is all part of the game. Not to worry, tomorrow everything will be back to normal…Really.
And finally, we have dog races…very popular indeed. A classic. It is supposed to provide you with a safe platform for gambling. People who are usually shy and discreet start shouting and cheering like there is no tomorrow. Weird.
So why is having fun so different this side of the Channel? No idea really! Something to do with being so polite most of the time maybe.
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London