Jolly Good: 5 British Expressions I Love (and 2 I Hate)

OK, so I laugh derisively whenever one of my coworkers, who’s basically an old Englishman trapped inside a young Englishman’s body, says “jolly good”… but secretly I find it a little endearing. British expressions are excellent day-to-day entertainment for this expat, and I’ve even adopted a few of them (with mixed results). Here are just five of…

One Giant Mud Puddle: Getting Lost in the Lake District

England is not known for its mountains, especially when compared to the rest of the UK. Before I visited the Lake District, I pictured gently ambling among low lakes and rolling hills. The first indication that I might be mistaken was the expression on the Derwentwater Hostel manager’s face when I described the route I…

My Muddy Valentine

What did you do for Valentine’s Day? Candle-lit dinner? Chocolates? Roses? Hurriedly arranging to leave the city so you wouldn’t be lying when you told someone you’d been on a few dates with that you already had plans?  Ahem.  The “Night Riviera” train leaves London Paddington at 11:45pm several times a week and travels the…

Walking in the “Peak” (Hill) District

Yes, I am throwing a little shade with that post title, mostly because the “peaks” of the Peak District throw almost none. But despite its decidedly tame topography, this national park’s gentle hills and misty moors are completely enchanting. I had the good luck to make it up there twice this spring– once on my…

Heaven is a Train From Hell

The number of times a day I think the words people are the worst probably qualifies me as a misanthrope. Or maybe just someone who loves people so much at their best that she’s let down when they fall short? Yeeeeah, that’s it. Don’t worry, I’m hard on myself, too. Anyway, a long-distance train so packed that…

Two-Day Wander: Oban, Scotland

I still can’t fully explain why visiting Scotland feels like I’m mainlining some missing part of my soul, but my trip to Oban last fall was no exception. Located on the west coast of Scotland (the Firth of Lorn, to be exact – isn’t that a lovely name?), Oban’s an easy, scenic train ride from…

Bathtime

Bath, England is as cozy as its name– IF you go in the off-season. Suggestion: early May, in my opinion the loveliest time of year for England. The sun comes out in earnest and everything– every bush, every patch of grass, every tree, every crack in the pavement–blooms. Even in May, Bath crawls with tourists,…

Quick Jaunt: Bristol

Bristol: historically important port, modern-day university town. With the largest circulating community currency in the UK and loads of local events and institutions, Bristol is doing its own thing, comfortable in its own, quite hip but unselfconscious, shoes. I took a quick trip to Bristol by train from London last year– maybe my meandering will inspire…

Quick Jaunt: York

This photo pretty much epitomizes York, England– and, to be fair, most small towns and cities in the UK: They’re sleepy, homogeneous (skewing whiter and older), and nowhere is the prevalence of motorized scooters and mini malls higher. But the quaint scenery and relative calm makes for a nice escape from the big city (and,…