The Franco-British paradox

Edit: a few more additions on 9/06/14

The lists.

You have certainly come across some lists that define whether you are or not a Londoner, a Parisian, a Russian... I have even published one here a year ago. And yet, although these lists rely on facts and clich├ęs I totally buy into, I have also realised that after two years in the UK, I had not completely blended in. Not yet. And in fact, I am still enjoying my differences and am even building upon it.

That led me to think about what we call in French "Les combles" of a non-English in the UK. This is hard to translate a concept, but it would be the "heights" if my faithful dictionary is accurate. A "comble" is something pushed to the absurd limit, something over the top... The following is a list, which will certainly expand thanks to your comments and suggestion, of the heights of being a non-assimilated alien in the UK. Some are a bit far-fetched, yet you will pardon your humble servant.

Statement or reality.

So as a matter of fact, you indeed know that you are not assimilated in the UK when:
  1. You wear flip-flops in Wellington
  2. You kick a football in Rugby
  3. You take a shower in Bath
  4. You spread mustard in Worchester
  5. You look for ancient ruins in NewCastle
  6. You get a speeding ticket in Slough
  7. You finish a book in Reading
  8. You shot a revolver in Winchester
  9. You go bankrupt in Sale
  10. You remain a virgin in Middlesex
  11. You keep on eating chips in Dumfries
  12. You play snooker in Poole
  13. You sell Biafine in Blackburn
  14. You breed pitbulls in Yorkshire
  15. You grow potates in Leek
  16. You get nailed in Hammersmith
  17. You lay back in Hastings (courtesy of Mel Cason)
  18. You get screwed in Cork (sorry, not in the UK, but could not skip that one)
  19. You are constipated in Waterloo
  20. You are seedless in Braintree
  21. You dismount in Ryde
  22. You refuse to march in Marlow
  23. You are a headstone cutter in Livingston
  24. You are immaculate in Staines
  25. You never excel in Chartwell (special tribute to Microsoft-fans)
  26. You are a veggan in Egham
  27. You don't do a great job in Pipewell (bit kinky this one, and need to speak French to get it)
  28. You are a clueless inspector in Leeds
  29. You are trading bleech in Blackpool
  30. You are running in Woking
  31. You get stuck in Stape
  32. You get a mute audience in Acklam
  33. You own a dermatological firm in Hitchin
  34. You fly the gay pride flag in Grays
  35. You are hacker in IPswich (sorry for the geekery)
  36. You forget your teddy in Sheringham
  37. You are feeding the ducks in Swanage
The British cities are so interweaved in History that their name have inflitrated the vocabulary. And vice versa. So let's see if you can come up with more statements... Up to you twisted minds!


  1. Anonymous12:48 am

    I'll add another one:
    When you mistake Dumfries for an English city.
    It is a Scots town and my birthplace :)

  2. My bad Linda, I usually pay strong attention not to use "English" for "British". Too much respect for the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish folks:). I have corrected that in my last sentence...

  3. Anonymous8:16 pm

    nice list ! did you find everything on your own ? really good !

  4. Yep, came up with it on my own:) Even thought that it could expand to the British Islands... I thought of "getting screwed in Cork" for instance:)

  5. Anonymous5:28 pm

    Great list. What about: Go for a ride in Derby

  6. Thank you for a awesome article.You have given me some ideas and a different way to to write articles.

    vCommissionAdvertising Affiliate Program

  7. Pauline7:53 am

    You're so good at it! love the list!

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.