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United Kingdom full of flavor

Two nations separated by a common language – that’s what America and the United Kingdom are; two countries that speak the same language and cannot understand a word the other is saying.

I have been in England and Wales for the past 17 days and have learned some interesting differences in the languages. A “slip road,” for instance, is an exit ramp. A “fly over” is an overpass bridge, but only in certain parts of England. The difference between a “motorway” and a “dual carriageway” is still a mystery to me, but suffice it to say they are both forms of our Interstate system of roads.

The English are lovely people. There are approximately 4.35 million dialects with every town, city and borough having their own way of pronouncing the same words. They prattle on to me at lightning speed, not concerned in the least that I understand them until they come to the end of an oration and look at me expectantly for comment. I’ve caught a few words here and there, but not enough to give an intelligent reply. After allowing me an adequate amount of time for the slow-witted creature I appear to be, they begin again, but slower and a bit louder, as if I am hard of hearing. In general people are genuinely pleased to find out I am an American. The inevitable question, “Oh! What part of America then?” is asked and I find myself repeatedly explaining that although I am a New Yorker, I live a good 500 miles away from New York City. “It’s a big country then, isn’t it?” is the usual response. Yes, yes it is.

The next question is a carefully phrased inquiry as to our Commander in Chief, tactfully stated so as to not offend me should I be a member of the Trump fan club. A discussion ensues about loose cannons and mental illness and guns.

An important distinction was pointed out between scones, rock cakes and crumpets. A scone (pronounced skon) is a biscuit, such as you would have with chicken and biscuits, but sweeter.

Scones are served warm or cold with clotted cream (a fluffy sort of cream cheese) and jam. Rock cakes are what Starbucks and various other coffee shops in America call scones. They are heavy and oftentimes have fruit or flavoring of some sort. Crumpets are indescribable. Crumpets are referred to as “pikelets” in the Birmingham area, for no apparent reason, but I am told by my southern Southampton family that they are not the same at all.

They appear a bit like English muffins, which the English don’t have, and you serve them with butter, which melts into the holes of the crumpet, making them super moist and all the more delicious.

I traveled from Southampton on the south coast of England, to London, all the way to northern Wales, meeting people, talking to strangers, trying new foods and loving every minute of it. In little over two weeks I had only one disappointing meal. The rest were delightful, tasty, and filling.

Don’t let anyone tell you the English aren’t known for their food. They are amazing in the range of cuisine they offer; much of it actually created in England.

Robyn Near is a Ripley resident. Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com

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