never spy on people with cameras (2005-01-26 - 5:01 p.m.)

I've been reading the dictionary again. Some definitions that made me say "Oh!" (words I'd sort of gathered the meaning of from context but didn't know what the equivalent was back home):

rocket n. While we do also use the word to describe an explosive propulsion device, rocket to a British chef will be the green herb arugula to an American one.

treacle n. What we in the UK call treacle, Americans call molasses. I prefer "treacle" - "molasses" makes it sound as if the stuff is made out of the rear ends of small animals.

sultana n. What we Brits call sultanas, Americans will know better as "yellow raisins", i.e. vine-dried green grapes.

mews n. While this traditionally referred to a stable that had been converted into a house, it is used pretty much exclusively nowadays to refer to the short, narrow (often cobbled) streets where these buildings are. Mews houses in central London are breathtakingly expensive.

high-street n. The main road through a given place - Americans might call it the main street. Or they might not. To be honest, I just made up what Americans call it off the top of my head, but it sounds nice.

squash n., v. In the UK, squash is either the act of being squeezed, or a diluted fruit drink. As with many of the words listed here, it's a bit outdated - you'd be more likely to find your grandmother offering you "lemon squash" than you would your children. In the US, a squash is what we in the civillised world call a marrow.

So that's what rocket is! And now I know what Hercule Poirot was on about with his raising of vegetable marrows. Thank you very much, Chris Rae. (Though I still don't understand what a "high-street shop" is. Because it seems to refer to chain stores that may or may not be on the main street! argh)

In other news, I have signed the papers and officially have a job. In even better news, there is a three-month trial period (or "Trail period", which is what the letter they sent me said!) during which I can quit on one week's notice. Not that I'm planning to, but it's nice to have the option just in case. After that I have to give a month's notice, but the pay goes up. We will see how it goes.

Didn't go out for Burns Night last night because Pia is sick. I'm still planning to celebrate Australia Day today, though. (Yes, I do celebrate every single holiday I can find, no matter what culture it is originally from! Anyway, half the Aussies in London turned up for Canada Day last year.) We will also probably go to another Burns Ceilidh on Saturday.

I was over at the PEI girls' flat on Monday watching Pirates of the Caribbean. We were sort of half-heartedly spying on the people across the street, who had their curtains open and light on so we could see right into their flat. Shannon said, "What are they DOING in there?" so we all clustered in front of the window to gawk, forgetting that if we could see them, there's a pretty good chance we weren't invisible to them either. We were all standing there staring through the window when the guy turned around, raised his camera and snapped a photo of us looking stunned! We all started laughing, but we did stop spying. For the moment.

That's one thing about European cities, the streets are so narrow that you can see into each others' windows. Not nearly so likely to happen in Edmonton unless you lived in adjacent buildings with no parking lot between.

backwards ~ onwards

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apparently I'm doing monthly updates these days. Sorry. - 2008-05-04
watershed - 2008-04-06
end of trip - 2008-03-31

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