Wednesday, 31 August 2011

A puzzle

My Californian friend was making fun of Englishmen the other day. If you are English and are sufficiently masochistic, you can read what he he said by clicking here. On the other hand, if you are American and want to join in the fun, you should click here. If you are Irish - or, for that matter, American of Irish descent (which means you if your name is anything like O'Bum) - you should click here and try to work out what the words mean. If you have taken the trouble to read what Skip said, and then taken the trouble to come back here, you might have seen that he wrote, "those drivers who kept turning in front of me in Oregon looked British".

That is the puzzle - and it's a game the Old Bat and I frequently play when in restaurants in France. How is that when we walk into any restaurant in France the waiters know immediately, before we have said anything, that we are English? Granted, as soon as we open our mouths we give the game away either by speaking English or speaking French with an English accent. The Old Dear and I then go on to guess the nationalities of other diners just by looking at them - and have to earwig their conversations to try to confirm our guesses. I suppose we are right about 50% of the time. But that is also part of the puzzle: what is it that makes a person look English or American or French?

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