Friday, July 27, 2007

the rosebery residence

As I had suspected, I have had a blogging break inflicted on me, due to moving house, and t'internet taking slightly longer than was hoped to get set up. But we finally got there, and are online again, which is wonderful.

I am thoroughly enjoying my new home, which is most definitely a far cry from student living, and so feels more homely than my last house (which I must add, I did love). It really is beautiful, and I have had great fun in the tasks which most people would deem to be mundane - cleaning the floor, wiping down the working surfaces so there's not a crumb in sight, filling the house with the smell of clean washing (one of my favourite smells in the whole world), sorting the dead flowers from the alive ones then hanging roses upside-down to dry...I could go on.

Although I have been working since graduating, I have had a nice amount of time free, where I have indulged myself in the pleasures of reading, which I struggled to make time for while I was studying.

I've been reading Bill Bryson's 'Notes from a small island', and have been slightly unnerved at the accuracy of some of his observations of english behaviour, some of which, women are more predisposed to than men. For instance, he comments on how women behave when paying for something in a shop. I was stunned the other day when I found myself mirroring his description of this; Having stood for a while in a queue to pay for something, we women often act surprised when it comes to paying, then faff around for an age, trying to find the relevant card, while the far superior male approach is to have the money and card out of their wallet well in advance of paying. While standing in a queue the other day, I became aware that I was falling into this stereotype - it would seem that when standing in a queue, I am somehow taken into a trance-like state where I forget that I am even waiting to pay for something, hence the element of surprise when it comes to paying. Needless to say, when I managed to alert myself to the fact that I was fitting Bryson's description to a tee, I was quite proud of myself.

Then, to my dismay, I found myself on the verge of eliciting a second trait Bryson had identified: that of asking questions when you already know the answer. Bryson gives the example of being at a train station and seeing a queue of people all waiting to ask the guard if this is the platform for the 8.59 to Victoria. Having given the appropriate answer to the first questionning person, the next five people proceed to ask the poor guard the same question - it's almost as if the British public are deaf until standing a metre in front of the person-in-the-know, and have to be told face to face themselves before they believe what they have already heard. I was about to follow this path; having examined in careful detail all of the offers on shampoo and conditioner and established that nearly everything was buy one get one half price (identified by the bold red labels plastered all over the shelving stating this), I was still going to ask the checkout assisstant whether the items I was about to purchase were on buy one get one half price. It took a whole lot of muscle to control to restrain myself from uttering those words. Yet I still managed to elicit another of Bryson's identified traits in the process of paying for my items. There had only been two people in the queue in front of me, but the shop assisstant felt it necessary to offer me an apology for making me wait, so what did I do? I said sorry too. Why? because that's what we Brits love to do (either that or complain). I said sorry for waiting. Ah...I love being English!!

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