Visitors to the UK from North America are often bemused by the complexity of choice in our ‘next generation’ coffee shops.
A university degree in coffee is really most helpful when bombarded with questions and choices. Flat white?, Americano?, Latte?, Machiatto?, Espresso?, Latte?, to name just a few; then choose your milk – full, semi or skimmed?
Yes but from a cow? or an almond? or a soya bean?
Then there is size..and of course confusing terms here..is ‘large’ bigger than ‘grande’?, do you want to eat in?, do you want to take away? do you want to use your own cup?, would you like to contribute to clogging the oceans by having a plastic straw? And so on. Even the tiniest of coffee shops doesn’t feel satisfied if they can’t answer every answer you give….with another question..
But that is just the world of coffee….
Despite the UK being smaller than California, we helpfully have a bewildering range of regional accents that are challenging enough for those of us that live here to always tune in to correctly. And these really do vary dramatically by such small distances…for example Liverpool and Leeds are only 70 miles apart..but you could be in two entirely different countries comparing Leeds Yorkshire dialect to Scouse (Liverpudlian). Head 70 or so miles south from Liverpool to Birmingham and it’s totally different again. North from Leeds up to Newcastle on the train for an hour..and it’s Geordie you will hear.
As if that’s not confusing enough for the visitor try asking for a bread roll….
And when I say bread roll, I mean a plain bread roll…not Artisan, Granary, seeded, wheat germ, fancy pants bread.
For these we just use the correct and proper name of ‘Artisan, Granary, seeded, wheat germ, fancy pants bread’ everywhere.
No, I mean for simple white rolls to make a simple sandwich.
..a bread roll is a Stottie Cake in Newcastle , in Manchester it’s a tea cake, further south and it’s a Bap and so on. And there a numerous other regional variations.
Despite the internet, movement of people, international tv and movies in English the accents, dialects and localised terms have against all odds survived a blending that although simplifying things in a way would have been a sad loss.
For how long , I am not sure, but meantime enjoy and be bemused if you come to visit us.