In Which I Attempt A Stiff Upper Lip  

Posted by Heidi in


Yesterday was Tuesday. It was supposed to be Novel Writing Day. Instead it was “scurrying around cleaning the house for the appraiser” day so we can finally close the deal on our little cottage re-finance. An appraisal means photographs which means terror struck in the hearts of woefully insufficient housekeepers everywhere since an appraisal full of photos of your home will be in existence longer than most marriages (I used to be a loan processor so I KNOW).
Since I hadn’t cleaned spotlessly well since Christmas of 2007, I had a lot of grime to work through. Thank goodness I started last Friday or I would still be on the floor up to my elbows in dog hair, partially read books (can’t seem to get through an entire volume these days) and endless piles of wadded up paper that had formerly been ripped from my ancient typewriter in disgust (just kidding. I love me my Word Perfect program). Last Tuesday was a sick day (remember the Swine Flu? Ah, memories . . . ) and the Tuesday before that, I was recovering from the countless Krispie Kreme donuts I ate with the likes of all of you. That only puts me about 9,000 words behind my goal.

Eeeep!

So, I’m stealing a Thursday. I’m going to make it work, too. 9,000 words in one day! Woot woot! To gear up for being British (know this: Ginny and Sir Anthony are clearly REAL but I’m the dumb American who puts words in their mouths) I've been watching Antiques Roadshow (the British edition) whilst I exercise on my trampoline each morning. It’s been thought provoking since I'm always picking up some odd bit of information that could prove useful in Miss D’s world. Mostly, I'm always struck by the major difference between Brits and Americans.

Let me elaborate:

When an American is told that his civil war gun is worth $2,000, he gets so excited, he practically loads the thing and starts shooting right there and then (or, at the very least, wets his pants) (very quietly) (below camera) (one can only assume).

When a Brit is told “I don’t want to shock you but, your tiny little enameled silver trinket was made by Faberge during the reign of the last Czar of Russia and is worth 20,000 pounds”, (forgive me father, for I have sinned—I do not know how to make the British pound sign) (or can’t remember how) (same diff) the owner merely curls her lips into what is meant to be a smile but looks more like a grimance and murmurs “Well, that’s really quite a sum of money, isn’t it? I think perhaps I’ll celebrate by taking a cab home instead of walking” (presumably right past a public restroom in which one can avail one’s-self of the proper facilities with some dignity).

The British stiff upper lip—long may you refrain from wavering!

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at Wednesday, May 13, 2009 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

40 wise, witty and wonderful comments

I think I like the American way of expressing excitement better. :)

May 13, 2009 at 11:33 AM

So that's what I was seeing on Antiques Roadshow!

May 13, 2009 at 11:37 AM

Yeah I wouldn't make a very good brit!

May 13, 2009 at 11:42 AM

If you ever want a healthy dose of British humour drop me a line and I'll recommend some fab sitcoms for you to watch. =D

May 13, 2009 at 11:43 AM

I'm married to a Brit, and you've got it about right!

Wait. You exercise on a trampoline? What do you do? Indoors? Or out?!

May 13, 2009 at 11:44 AM

I am so much an excitable person, but I do so admire the British restraint. It always comes off hysterical to me, which is why I can watch even the cleaning and antique shows on BBC America, and consider them complete comedies.

May 13, 2009 at 11:51 AM

That is so funny. I've never watched Antiques Roadshow with Britains on it. I guess I'm not missing out?

May 13, 2009 at 11:51 AM

I've never actually seen the British version. But I do enjoy the various reactions even from Americans.

May 13, 2009 at 12:06 PM

Annette--it certainly is more exciting! Kristina-hey, happy birthday, a day late! I think . . Sabrina-it's the French in you! Kim--I know all the older ones .. what are the good new ones? Christy--yes, I have a small trampoline that I exercise on in the house. I have fibromyalgia so I can't do much--the tramp is pretty easy on the joints. Christine--me too! Gordon Ramsay, however, is not a good example of a restrained Brit (but I love him!) Erin--I quite enjoy it b/c I love England and antiques and the British but if you don't love those things, why bother? Lara--it's a totally fun show. Love it!

May 13, 2009 at 12:11 PM

Ugh! I'm so very American that way. I am completely unable to hide my emotions, no matter what they are. You can always tell what kind of day I am having just by looking at me. Sometimes I wish I were a little more of a "closed book", but most of the time I just go with it.

9000 words is a lofty goal. Good luck!! At least your house is clean, right?

May 13, 2009 at 12:14 PM

I love Brits! I love their dry wit, I love their accents, LOVE LOVE LOVE! I KNOW if I ever lived in England, the very day I moved there I would start in on my amazing British accent! Good luck with the 9,000 words, you can do it!

May 13, 2009 at 12:23 PM

I'd offer to write your 9,000 words in exchange for my house being clean... but I'm pretty sure your 9,000 words can't all by synonyms for "ummmmm"

have a good Thursday... and I'll try to get my house clean the old fashioned way (forcing the kids to get something done FAST!)

May 13, 2009 at 12:44 PM

I think as long as you continue to use the word 'whilst' you'll be fine:)

May 13, 2009 at 12:55 PM

That is so funny. I had someone in mind as you were saying that too. I love the antique roadshow. Lots.

May 13, 2009 at 1:10 PM

Nice sign, Heidi!

May 13, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Maybe I'm insane but I like that kind of quiet dignity and decorum. It's a shame that I have none of it myself but I shall have to settle for being one of those "loud" Americans. =]

Loved the picture of Ashworth Street!!!

May 13, 2009 at 1:21 PM

Sue--yes! There's a lot to be said for a clean house! Melinda--thanks for the well wishes! I'm going to need it! T--I really need to train my kids to clean . .. Barb--I love "whilst". I'm glad using it means I'll be okay. :) Jan--it seems that the older people are a bit more stiff lipped than the younger ones . . Roy--why thank you! And, might I add, the photo was taken in England--of course! Laura--I like it too! But I like you just the way you are!

May 13, 2009 at 1:28 PM

Stiff upper lip, huh? I also noticed a lack of emotion in general when we lived there, except for when they mustered up enough of it to correct one of my kids or mock an Americanism, like Costco. LOL Seriously, we loved our time in Great Britain, but the rigidity got exhausting sometimes.

May 13, 2009 at 2:09 PM

Hey, you could also learn some great British slang by watching Simon on American Idol. Or, you can watch the British version of the Office. Crude, but hilarious. Just some suggestions.

Good luck on the appraisal. Those are ALWAYS stressful!

May 13, 2009 at 2:42 PM

My one and only trip to England was in 1990. I spent a week there being a tourist, then took the hovercraft over to France to visit some friends from my mission days. I returned to London via hovercraft and train (ah, the white cliffs of Dover) on the very day that the London Stock Exchange was bombed. I didn't know anything about it because of travelling all day, but while taking the underground from the train station to my hotel, we had to evacuate three stops prior to mine because of a bomb threat. I had all of my luggage with me, and I can't tell you how kind and helpful everyone was. The escalators had been turned off, but everyone was calm and pleasant, and I had numerous people offering to help me carry my luggage upstairs. It was amazingly impressive. I really admire the British Spirit.

May 13, 2009 at 3:57 PM

Oh to be as dignified as the Brits.

May 13, 2009 at 4:04 PM

I love listening to/ watching British movies and television. Lately I've seen a lot of clips from Britain's Got Talent -and I'm always fascinated how much more respect the British have for the judges, than the American's do on American Idol.

May 13, 2009 at 5:41 PM

OH and I'm not a huge fan of deep cleaning either. ;p

May 13, 2009 at 5:42 PM

You are so very funny. You do realize that?

Good luck with the 9000 words. And the refinance. yuck.

May 13, 2009 at 5:48 PM

That's a terrific post.

May 13, 2009 at 6:12 PM

I could never be British. Not only would I be hooting and hollering, I'd probably be the one that hauled some tacky garage sale ceramic elephant in wondering how much it's worth.

Well, okay, MAYBE I have a little more dignity than that. Maybe.

May 13, 2009 at 6:18 PM

Oh man, I feel your pain. I am the worst housekeeper EVER! Good luck with all of that, and all your British writing.

May 13, 2009 at 6:29 PM

Kazzy--I should think it would be hard for me, too. I like to know what's on people's minds. Julie. Yes. I could. I might. Pam--every culture has its upside (have you blogged about this story?) Wendy--you might not fit in at their health clubs, tho (hee hee) Heather--even Simon is better behaved on his side of the pond. Rachel--me? funny? If you say so! :) David--thanks for visiting my blog! Melanie--you and be together, babe. Sher--the pain is literal--it hurts to clean esp when you're a wuss like me!

May 13, 2009 at 6:38 PM

It's always a good feeling to refinance and have a better deal. I had no idea that those pictures are part of a permanent record. That's a little scary!

Good luck on your writing!

May 13, 2009 at 7:43 PM

That's a great idea. Watching Antique Roadshows to learn dialogue. Brilliant. (That's an English word, right?) I am astounded that you can write 9,000 words of such complicated vocab in one day. YOU ROCK!

Go Rock yourself out!

That's a Cubworld song, btw.

Thanks for the birthday wishes! You are so sweet!

May 13, 2009 at 9:48 PM

Ha! I was just watching the British version of Cash in the Attic today, and I thought the wife of the family was very friendly and just seemed like such a nice person. It wasn't until half way through that I realized she had an American accent. That explained it. (NOT to say the British are not nice, of course, they're just less demonstrative).

May 14, 2009 at 5:58 AM

Oops, hit publish too soon. Happy writing today, Heidi!

May 14, 2009 at 5:59 AM

I love the formality and dignity with all things British...and their dry wit.

May 14, 2009 at 6:16 AM

My British friends are among the most UNSTIFF stiffs I know! Though they would probably take exception with your characterization of them, they'd also be the first to snicker at it...(note I said "snicker"..they would NEVER whoop or holler.)

May 14, 2009 at 6:49 PM

Canadians would bury it in the back-yard against future need!

May 15, 2009 at 10:25 AM

Congratulations on the Post of the day Award from David's authorblog!

May 15, 2009 at 12:10 PM

That's hilarious!

British sit-coms are hilarious.

May 15, 2009 at 12:26 PM

9000 words in one day? Seriously? You are my hero, even if you reacted like an American you'd be my hero!

May 15, 2009 at 8:23 PM

Can I just profess my love for your sarcasm and wit? Oh, I can??!! Yay!

I love it, I profess.

May 17, 2009 at 3:37 PM

YOUR busy... we understand, I think we are all trying to play catch up...

May 18, 2009 at 3:22 PM

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