SO IT looks like Cameron has bowed to peer pressure and is going to allow a tiny handful of refugees in. How very kind of him. Pathetic as the number will be, it will no doubt still annoy the 'Who do these immigrants think they are, using our NHS, taking our jobs' brigade (which remind me of the wonderful gag 'Bloody Foreigners, coming over here, demanding to know what love is). So to make sure they fit in as seamlessly as possible, I have put together the ultimate guide to becoming British in a jiffer.
- Become obsessed with the weather
We Brits love to discuss the possibility of rain. No plans are made until the forecast has been checked, even though we know it will be always wrong, unless it says it is going to rain. Much as we claim to hate the rain, we can't seem to cope in any other weather condition. Develop an affinity for your favourite weatherperson and write to them regularly “Dear Carol, you said it would not rain on Saturday and it did. My sister’s wedding was a wash-out. I do all like your new blue coat however. The red one made you look a bit like a fancy woman.”
- Develop a taste for tea
Not just a cup of tea either, but a 'nice' cup of tea. We will never offer a rubbish one, although often people make it so. 'Putting the kettle on' is another term for the same thing. Whatever you do, don’t attempt to actually wear the kettle. We are also renowned for laughing at other people’s misfortunes (and sharing them on Facebook).
- Ask 'How are you?'
but be mortified at any reply which isn't 'I'm fine thanks, you?'.'Marvellous' is to be met with an awkward silence; no-one likes a show-off. 'Now that you ask, I'm feeling dreadful, shall I tell you all about it?' is even worse however. We don’t want an answer, we don’t care. We just want to appear polite.
- Drink excessive amounts of alcohol as quickly as possible
We don’t bother with sociable drinking amongst friends here. Get wasted on shots, throw up whilst mates film it for facebook and spend the rest of the weekend bragging about how drunk you were and how bad you feel. We respect that stuff.
- Find a queue and stand in it
Whenever you see people queuing in a line, go and stand at the back of it immediately, even if you have no idea what is at the front. Border controls can be time consuming for us all and newcomers to the UK will have to learn that waiting quietly is the backbone of our society. Be warned however, moving to a faster moving queue at LIDL may be met with anything from a stern glare to a loud tut. If you receive either of the above, you have done it wrong.
- Start tutting
A tut can convey a myriad of emotions from mild annoyance at a queue hopper to a deep disappointment that the Carol got the weather forecast wrong again. Nothing says Brit like a disapproving tut. As you finish the tut, raise your head slightly and roll your eyes elaborately to the heavens for extra punch. If someone asks you if there is a problem however, you must claim to be “fine”. Never explain how you actually feel. We simply can’t cope with it.
- Ask about people’s journeys
When arriving in Britain after navigating the treacherous Mediterranean crossing, followed by thousands of miles across mainland Europe, expect the following questions.
'Did the boat leave on time?'
'How long did you queue at customs?'
'Did you go on the ring road around Paris or straight through the middle where it is utter bedlam?'
'Did you pay to go on the motorway or come on the A roads?' 'I don't trust that woman on Sat-Nav, what does she know?'
Talking about journeys is far more important that what the journey is for and is the only time you can actually properly answer a question with anything except "fine". We genuinely love to know how long you spent in traffic, which service stations you stopped at and if there was a Marks and Spencer there. (To be truly British, call it ‘Marks and Sparks’). Be descriptive about the traffic too. Was it at a standstill, did it crawl along or was it ‘stop-start’ all the way? You’ll have us tutting like mad. You might even get a "poor you" out of it.
- Moan about foreigners
Despite the fact that a large proportion UK citizens are descended from abroad and we choose to summer ourselves in foreign climes (due to the unreliability of Carol Kirkwood’s forecasts), we feel very worried about 'people coming over here and stealing from us’. (Even though, when we emigrate, we become ex-pats, which is really just a fancy term for immigrant).
Always remember to speak English very slowly, loudly and enunciate each syllable very clearly. Remember, if English isn't your mother tongue you must be deaf or uneducated.
I do hope this guide helps. Now I'm off to hang out the washing, before it starts raining.