You know what really surprises me?
This whole north/south divide thing.
At least, it did surprise me until just last week.
Now, maybe this is because I’m a northerner – and everyone knows we live in semi-dark, freezing conditions up here; I mean, we all wear flat caps and mumble into warm beer ‘n’ stuff – but when I was in London recently (Covent Garden) I walked into a shop and asked the assistant where the nearest cash machine is. She looked at me with a vague expression, shrugged, shook her head, and replied in broken English that she didn’t know. I’m not sure if she meant she didn’t understand my question or if she didn’t know where the nearest ATM was but . . . well, I’m pretty sure if I did the same thing in Newcastle, the assistant would reply in a Geordie accent and tell me exactly where the nearest cash machine is.
And then I asked a security guard outside a shop in Piccadilly Circus if he’d point us to the right street for Fortnum & Mason, and what did he do? He shrugged, shook his head and replied in broken English that he didn’t know where it was.
And then (yup, I could go on), after a long meeting with my agent, we went to the pub. When I asked for a large Bombay Saphire with tonic . . . guess what? Yep. The guy behind the bar shrugged, shook his head and replied in broken English that he didn’t know what it is.
Blimey. It really IS a foreign country down there.