Sunday, 15 November 2015

Small things that make life easier

Visiting Philadelphia last month we checked in at the hotel using my American issued debit card and the receptionist asked for photo ID. I duly handed over my UK passport and I saw the panic enter into her eyes. After I assured her it did have photos of yours truly within its battered maroon covers, and she conferred with her more experienced colleague, she accepted it as valid proof of my existence. Only as we collected the receipt as we left did I see that my address had been entered as Northern Ireland, United States - no street address, no town/city, just two completely geographically separated countries! Such events should now be in the past as I now have my Pennsylvania Driver's License in its full Technicolor glory. I swear I was more nervous for this relatively straightforward test than I was over 20 years ago on a foggy day in the UK. This time the test route was flat, short and simple as opposed to the one taking in the steepest street in the town specially to do the dreaded hill start, as many junction types as possible and a quiet housing estate (subdivision) for the 3 point turn and reversing around a corner. Back then I was disappointed to fail the first attempt (I passed second time around), this time I would have been terminally embarrassed.

Learning to use the correct vocabulary helps make life smoother too - there are the well known examples pavement/sidewalk, tap/faucet, boot/trunk, holiday/vacation, petrol/gas(oline) but less familiar terms crop up too, sometimes to the gentle amusement of one or both sides, this week I discovered that my shake-proof washer is an American's toothed washer and a grub screw is a set screw. Cooking ingredients need care too - all purpose flour is plain flour, self-rising is self raising, golden raisins are sultanas, American granulated sugar is nearer in crystal size to UK caster sugar than UK granulated sugar. For some recipes only the exact ingredient will do, calling for a trip to the international aisle in the supermarket to find a run of the mill UK item, usually at extra cost, for example golden syrup or, for a special occasion, a can of Heinz baked beans, which are not the same the world over as we have discovered. Some surprising things such as Lea & Perrin's Worcestershire Sauce are easily available as standard products. Also I heard "copacetic" (satisfactory, tickety-boo) used in speech for the first time ever - it just doesn't seem to exist in UK English.

My quilting achievement for this week was completing a pair of cushions started in the spring of 2014 - as you can see I had help!

1 comment:

  1. I love that cat pattern with the tessellated tails. Never thought to put half square triangles in the corners; that looks really great. Wonderful colors, too. And of course, the gray moggy makes the bright hues really stand out!