Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Bit From A Book...

Today I think I'll start an occassional post series entitled, "Bit From A Book." It will not take the genius's (what's the plural of genius?) among you to work out that "Bit From A Book" will contain... well... a bit from a book.
So, anyway, today's selection has to come from that dry-witted observationist Bill Bryson. Despite having all his books, I had no hesitation in choosing the following snippet which, the first time I read it, caused me to laugh out-loud like a drain (it was quite a long time ago, but I seem to recall that I may have been in a public place at the time - a train maybe). This is taken from 'Notes from a Small Island' - describing Bryson's wanderings around Britain. (A quick aside - for those of you from distant parts of the world who get a little confused about us over here: Great Britain is the big island consisting of England, Scotland and Wales; the UK is what we are as a big mush with Northern Ireland included (I am not inviting a political discussion here!) and whose full title is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Ireland is a whole separate country which uses Euros instead of pounds sterling (I have got two Irish Aunties - they are lovely!). So I hope that helps those of you likely to answer in a similar vein to the American lady who, when asked which part of England she liked best, replied 'Scotland'!! This is marginally less dangerous than if the question and answer had been the other way round: Should she have been asked, 'which is your favourite part of Scotland?' and replied, 'England' she may well have been lynched by any passing Scot - end of aside!).
So, back to Mr. Bryson, here is the bit that made me laugh like a drain:

[In the residents' lounge of a grim old-fashioned B&B in the 70's, Mrs. Smegma is the formidable proprietress]
"When the programme finished , I was about to hoist myself from the chair and bid this happy trio a warm adieu when the door opened and Mrs Smegma came in with a tray of tea things and a plate of biscuits of the sort that I believe are called teatime variety, and everyone stirred friskily to life, rubbing their hands keenly and saying, 'Ooh, lovely.' To this day, I remain impressed by the ability of Britons of all ages and social backgrounds to get genuinely excited by the prospect of a hot beverage."
Bill Bryson, Notes from a Small Island, pg 24, (Black Swan 1995)

It is funny because it is sadly true, I mean, you even get Brits who call a bloomin blog after a teapot - what's that all about?!


At April 15, 2006 12:44 pm, Anonymous Solevoice said...

Dear Michelle,

This has to be one of the most entertaining and varied blogs that I have read of recent times, I particuarly enjoyed 'A Bit From A Book' and will probably try it on my own blog.

Many thanks and keep it up!

Best Wishes,


At April 15, 2006 1:40 pm, Anonymous Michelle said...

Thanks SV,
I'm really pleased that you're enjoying the blog, and your comments are a real encouragement.


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