POST­CARD FROM LON­DON

The Courier-Mail - QWeekend - - UPFRONT - mike colman

They say Eng­land and Amer­ica are two coun­tries di­vided by a com­mon lan­guage. The same can be said of Eng­land and Aus­tralia. For any­one con­sid­er­ing liv­ing in Lon­don, here is a handy list of words that mean one thing here and an­other there:

Flat. Aus­tralians live in units and their cars get flats. Here they live in flats and a car park­ing space can cost more than a unit in Toowong.

Util­ity. Ask Lon­don­ers if they have a laun­dry in their unit and they’ll look at you as if you’re an id­iot. The cor­rect ter­mi­nol­ogy is: “Do you have a util­ity room in your flat? ” They’ll still look at you as if you’re an id­iot, but for a dif­fer­ent rea­son. Why use per­fectly good space for a util­ity room when you can put your washer and dryer in the kitchen, and why waste a kitchen on cook­ing when there’s a per­fectly good In­dian take­away up the High Street?

Man­sions. In Aus­tralia man­sions are enor­mous houses that fea­ture par­ents’ re­treats, home the­atres, pow­der rooms and re­sort-style in­fin­ity pools. Here they are old blocks of flats with grand names like Wilm­ing­ton Man­sions and door­men who wear suits and do cross­words all day.

Off-Li­cence. They don’t have bot­tle shops here. If you want to grab a few beers or a bot­tle of wine on the way home, you go to the near­est off-li­cence, where you can also pick up some stale bread, brown ba­nanas and pack­ets of sweets from Le­banon.

Foot­ball. Over here soc­cer is foot­ball, rugby league and rugby union are rugby and Aus­tralian foot­ball is “I think I saw it once late on Sky”. Foot­ball used to be the na­tional sport but has been re­placed by bag­ging the Eng­land foot­ball team, closely fol­lowed by the num­ber two ob­ses­sion, bag­ging the Eng­land cricket team.

A road­wor­thy cer­tifi­cate is an MOT, Boots means chemist, a buggy is a stroller, ice lolly means ice­block, en­gi­neers are trades­men and chips are crisps. Con­fused? Be thank­ful you’re not Amer­i­can.

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