POSTCARD FROM LONDON
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 Football used to be the national sport but has been replaced by bagging the England football team, closely followed by the number two obsession, bagging the England cricket team.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.