My husband just reminded me I’m not British . . .

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And I really DO know I am American. I don’t go swanning around using my faux posh bird accent when I pop into the Piggly Wiggly.

I still feel a true swell of pride in the old USA when I sing The Star-Spangled BannerEven after repeated trips to Mt. Rushmore, I would still feel a tear come to my eye  And I say “ya’ll” which is definitely an Americanism of the southern persuasion.

However, I was speaking earlier this evening of a television production on one of the premium channels that had been renewed for a second series.
He cast a gimlet eye at me. “Here in this country we say second season, dear.” Oops.

I suppose he expects his ladywife to start talking of car boot sales, riding on lifts, minding the gap whilst on the Tube and tossing a spanner into the works. Not to mention enjoying a cuppa, having a proper kip, or talking about how many stone I want to shed. Getting my fringe trimmed, varnishing my toenails and avoiding getting my knickers into a twist. And, OK, sometimes I use British spellings instead of American spellings. Doesn’t make me a disloyal American, now, does it?

I have mentioned to him that quite a few of my RA friends are, not surprisingly, British, not to mention the Aussies, Kiwis and Canadians. And a number of other nationalities who studied British English rather than American-style. And I try to write fanfics/fiction with English characters using British spellings and phrases because it seems the proper thing to do.

The fact is, I love my country but I also love England and have since I was a child. I eagerly read stories set in England (one called The Snowstorm by Beryl Netherclift was a particular favorite) and devoured my older sisters’ Agatha Christie mysteries, Jane Eyre, Daphne DuMaurier’s works and assorted and sundry gothic novels, many by British authors.

And then there were the imported British television and films. I started watching Masterpiece Theatre when I was nine or ten–Upstairs, Downstairs, Poldark, and many other British productions over the years. The summer before my 10th birthday, my older sister went overseas as an exchange student for six weeks. She spent four of those six weeks in England, studying at Oxford–was it Balliol or Christchurch? Sis, help me out!–and visiting various places on the weekends.

Christchurch College, Oxford. A sight familiar to my sister's eyes. Or was it Balliol?

I eagerly awaited those blue and white air mail letters and faithfully wrote back each week in those days long before emails. I loved her descriptions of the cities and towns and countryside, the food (she missed ice-cold Cokes, American hamburgers and Hershey bar chocolates) and the people. I knew that one day I wanted to visit there, too, this country I had explored in books, short stories and films.

I got that chance in 1999 with a small group of students. So much of what I saw in London, Canterbury and the surrounding countryside seemed ever so familiar to me.  Of course, these were places I had read about, heard about, seen before in photographs, films and TV; but it was more than that. I felt curiously at home there, as if I had been there before. My sister, who has been back several times, says the same thing.

We speculate that it is some sort of imprint on our genetic memory.  Our ancestors–Irish, English and Scottish–came from the United Kingdom. So perhaps it’s in our blood–or at least, our genes. And now I find myself totally gobsmacked by this brilliant Brit actor who is dead sexy and can act his cotton socks off.

My favourite actor, Richard Crispin Armitage.

Little wonder I am such a thorough Anglophile.  It’s the company I keep. And I love it!

66 responses »

  1. I am definitely an Anglophile, despite being a proud Canadian. My mother’s father (who died before I was born) came from London at the turn of the 20th century so that’s my closest connection. All my other ancestors were from somewhere in the British isles (mostly Ireland). But I felt very much at home in Northern England and Scotland when I visited there in 2010. (Perhaps because I’m a Northern girl in my own country?) Anyway, we are all related in our admiration of the one known as RA!
    P.S. Your Uncle Sam bears a striking resemblance to him (in a fatherly way), don’t you think?

    • I think probably most of us here are Anglophiles to some degree even if we aren’t actually Brits. I know my little Hungarian friend Judit certainly is! My Scots-Irish roots on Daddy’s side date back to a gentleman who came to the colonies in the mid-18th century, and I am not sure how long it’s been since Mama’s English ancestors came across the pond. But I love the little connections I see. Here in the south we say “reckon” so I love it when I hear a Brit say it. πŸ˜‰ And yes, we are one great sisterhood related by our admiration for the lovely Richard! And I see what you mean about Uncle Sam . . . πŸ˜€

      • Yes, I reckon ( πŸ™‚ ) I must have been English in a previous life. When I lived in London I felt so at home. I still get homesick for London every now and then.

        • I reckon that’s how I felt when I was in England, as if I had lived there before. We just assumed it had something to do with our ancestry. I do so hope to go back one day.

  2. LOL, Angie….I wasn’t aware of how many English slang words and phrases I’d been using lately until Matthew said on Saturday, “You DO watch a lot of British television, don’t you, Mum?”!!!!

    I love our online iView (or ABC Catch Up) because I can “catch up” on most programmes that I’ve missed over the previous 2 weeks and so many of them come from the BBC or ITV.

    But, then, I also love my DVD recorder and player because I can record shows to watch later. I am yet to “catch up” on the last 2 seasons of “The Good Wife”!!! I haven’t started on “Homeland” yet and the finale of the 1st season was on Sunday! ……and so on it goes…..

    I don’t tend to use many Americanisms but I’m so glad you guys invented such things as “guys” and “OK” and I have always said “Hi” – I’ll never greet someone with a “Hey” as it sounds rude to me!

    πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰

    • When I was a child, I remember hearing, “‘Hey’ is for horses . . ” indicating it wasn’t the proper way to address someone. πŸ˜‰ Of course as a southern American, I was also brought up to say “sir” and “ma’am” when speaking to adults and of course, “thank you” and “please.” When we were flying back from Europe, I remember the airline flight attendant commenting on how nice our group of young people was–so very polite. She took quite a fancy to us. πŸ˜€

      We use our DVRs on our satellite receivers a lot. You’ll have to tell me what you think of Homeland when you get around to watching it. I thought it was excellent. Damian Lewis is very creditable as an American soldier–of course, he’s already done it with Band of Brothers.

    • Well said,Kathryngaul! As Mrs. Lambchop says in Flat Stanley, “Hey is for horses, Arthur, not people”! πŸ™‚

  3. My ancestry is 3/4 Irish and 1/4 English and , yes, I did feel at home when I visited Ireland and England in 1997. Mine came to Australia between 1860 and 1865.

    I say “reckon”, too, Angie!

  4. I’m complete anglophile and here in Belgium we’ve receveid the BBC channels for a very long time. British series are widely broadcast on belgian and french TV too.
    I never couldn’t explain that anglophilia but when I discovered Mr Gorgeous “Let there be light” ! Unfortunetaly I can’t claim British ancestry like you.

    Memories, sweet memories …. “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again” I adored DaphnΓ© du Maurier’s novel and what do you think of Richard playing Maxim de Winter ?

    • Oh, he’d be a fantastic Maxim. That’s one of those I have re-read several times over the years. Who would be good for wife #2 (since she has no name)? And Mrs. Danvers? Dame Judith was deliciously sinister in the Olivier/Fontaine version.

  5. Although I am third generation Australian, and very proud to be so, I am also proud and very fond of my English and Irish roots. We have had two trips over there, six weeks in England and Ireland in ’08, and four in England last year, and I would go back in a heartbeat. I had a big lump in my throat and tears in my eyes when we touched down in Dublin; there was a real sense of connection there, and in England as well.
    I have always loved English history, and so much of it is now more meaningful, having been to places I had only read about in the history books or seen onscreen.
    British film, television, and literature has always been a source of great enjoyment for me, and I have been partial to British actors. Now, of course, one particularly gorgeous and talented Brit actor has my sole attention and devotion!
    BTW I tend to say “reckon” a lot as well, although I tend not to write it much. Maybe I need to change that!! πŸ™‚

    • I tried logging in again earlier but I couldn’t for some reason.

      That anonymous “we said it, too!” was actually moi…… in regard to “hey is for horses”!

      I’ve noticed recently that fewer people are saying “reckon” in Australia…it’s still said by us oldies, of course! Like you, Mezz, I don’t tend to write it much either.

      Ah, English history…I can still remember learning all those dates and events and then rattling them all off in class. I stunned a younger person just recently by remembering “who, where and when” in reference to the signing of the Magna Carta! It followed a discussion of the merits (or otherwise!) of our darling lad’s version of “Robin Hood”, of course!

    • I am a big history buff, too, history was a minor for me in college. I would also love to go to Ireland, Scotland and Wales. One of my nieces did a semester of college in Scotland and loved it. And I am the girl who used to take home her lit books and read them cover to cover in the first couple of days of school. I was always looking for something new to read. πŸ˜€ And it is exciting to see the places you’ve read and studied about in person. And for me as an American to walk inside a cathedral or a castle built 1,000 years or more ago ago is a bit mind-blowing.

      I have had many Brit actors I have admired over the years but none, of course, as much as RA, I reckon. πŸ˜€

      • It was the age of things that we saw that blew us away too, angie: Stonehenge, Newgrange passage tomb in Ireland – older than the pyramids- standing stones and stone circles, Tintagel in Cornwall, so many amazing sites. Australian “civilized” history is less than 250 years old, although our indigenous history goes back thousands of years of course.

        • Here in the US a building that is 200 years old is considered really old– that seems almost like a drop in the bucket compared to the ages of some structures in Europe. Of course, here we have evidence of the Native American presence that goes back thousands of years. Many place names here are Indian–Talladega, Tallapoosa, Tombigbee, Autauga, Tuscaloosa and many more.

  6. I love the story and your analysis of the passion for whatever is British.
    It’s unexplicable to me, but I passed it to kids already. They both want to live in London when they are old enough.

    I started my addiction to Great Britain at 11, when I had my first English lesson at school. I have a weak point for Ireland as well. Irish are more similar to Italian than they would recognize and the colours you can find in the wilderness of Ireland is something difficult to forget.

    Now, have you got an explanation to what happened to me, your Italian reader and fan?

    • Thanks, Carla. I sometimes think I have a very Irish temperament in some ways (Daddy always said I inherited his “fine Irish skin” LOL) As to your fascination for Britain, well, it seems to have struck several other ladies here who are also not of English/Irish/Scottish heritage . . . I don’t know, the literary traditions in part, I wonder?

  7. Good gracious, Angie! I could have written that post! When we went to England and Scotland in 02, my Mom and I kept talking about how at home we felt. We were giggling in a rest area in rural Scotland because a pair of elderly ladies reminding us of her Mom and her sister! They are 1/2 Scots. We visited Shakespeare’s church, which to us, is our ancestor’s church. There is a place with his name on in the Church, and he, his wife and son are buried on the back wall. He was the rector when the steeple was erected. I’ve been enjoying British TV and literature since I was very young!

    But I also am a proud American! I’m proud of my ancestor’s who fought in the Revolutionary War! Other branches of my family have been here since the 1630’s and 1640’s.

    I am a huge history buff as well. (I almost couldn’t help is being raised by two history teachers!) vacations for us always included a historic bent! Go to the beach one day, take a walking touring of the Patriot’s walk in downtown Boston the next… I wouldn’t have it any other way. But my brother…

    • Fortunately, both Benny and I are history buffs, so we enjoy visiting the same sorts of places when we travel. πŸ˜‰ I long to go back with just him and not the little brood of students. Bless his heart, due to his height he stayed to the back of the pack to make sure we didn’t lose anybody and sometimes missed out on things at places like the British Museum, Westminster Abbey and the Louvre. He would love to go to the Imperial War Museum, which I read is going to be shut down for at least a portion of 2013.

  8. I’m sorry to go off topic but could someone explain the evidence that we have that RA’s middle name is Crispin, I vaguely remember in Robin Hood that Guy Crispin Gisborne attempted to marry Marian ( the ring was on the finger so she probably was ‘married’)but is there any evidence from the man himself?

    • Crispin truly is his real middle name. Check our IMDb; Wikipedia; richardarmitagenet.com among others who verify this. I think that is what made us chuckle when they used it as Guy’s middle name to at the “marriage”!! πŸ™‚

      • IMDb and Wikipedia are ‘fan’ led and they cannot be taken as gospel. The mention of a middle name has only occurred in the last few years since RH so i’m still not convinced.

        • Since there is no “official” website for Richard, I have no way of knowing how to verify if it is or isn’t “Crispin.” I have just assumed it was, thinking that if it was not Crispin, Richard probably would have gotten wind of it and let it be known through one of his clever messages. But that’s just speculation. *shrugs shoulders*

  9. It was Balliol, Sis. We were supposed to be at Christchurch, but they were unable to accommodate our group there.

    You know I adore the UK, too. It’s my favorite place outside the USA. I realize that’s due in part to the common language and to the enhanced opportunity for immersion in the culture (I’ve never spent more than two weeks in any other country), but there’s more to it than that. As you say, I think we both developed a great affinity for Britain and her people long before either of us had the good fortune to actually spend time there. I will be forever grateful for that long-ago summer experience. It’s indeed a highlight of my life.

    P.S. Once I discovered Cadbury bars at a shop in Oxford, the lack of Hershey’s was no problem:) In fact, I was thrilled when Cadbury later became available stateside.

    • Thanks, sis. I knew it was one or the other, but I wasn’t sure which was the college you actually ended up at. I am so glad you got the chance to enjoy that trip and I enjoyed all your stories (and of course, read The Borrowers Omnibusyou brought me so many times it finally fell apart!)

      Oh, yes, Cadbury’s is a wonderful choice. I noticed Cadbury vending machines in the Tube when we were there. Every so often CVS has their Cadbury bars on sale and I indulge. Totally yummy—and the eggs! Sinful, indeed. πŸ˜€

      • Angie…what is CVS, please?

        One of the things Melanie misses most about Australia is Cadbury’s chocolate so we always have to bring her some when we visit!

        She lives in Oceanside, CA – about 1 1/2 hours’ drive south of Los Angleles and about 3/4 north of San Diego. Do you know where she can get Cadbury’s near her?

        • Kathryn, tell Melanie to try 1706 Oceanside Blvd. in Oceanside–that’s the location of their CVS Pharmacy 1-760-721-2433 More info at http://www.cvs.com. I am assuming they would carry a lot of the same merchandise. Or–she might even be able to order it online. Our CVS here has quite a selection of chocolates–Whitman’s, Cadbury’s, Lindzt, Ghiardelli and more. They keep the Cadbury Bars in the general candy aisle here.

          • Thank you so much!!! Melanie will be delighted.

            I know she has found a shop which sells some English goodies and even our Vegemite! It’s bit like the English and New Zealand Marmite. I believe that Marmite is in short supply since the Christchurch earthquake so I hope any of the English actors who like it have been able to find it elsewhere!

        • Hi Kathryngaul, I live in San Diego and unfortunately for my waistline I am a Cadbury fan as well. If the CVS Angie has mentioned doesn’t have Cadbury, I’ve found them at Ralphs grocery stores and Rite-Aid. πŸ™‚

          • Thank you – I know she goes to San Diego occasionally so I’ll tell her.

            I just looked at the CVS store in Oceanside online and, unfortunately, they don’t carry Top Deck which is Melanie’s favourite Cadbury’s choc: it’s dual-layered – milk chocolate on the bottom and white chocolate on the top! But they have Carmello which she also likes!

              • I think it depends on where in the US you are. Here in my part of the South, we say “CARAmuhl” with emphasis on the “cara” but other places you’d be more likely to hear CAR-muhl. I grew up eating Kraft’s caramels (which always featured a few fudge caramels mixed into the bag–Yumoooo!) and having caramel apples at Halloween.

                Now “pecan” is another interesting word. I believe Martha Stewart, that doyen of entertaining, says “Pee-CAN” but around these parts we say “Pee-KAHN.” Some folks say “PEE-Can,” too. And we make pecan pies that are as rich and sweet and syrupy as some oldah ladies’ and gentleman’s accents, my deah. πŸ˜‰ There’s a business in our neighboring county that makes some of the most delicious pecan candies and savories you can imagine–it’s pricey, but it’s good and you can tour their candy kitchens to watch them making it. They have a mail order business and people from all over the country order from Preister’s.

            • Oh, yes, we have Caramello here, too, one of my favs.( Richard also reminds me of caramel as well as chocolate. πŸ˜‰ ) I also love Fruit and Nut–an Irish friend of mine who grew up on the Isle of Wight turned me on to that–and good ol’Dairy Milk with Almonds. I haven’t seen the Top Deck kind. But just maybe the other stores Dawn mentioned might carry it.

              • Top Deck and Fruit and Nut are my absolute favourites. I’m a Cadbury’s girls! πŸ™‚

              • I just don’t understand how anyone can NOT like chocolate. I mean, I think I was hooked from the very first bite of the stuff, whatever that happened to be. My mother used to whip up a birthday cake of our choice. Mine was usually either a German’s chocolate (chocolate cake with a coconut pecan icing) or a yellow layer cake with lots of chocolate icing . . .

            • My pleasure! Although maybe we don’t get all the fancy options here? I’ve just seen the bars, except around Easter when we get the eggs and mini eggs (my fave). Top Deck sounds wonderful!

            • Oh, do you mean the chocolate eggs with the white cream and the bit of yellow for the yolk in the middle??? I just luuuurve those and try not to pick any up when I go through the checkout at the supermarket!

              • Oh, YES. Sinful indeed, those Cadbury eggs. They used to run commercials with cute little bunnies hopping around clucking like chickens. πŸ˜‰ I restrict myself to enjoying one or two in the spring. I need to get Benny some malted milk ball eggs. That is his favorite Easter treat.

              • Oh, Angie…malted milk ball eggs sound just wonderful!!!

                I used to buy malted milk powder to make hot malted milk for winter. We inherited the Horlicks brand from the Brits but Nestle (with the acute accent over the last “e” – don’t have a French keyboard!!!!) also make it and it used to be cheaper than Horlicks.

                I must see if the supermarkets still carry malted milk powder – it’s coming up to winter soon and we have very cold and very long winters in Canberra! But that’s one of the main reasons I love living here – give me the cold over stinky hot humid days any day!!!

  10. I was one of those who was taught the British English variant at school, as was nearly always the case then. Nowadays, American English is taught a lot in schools. I wouldn’t call myself an Anglophile, but I believe I’ve always preferred Brit actors to American.

    My first visit to Britain was in summer 1984, when I worked as an au pair there. Have some really wonderful memories from that time. I did a couple of trips to Britain again in the late 80’s. Then I aslo visited Scotland (Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh).

    Perhaps my best time in London was in summer 1994, when I visited the city together with my now late Dad – just the two of us. He had so much wished to see London just once, and it felt so wonderful to do it all on his terns only. On the first day, he thought it was too crowded, but then he was just loving it! We were both having such a great time. That was the only time I ever travelled alone with Dad.

    I’ve never been to the States, but I’ve once visited Canada (Vancouver and Vancouver Island). That was in the late 70’s. Dad had some relatives there, I believe his uncle emigrated there in the 40’s. I still remember the strange feeling when visiting the island capital, Victoria. For me, it felt so British, not American at all, although it was so near to the US border. And I hadn’t been to Britain at that time.

    I so much wish I would be able to see Richard perform on a London treatre stage – not in a very distant future. I dream of staying in London for a longer period of time then and seeing the show every night!

    • How lovely that you have those special memories with your dad and the London trip. And your dream sounds absolutely wonderful. I would adore seeing him on stage just once, but repeated views–what bliss!!

  11. Angie, you used the term series instead of season. Last night an upcoming show was advertised here as the being the second season. First time I’ve seen “season” used here!

      • Celebrity Apprentice, kathryn. I don’t watch it, only noticed it because the ad displayed “season” instead of “series” and use of these terms have come up in discussion before!

        Angie, Americanisms are definitely creeping in. Heinz label their tomato sauce “ketchup” here now, much to my disgust!

        • πŸ˜€ Now, here in the US tomato sauce and ketchup are two different products. Tomato sauce is generally used to make, for example, homemade spaghetti sauce or perhaps in a stew or casserole. Ketchup is one of the favorite condiments–French fries (chips) with ketchup, on hamburgers–here in the south we use it on hot dogs,too, but an native New Yorker thought we were insane for doing that. Apparently ketchup is verboten on hot dogs there. πŸ˜‰ it is also called “catsup” but I’ve always called it “ketchup.”

          • Our tomato sauce is a condiment, so the ketchup is a condiment too. In cooking I use tomato paste (concentrated tomato) or pureed tomatoes. Passata is an Italian tomato cooking sauce that’s very handy too!

            • Yeah, we actually prefer tomato paste ourselves. When we make our crockpot stew, which is a variation on the southern favorite, Brunswick stew, we use canned chopped tomatoes, ketchup and tomato paste (I love tomatoes in any and all forms)–not to mention Worchestershire sauce and a generous dash of pepper sauce. πŸ˜‰

        • Yeah, I hate that, too!!

          I’m not disparaging Americans when I say I don’t want to be a pseudo-American but I don’t! I hate the way so many people are saying “March the 28th” these days like the Americans when it’s always been “the 28th of March”!!!!!

          I want us to stay us, the Americans to stay American, the Brits to stay British, etc., etc.

          “Welcome our similarities and celebrate our differences” is my motto.

          • Oh, I don’t want a homogenized world, either. I remember being terribly disappointed as a young child that there wasn’t a huge difference when you crossed from one state into another one–you know, different colored grass, people with different-colored hair, that sort of thing. πŸ˜‰ I just wondered if the prevalence of American films and TV in other countries might be leading to adoption of more Americanisms? Just as my fondness for British television, films and books leads me to use more Brit terms and phrases than I might otherwise use.

            • I think it probably is due to television and films.

              Don’t get me wrong – I love American television and movies. Just lately, I’ve been recording most of the American programmes on television…..mainly because I’m usually on the computer at night! The British ones I mostly watch on ABC iView/Catch Up (as they’re online for 2 weeks) – otherwise I record them, too, if they don’t clash with someting I’m already recording.

              I really need to make time to “catch up” on such shows as “The Good Wife”, “A Gifted Man”, “Person of Interest”, “Alcatraz” and “Terra Nova”.

              Was “Terra Nova” only 1 season long on American television and is it true that it was then cancelled? I’m looking forward to watching it as Shelley Conn is in it with Jason O’Mara – he’s soooo cute! I watched him in the American version of “Life on Mars” as I didn’t see the English one with John Simm.

              • I don’t know if Terra Nova was cancelled or not . . . it was an extremely expensive production with all the CGI effects so it’s possible it was. I saw most of the eps. I thought it really didn’t hit its stride until the latter part of the season. Yes, Shelley and Jason make a very cute couple. πŸ˜€ *I just checked and it has indeed been cancelled. There were talks to do some sort of deal with Netflix and offer a second season as streaming video, but that fell through.

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