P is for Pocketbook

Here’s a funny thing about bags. In America it seems like lots of people don’t call handbags, handbags. They call them pocketbooks. Which is odd. As child 3 so beautifully put it… “I would have thought that a pocketbook was some kind of book you put in your pocket.” But no. It is a handbag….

S is for Showing

Quick note to self. Stop calling that thing when people come and look at your house which is up for sale a “viewing”. That, I have learned, is a British thing. Instead, call it a “showing”. Because if you persist in calling it a “viewing”, all your American friends will be able to think of…

H is for Hooker and S is for Sideburn

Here are two men that I just recently learned about from Child 2: On the left is Ambrose Burnside. Burnside was a Civil War officer with a bit of a checkered career: at one point being conspired against (according to Wikipedia anyway) by the man on the right, Joseph Hooker. But that’s not what is…

S is for Suspenders

Only in America would you get a text like this one from a neighbour: To be fair – it is Halloween. But this is not the kind of neighbourhood where people borrow each other’s intimate underwear (thankfully). No one wanted one of these: What they wanted were braces. By which I do not mean these:…

C is for Chorus and Chorale

Here is a report of a very recent chat between me and Child 3 who, now eleven, has recently started Middle School. Me: “So, did you have choir today?” 3: “Mom. It’s called chorus.” Me: “Oh, yeah. I knew that. Sorry. It’s a British thing.” 3; “It’s fine. I understand. And I know what you…

A is for Aluminum

On Tuesday Child 2 found something I said so amusing that he had to get his phone out and record me. Seriously, that’s just wrong. Isn’t it?? Anyway the word in question, as you may have guessed, was Aluminum, because in Britain its not Aluminum, its Aluminium. To be clear: US English – Aluminum –…

P is for Piss Off

Oh my, oh my. This has totally made my day! This is apparently a wet-suit shampoo which I’m sure is a very useful product for wet-suits wearers (not me). Up until this moment I thought that the main US/UK confusion over the word piss was confined to the state of being ‘pissed’ which inĀ  US…

F is for FLOTUS

Let’s begin with a little confession. A couple of years ago I watched a whole series of VEEP thinking that the President (who was never seen because the programme is all about Selina, the Vice President) was actually called Potus. I thought it was his surname. Thankfully my lovely husband was able to put me…

L is for Letterman

Some days – not everyday – it’s all a bit like living in a movie. Normally I feel this way when people start talking about their country club membership (think Caddyshack) or proms and homecoming (think Grease, Back to the Future, Peggy Sue got married etc etc). But this weekend, Child 1 brought home this:…

C is for Caucusing

Feeling topical this morning, I have been dittering around on the internet – and dipping in and out of my much loved Historical Thesaurus of the the Oxford English Dictionary – wondering if the word caucus originated in the States. Caucus, and in particular the -ing form (gerund or participle? maybe depends on the usage?)…