Why the English Talk About the Weather, and Other Stories

It is said that, when meeting the British royals, one should never talk about politics, religion or sex. Considering that the English chopped off the head of one of them during a century abounding in all three activities, this is quite understandable. But I have heard the same said about friends, that friends should never talk about these three things. So what else is there to talk about?

Moreover, the English have never quite mastered the art of saying different things on different days. That is why they talk about the weather, which is generally annoying every day.

It used to be the case in the United Kingdom, and perhaps it still is, that to obtain a passport you needed your photograph endorsed by a signature from a physician, priest or solicitor. One of these three kinds of professional needed to have known you for ten years and so declare that the picture was indeed of yourself. Be it noted that no such confidence was ever reposed in chartered public accountants, mechanical engineers, quantity surveyors or even professors of higher mathematics. Be it noted further that any person not personally known to a doctor, priest or lawyer for ten years was deemed unwanted in the ranks of the holders of Her Majesty’s Passport. Now, as far as I know no attempt was ever made to contact said doctor, priest or solicitor and to check that he was telling the truth, or even that he was himself who he claimed to be. It may thus be suspected that one could in fact obtain a passport by having a complete stranger endorse the back under an assumed name and invented medical, legal or priestly title. In other words, the civil service was unable to imagine either that a doctor, priest or solicitor could lie, or that any member of the lower orders would be so impudent as to impersonate one. This, in the modern idiom, says it all about traditional British society.

Posted on April 7, 2009 at 13:10 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, Beings and Gentlebeings

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