‘Why do the British drink so much?’…What the world REALLY wants to know about Britain.
Here at The Original Tour, we are lucky to experience cultures and beliefs from around the world, all thanks to the thousands of international visitors we get every year.
Since June 2016 however, there’s one question that is frequently asked on our bus tours: ‘Why did Britain leave the EU?’
As this is a question that we don’t quite know how to answer, we’re going to do what most politicians do; answer lots of other questions instead.
We’ve analysed Google search terms to see what other questions the world has about Britain. Needless to say, it made for a mixed but interesting read. Germany wants to know why we’re all so ugly and Spain is wondering why we all have such bad teeth…hardly complimentary — see for yourself!
So, let’s steer away from Brexit, bad teeth and general ugliness and answer some different questions instead.New Zealand asks: Why are the British called poms?
Why the British are called poms?
‘Poms.’ The term paints an image that’s for sure. Think middle-aged man in his cricket overalls smoking a pipe. It’s a phrase that was first coined by the Aussies and there are several explanations as to how it came to be. Some say the phrase dates back to around 1912, when the Australian rhyming phrase ‘Jimmy Grant,’ used to describe a British immigrant, changed to ‘pomegranate’ or ‘Pommy Grant.’ The reference to pomegranate is an obvious one to explain. All those pasty chaps with their top hats visiting Australia turned a lovely deep pink colour in the sun. The other well-known myth is that ‘poms’ is simply an acronym for ‘Prisoner of her Majesty.’
Why are the British so good at queuing?
We assume that ‘waiting’ refers to our perfected queuing technique, which offers a comforting sense of order to Britain. Queuing can’t be traced back to a certain point in history. Unfortunately, nobody was around to witness the exact time when people miraculously stood in a line one after the other and hailed it a queue. However, there’s an explanation as to why the British are so well-known for their orderly queuing habits. During World War II, British people queued patiently every day in order to receive their rations. During this time, government propaganda was centred on ‘doing your duty and taking your turn.’ It was this, paired with imagery of orderly ration lines that secured Britons the title as the most patient queue lovers in the world.
Why does Britain drive on the left?
Belgium isn’t alone when it comes to asking this particular question. Maybe to the rest of the world Britain’s refusal to drive on the right is seen as a weak attempt at being different. Well, Britain isn’t trying to be annoying on purpose. The tradition of driving on the left-hand side actually dates back to a time when Britain was a feudal and violent society. Carrying a sword was a necessity when travelling as you were never quite sure who you were going to meet. Brits kept to the left of the road on horseback as most people wielded a sword in their right hand. If people passed one another from the right, it meant that it was easier to defend yourself. Some habits are never broken.
To find out what questions Britain is asking about the rest of the world, check out the full data set on The Original Tour website.
Originally published at daysout.theoriginaltour.com.