Nath Knits

and should probably be doing something else.

UK vs. Canada – Halfway mark showdown – Day 186*


We landed in the UK six months ago today, which means we’re about halfway through.  In honour of this momentous event, I give you my random, London-centric, completely subjective, statistically invalid, probably unfair, and utterly meaningless decisions on who wins between Canada and the UK.  As George Carlin said, about something totally unrelated, “These are my rules; I make ’em up.”

Winter: Canada

Central heating and insulation, ventilation in houses:  Canada

Public transit: UK (inexpensive, extensive, and frequent)

Current: UK (240V current means the kettle boils my coffee water in less than a minute!  Though it also means that if you stick a fork in the socket, it will actually kill you.  Which is probably why the sockets all have off switches)

Wall sockets that look like faces: Canada.  Compare and contrast

Crisp/chip flavours: UK (I’ve had:  prawn cocktail, onion and cheese, worcester sauce, roast beef and horseradish, haggis, roast chicken, sausage and mustard, and others I can’t remember.  None of them were bad, though some were better than others)

Chip/fries: UK, if purchased from a chippy – I don’t know what they fry them in, but, damn!

Ridiculousness of bureaucracy: UK

Ease with which one can get a family doctor: UK

Food packaging: Canada

Labels indicating provenance of produce (and some dry goods): UK

Tea: UK (you might think this is a no-brainer, but I wasn’t much of a black tea drinker until I got here.  I ordered tea while I was out, on a whim (and because I didn’t have the £2.50 required to buy a decent cup of coffee around here on my person).  It was a revelation – it comes with milk here by default, and they kind of swish and squish the tea bag around in the hot milky water for about a minute before they take it out, when they decide the milk is the right colour.  Who knew I’d be a fan of weak milky tea?  But there you go!  Now I have it every day at home.  Which would be fine if I had cut my coffee consumption accordingly.  My blood pressure should be good and high by the time I get back)

Postal service: UK (again, inexpensive and frequent)

Mayors with unfortunate haircuts: UK

Mayors with unfortunate personal lives: Canada

Number of cyclists: Canada – I was surprised.  Then again, public transit here is pretty good.

Cured and/or smoked pork products: UK. I should do a blog post on this.

Access to haggis in January: UK

Access to black pudding anytime: UK

Coffee: Canada.

Dairy products: UK

Musical notation: Canada (Ok, this one’s a personal thing:  I first learned music notation in French (ronde, blanche, noire, croche, double-croche, etc).  Then I learned it in English in university (whole note, half note, quarter note, eighth note, etc).  Here, despite the fact that they speak English too, it’s totally different (semi-breve, minim, crotchet, quaver, etc).  And crotchet sounds like croche.  It’s messing me up.   Also, why is it a semi-breve when you hardly see breves anywhere.  And what’s a breve called in North-America, anyway?)

Choral pronunciation of Latin: Canada.  But only because I laughed at a choir rehearsal here when the director was telling the choir to please stop pronouncing ‘Hosanna in excelsis’ as hosanna-r-in excelsis.  And also because she keeps telling us to stop sounding like we’re Alan Rickman.  I’m sure my Canadian pronunciation of everything is equally hilarious to them.

Public radio: Canada

Public television: UK

Netflix: Canada (and that’s saying something…)

Cell phone plans: UK

Casual use of the word ‘fuck’ (in all parts of speech) in conversation: UK

Fences around city lots: UK – they love their fences.  Parks have fences around them.  And within them.  It is unheard of for yards not to be fenced.  It is impossible to walk through, say, an apartment building parking lot as a shortcut, because it, or the property it’s on, is fenced in.  In a city where the roads are not in a nice, tidy grid, this can make walking annoying.  By contrast, the countryside has rights-of-way everywhere, dating back hundreds of years, through which the public can walk, and even pet the cows, if one is so inclined and feeling adventurous.

Flowers blooming in winter:  UK.  This might be unfair, given my comment on the superiority of winters in Canada above, but the fact that the fuschias haven’t stopped blooming since July is pretty good consolation for the dreariness of the weather.  My rules; I make ’em up.

Museums: UK

Progress regarding gender stereotyping: Canada.

School year: UK – Only five weeks in the summer, but another seven weeks throughout the year. (In contrast with Canada, which has 9 weeks in the summer, and another three throughout the year.  Same number of weeks, different distribution).  This seems better for keeping the momentum going.  Though I don’t know if it’s easier or harder to find care for your kids that often if both parents are working full-time outside the home.

Overall attitude towards healthy eating: Canada

Ability to buy alcohol: UK (why Canada (except Québec) still has such ridiculous laws around alcohol sales, I do not understand)

Littering: UK

Acceptance and adherence to public recycling and composting programs: Canada

Currency: Canada, but only because they finally dropped the penny.  However, I like that the bills here are different sizes.  And!  It turns out that Scotland prints its own money, which is interchangeable with British currency, but prints the heads of people other than the queen on it.

Parliament Buildings: UK

Mountains: Canada

Enforcement of poop-and-scoop laws: Canada

Kids’ literature and magazines: Canada

Diversity of junk food: UK

Public libraries: Canada

Fish: UK

People knitting in public: Canada

Sunshine: Canada

Number of people with donut buns: UK

Ok.  That’s enough for today.  Thanks for indulging me.  Any requests?

* Day numbers were recalculated and I found I had been wrong in my previous posts.  At some point, like when your children get too old to refer to their ages in months, I should just change to a different unit

Author: nathknits

Mom, knitter, IT nerd, trying to make it all run smoothly.

8 thoughts on “UK vs. Canada – Halfway mark showdown – Day 186*

  1. Speaking of cycling in Canada, I can’t get over how many people are still riding bicycles even in this ridiculous cold, and on roads that are snowy and narrowed by the snow banks. I’m very impressed (and not doing it myself).

    Also, I keep find reasons to miss you (and to be glad you’re halfway to coming back again!). This week’s reason is our scotch party, and not having an oven, and therefore thinking, if only Nath were here to bake a birthday cake for Kevin!

  2. I curious about the fish winning out in the UK vs Canada. S’plain please. Is it a proximity thing?

    • It is a freshness and availability thing. In England, you’re never more than 100km from the sea. It has a pretty strong effect on the freshness of local fish. Plus, mackerel and herring are AWESOME!!

  3. I’m in Victoria, so my Canada is fairly different from yours and probably a lot closer to England for some things–fish, winters, tea. I’m surprised about the knitting!

    • I should have specified that the Canadian side of things for me was Waterloo-centric… The knitting in public surprises you? I see way more people knitting at large (buses, coffeeshops, etc) at home than here.

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