A Boxing day story with American sub-titles

A Boxing day story with American sub-titles

Boxing day was cool (10 degrees), so I wore plus twos over my pants, added a jumper and topped it off with my mackintosh, wellies and balaclava. There was not enough snow for sledging, so I left my toboggan behind.

The translation.

Boxing day. The day after Christmas, when it was traditional in Britain for the wealthy to give gift boxes to those who had served them in some way.

10 degrees Centigrade = 50 Fahrenheit

Plus twos and pants. This gets complicated. Plus twos are the same as US “knickers” as worn by golfer Payne Stewart. Olden days golfers wore baggier versions called plus fours. In England pants are underpants and knickers are ladies underwear. You can put that in your pipe and smoke it (an English schoolboy retort)

Jumper. Sweater

Wellies (Wellington). Waterproof boots that were worn and popularized (note spelled popularised in English) by the first Duke of Wellington. There is a competition in the north of England, called “Hoying the welly”. Seeing how far you can throw the boot.

Mackintosh (Mac). A waterproof raincoat made out of rubberized fabric named after its Scottish inventor, Charles Macintosh (and misspelt).

Balaclava. A woolen head covering. The name comes from their use at the battle of the town Balaclava during the Crimean war.  Handmade balaclavas were sent over to the British troops to protect them from the weather. 

Sledging. Going sledding/toboganning in the snow. To sledge also means rude remarks by Australian cricketers. Cricket is not explainable. You have to be born to it.

Toboggan. In England a sled. In Southern USA the balaclava is called a toboggan hat, apparently because it was worn when sledding/tobogganing. Got that?

Mum asked me to take the baby, so I lifted her out of the pram and took the handbag that contained the nappies and dummies, and sneaked an iced lolly for me.

I dusted snow off the car bonnet and bumpers and drove down the pavement to the petrol station, pausing at the zebra crossing where there was a queue. Then I went to the chemist to buy some paracetamol (costing 5 shillings and tuppence) and then on to a car boot sale where they were selling bangers that had been advertised on the goggle box.


Mum. Mama

Pram (perambulator). Baby carriage

Handbag. Purse

Nappies. Diapers

Dummies. Pacifiers

Iced lolly. Popsicle

Pavement. Where you should walk in England, ie the “sidewalk”. The road is called the road or “tarmac”. Care needed here.

Petrol. Gasoline

Zebra crossing. PedXing (stripes on the road) This photo is Abbey Rd, made famous by the Beatles

Queue. Line

Paracetamol, Chemist. Tylenol, Pharmacy

Car bonnet. Hood over the car engine (drive train)

Bumpers. Fenders

Car boot sale. When Brits gather in a field to sell stuff from out of their car boots (trunks)

Shillings and tuppence. The developed world used Pounds, Shillings and Pence (pennies) for currency for a thousand years until the 20th century. 20 shillings per pound and 12 pence per shilling. Tuppence = two pennies. There were also half pennies (ha’pennies) and quarters (farthings), not worth much even then. Britain changed to the decimal system in 1971 when the pound became divided into 100 pence. Incidentally, lawyers, and some fancy doctors, used to send invoices in “guineas” (one pound and one shilling) based on the sometime worth of a gold coin minted in Guinea. Just saying

Bangers. Twofer. Old cars (jalopies), and sausages. Bangers and mash is an iconic dish of sausages and mashed potatoes, best with gravy.

Google box. TV

There was a caravan serving food nearby. The takeaway menu included chip butties, some baps, kippers, welsh rarebit, toad in the hole, various sarnies, scotch eggs, black pudding and lots of desserts including jam rolypoly, dead fly pudding, swiss rolls and spotted dick. A fortnight ago they had candy floss! At Christmas they have mince pies.


Caravan. Camper, RV. Food truck

Take away food. Food to go

Chip butty. Sandwich of bread, butter and fries.

Bap. A bun in northern England

Kippers. Smoked herring, a popular breakfast item

Welsh Rarebit/rabbit. Molten cheese on toast.

Sarnie. Sandwich

Toad in the hole. A dish of sausages (bangers) in pastry. Like a family of “pigs in a blanket”.

Spotted dick. Also known as “spotted dog”. A baked pudding made with dried fruit and served with custard.

Scotch egg. A boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, coated with breadcrumbs and deep-fried. Density approaches lead. Can break toes if dropped.

Black pudding. You don’t want to know

Bubble and squeak. Breakfast dish made from cooked potatoes and cabbage, mixed together and fried.

Fortnight. Two weeks

Candy floss. Cotton candy

Mince pie/mincemeat pie. Small pies containing dried fruit, but no meat or mince, AKA hamburger meat. Why?

Next door they were selling charcoal for my barbeque that I keep in the garden. Then I got a call from my trouble and strife. “Come home, I’m locked in the loo; call 999 and get a Bobby to help”. Please bring a torch. Oh no, the car won’t start. Best push it to the layby and call the AA.


Trouble and strife. Cockney rhyming slang for wife

Loo. Toilet

Bobby. Slang term for a policeman, derived from the name of Sir Robert Peel, who established the London force in 1829.

999. 911

Torch. Flashlight

Barbeque. To BBQ in England is to cook outdoors on a BBQ grill. Australians cook on the Barbie. Poor girl

Garden. Yard. In England there is a pretty front garden, and a yard out back that may include a vegetable garden

Layby. Rest stop

AA. Automobile Association

All part of life’s rich tapestry (cloth picture hanging on the wall)

That’s enough, innit?

That is probably sufficient, isn’t it?

Or would you like to hear about Hogmanay (New Years Eve in Scotland) with first footing, neaps and tatties……

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