In Competition No. 3058 you were invited to supply snippets of mischievously/sadistically misleading advice for foreign tourists visiting Britain, or for British ones travelling abroad.
This is an assignment that you always embrace with relish, though one competitor observed that it felt curiously difficult this time round because ‘the interaction between Britain and Abroad isn’t very funny just at the moment’.
That may well be true, but your entries still raised a chuckle, and as usual those with a ring of plausibility worked best. There was a fair amount of repetition: popular tips included the desirability of introducing Brexit into conversation at the earliest opportunity, the inadvisability of tipping black cab drivers and the National Gallery’s love of selfies.
There was also the reappearance of old favourites: the first drink in a pub is on the house; toast the landlord by raising your glass with the traditional ‘Up Yours!’ (John Whitworth); the English countryside has many quaint rural activities — ask one of the locals where you can go ‘cottaging’ (Nicholas Stone).
The winners, printed below, are rewarded with a fiver per snippet of misinformation.
Britain is crazy about its pooch population: if you want the best, most intimate shows, ask locally for the best dogging sites.
Former northern mining towns are proud of their heritage — be sure to greet them with a affectionate: ‘What’s up, you old slag?’
Ask the way, if possible in a Scots accent, to Shetland’s famous Shet-house.
Visitors to Stonehenge are entitled to a 30 per cent discount while the roof is off.
Trouble finding the Northern Powerhouse? Any business leader north of Birmingham will tell you where to go.
Children can be left at the Reading Room in the British Library, where staff will read to them for up to three hours free of charge. Thereafter charges apply.
Look out for little black plastic parcels apparently left at random on pavements: see how many different locations you can collect them from!
If you’re bored with the football on TV in the pubs, just change the channel.
If you have difficulty finding Uber on your phone, a black-cab driver will be delighted to help.
With your London Explorer Pass, you are free to move around the wax figures at Madame Tussauds. Try placing Donald Trump up close with Angela Merkel while rudely elbowing out the Queen.
A ‘Make America Great Again’ baseball cap will ensure you receive a friendly reception at any student bar in New York.
The role of women is celebrated in the US. Call anyone a ‘mother’ and you are certain to please!
Rail announcements are by intention unintelligible so do not be alarmed. However if you hear the mantra ‘Say it — see it — sorted’ then you should join in the communal merrymaking by embracing the nearest Briton and yelling the mantra repeatedly at the top of your voice, ensuring you make continuous eye contact.
If you wish the garage to inflate your tyres, ask for a blow job.
A ‘traffic warden’ is someone who will look after your car when the waiting term has expired.
When you are waiting for a bus at a stop and it comes into sight, stand back and do not hold out your hand. This will enable the driver to draw up closer to the pavement without being distracted.
Unable to find a London taxi? Try hailing one of the capital’s helpful moped boys. Stand on the kerb with your mobile phone held in your outstretched arm and you’ll attract their attention in no time.
When meeting Scottish people, tell them how much you like their part of England.
The magnificent Crown Jewels of England are kept in the Tower of London, and are a great tourist attraction, but not many visitors know that there is also a private collection. If you would like to see it, ask your guide if you can view Prince Charles’s family jewels.
Remember to claim substantial discounts on fish/shellfish dishes in top London restaurants by showing your Oyster card.
Priority seating areas are reserved for our valued tourists from overseas — you are entitled to request British travellers to move on.
When in Paris, instead of using ‘Salut!’ as a greeting, you can sound like a real Frenchman by saying ‘Salaud!’ to everyone.
Because Big Ben is being renovated, a helpful gesture is to shout out the time to pedestrians in the vicinity of Westminster.
No. 3061: the appliance of science
You are invited to imagine a well-known author (please specify) who doesn’t normally write in the genre having a go at science fiction and submit an extract from the resulting work (150 words maximum). Please email entries to email@example.com by midday on 8 August.
Subscribe to The Spectator Australia today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Subscribe – Try a month free