In Competition No. 3224, you were invited to submit snippets of misleading advice either for tourists visiting Britain or for British tourists travelling abroad.
You normally embrace this challenge with mischievous relish but this time around the mood felt somewhat muted, perhaps not surprising under the circumstances. There were plenty of zingers all the same, and as usual those with a ring of plausibility worked best.
Several of you submitted permutations on this one, from Janine Beacham: ‘It’s traditional to picnic on the lawns at Oxford University, so pack a basket. The grass is maintained specially to encourage visitors’; and on David Shields’s ‘When travelling on the Underground, it is considered polite to make prolonged eye contact with each of your fellow passengers in turn.’ There were also many variations on Mark Ambrose’s ‘Foreigners don’t have to queue. Just wave your passport above your head and proceed to the front of the queue, but remember to smile.’
The following earn £6 per snippet.
Show your EU passport to get your first drink on the house at any Wetherspoon’s.
The British are notoriously fond of their canine companions. Opening a conversation about ‘dogging’ is a sure ice-breaker.
Britain is proud of its literary heritage; there is a bookmaker on the street corner of even the poorest neighbourhood from which visitors can order bespoke editions of Shakespeare or Dickens.
What better way to round off your visit than with a ticket to the Last Night of the Proms? Don’t forget to take the knee during ‘Rule, Britannia’.
An excellent place to strike up acquaintance is the Reading Room of the London Library. Take a seat and begin reading out amusing snippets from the popular press: very soon you will find yourself the focus of attention.
While touring the British countryside in winter look out for pigs in blankets.
The people of Edinburgh love to be complimented on living in one of the finest English cities.
If you run out of money and credit, look for the sign ‘Free Cash Machine’.
When visiting Bayreuth, remember that Wagner is the Teutonic Gilbert and Sullivan. Chuckling, giggling, and occasionally roaring with laughter through the Ring cycle will demonstrate impressive cultural assimilation.
Waiters in Paris love to receive feedback on their performance. Particularly in English, which is a language many of them clearly need to practise.
Ask to see the fabulous jumpers at Beachy Head.
Visit the Stadium of Light in Sunderland and ask to see ‘the Toon’.
London black taxi drivers are proud to be upholding the legacy of the Victorian hansom cab. So you’ll get a delighted reception if you hail a taxi with the traditional call of ‘Hullo, hansom!’
Ann Summers sells a nice range of masks; these can be found in the ‘Thong’ section.
While in London, why not take a day trip to the famous University of Oxbridge, which has two identical campuses, easily reached by taking the train either from Oxford Circus or Cambridge Heath?
A good ice-breaker at East Anglian gatherings is ‘Norfolk Snap’, in which players point out similarities between apparently unrelated people.
On a visit to London’s Globe Theatre, help the actors to create the authentic Elizabethan experience. Bring along fruit and vegetables to launch at them during the boring bits.
The proud winners of gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show will be delighted to see you take cuttings from their magnificent exhibits.
You need an oyster to pay for a journey on a London bus. If you haven’t got one, you can offer the driver some mussels or prawns.
Come to Derby, home of Britain’s premier flat racing classic.
If you feel tired, lying down at a junction of the M25 is perfectly acceptable.
On most intercity trains, a quiet carriage is provided for the hard of hearing. Here you can be sure that you and your companions will be able to enjoy a conversation.
Running with the bison in Yellowstone National Park has been described as ‘an adrenaline rush beyond Pamplona’. Go for it, but don’t try taking selfies with the animals as you run.
No. 3227: Mnemonic
You are invited to provide verses that could be learned to help children remember the sequence of the last eight US presidents. Please submit up to 16 lines to firstname.lastname@example.org by midday on 24 November.
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