The holidays, is the time of year, when family and friends gather and today 2 such friends are stopping by. They were here back in June and stopping by to tell us about the latest book. So please help me give a warm welcome back to Caitlin from Caitlin Hamilton Marketing and author Rebecca Yount!!!
REBECCA YOUNT trained from childhood as a concert pianist, is a published poet, and worked in education reform in Washington, D.C., but she always wanted to write. Coming from a family of writers, it wasn’t hard for her to put pen to paper, but it took an actual unsolved murder to give her the idea for her first novel. On a home exchange in England — something she and her husband regularly do — a villager told her about a local murder that remained unsolved, even by Scotland Yard. Sitting under a tree in a fallow field one day, she began to imagine what might have happened. The result was A DEATH IN C MINOR. In 2010 Rebecca underwent open heart surgery, which left her unable to write for two years. When she returned to writing she decided to publish the entire Mick Chandra series herself as e-books. She lives in northern Virginia with her husband, author and columnist David Yount.
Her website iswww.rebeccayount.com.
MIND THE GAP:
TEN THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU FIRST VISIT ENGLAND
I was forty-eight before I first visited England. Career, child rearing, and mortgage and college tuition payments postponed the holiday that my husband, David, and I had long dreamed of.
Although I traveled extensively across North America as a young teen and later as part of my job, I had yet to set foot in Britain and Europe. On the plus side I had yet to suffer from jet lag.
When we first arrived in London in March, l990, I told David, “I’ve come home.” Indeed, I can claim forebears in England, Scotland, and Normandy, harkening back to the 9th century. But even my ancestors could not save me from the mind-dithering effects of jet lag getting to the Old Sod.
After checking into our B & B, we hastened to a neighborhood pub that David had found in the Michelin guide. I was determined to eat “English,” so I ordered steak and ale pie with chips and peas — two standard sides. The publican asked me, “Would you like fresh garden peas, or mashed peas?” For some reason — probably prompted by the jet lag — I could not even begin to wrap my head around that.
“What’s the difference?” I asked.
She actually rolled her eyes. “Well…mashed peas are garden peas that are mashed.”
So, number one on my list of ten things to prepare for is:
l. Know your peas: The English eat peas by the load, so be certain to specify which kind of peas you prefer when the publican asks. That way, you are spared the eye-rolling.
2. And, for heaven’s sake, know your English: What’s the difference between chips and French fries? There isn’t any, except the former is English, the latter American. Here are some other “Englishisms”:
0 Plaster = Bandaid;
0 Bap = A sandwich bun (not to hit);
0 Bonnet = hood of a car or other vehicle (not a hat);
0 Boot = trunk of a car (not footwear);
0 Hob = kitchen oven;
0 Boob tube = a woman’s tight, strapless dress top (not a TV);
0 Rubber = eraser (not condom);
0 Brilliant = okay, good, under control (not intelligent);
0 Cheers = thank you, have a good day, excuse me (not the bar in Boston);
0 Mate = male friend, (not partner, husband, or lover);
0 Bang on = harangue or nag (not hit on something);
0 Fry Up = full English breakfast consisting of two eggs (any style), toast (brown or white), baked beans, grilled tomato and mushrooms, bangers (English sausage), and back bacon (lean, not streaky, bacon);
0 Snog = make out;
0 Frogs = the French.
And these are just a few examples of Englishisms. It is not a bad idea to carry a portable English slang dictionary with you, as one would carry a French dictionary in Paris.
George Bernard Shaw got it right: England and America are two countries divided by a common language.
3. Be prepared to weather a heat wave: Yes, yes, I know. You mainly hear about the cold, rainy weather in England. But what you may not realize is that the occasional spring or summer can be sweltering.
A few years ago David and I exchanged homes with a couple in Aylesbury, just north of London. After two perfect summer days, the weather turned viciously hot and the temperature rose, in fahrenheit terms, to three digits. This would not be an all-out disaster in America because we have access to air conditioning. To say that there is no a/c in England is an exaggeration, but not much of one. David and I were reduced to standing in the frozen food section of the local supermarket to try to cool down.
Then there’s the story about how it rained 19 out of 21 days when we were staying in Durham for a three-week exchange. But that’s for another time.
4. In rural areas, beware of three-legged pets: This is a back-handed way of warning the traveller about narrow, visibility-challenging roads. England is a country that offers one-way rural roads for two-way, speeding traffic. And heaven help you if a combine comes at you in the opposite direction. Since combine drivers are disinclined to apply their brakes, your only recourse is to drive into the nearest field.
Three-legged pets are domestic animals who have been struck by vehicles on these narrow, winding roads, lose a leg to surgery, then hop around on three appendages (competently, I might add). In my crime novel, A Death in C Minor, I honor these brave beasties by having a three-legged dog, Molly, discover the murder weapon.
5. Demand your right to ice: Pubs in England are licensed by the government, so the amount of liquid served is regulated. Every glass has a line at its top to indicate the required level of beer, wine, or soft drinks. Ice is regarded as an enemy by Her Majesty’s government, because it displaces some of what you are drinking. This poses an obvious dilemma to us Americans since, goodness knows, we want our drinks to be cold.
Instead of declaring to the publican, “Go ahead, cheat me. Displace the liquid,” I have learned to ask for “an American Coca Cola.” Invariably, the server will ask, “What’s that?” And I answer, “A coke with lots and lots of ice, and a slice of lemon.” Typically, I get what I want. On home exchanges to Britain we take along our own ample-sized ice trays. Forget automatic ice makers in England. You’d have a better chance of finding the Holy Grail. You can purchase bags of ice at supermarkets, but make haste on Friday and Saturday evenings, or the local revellers will beat you to the punch.
6. Be polite: Even when complaining, be nice about it. The Brits already have a negative image of Americans as Neanderthals who don’t know which fork to use at the dinner table. They will, however, respond positively to good manners. Tossing in some self-deprecating humor doesn’t hurt, either.
Once, while converting our American dollars to British pounds, I said to the cashier, “We’d like to exchange our worthless American currency for your inflated pounds, if you please.” The poor man could scarcely stop laughing. On another occasion, when David and I went to the old historic Haymarket theater to see a play, I looked around and said, “I wonder when the fire marshall was here last?” Not only did the audience in our section laugh, but some actually gave me a round of applause. So remember: good manners + self-deprecating humor.
7. Never say “yuck,” when a Brit confesses a fondness for Marmite. That would be equivalent to their disdain for peanut butter.
There are additional tips about traveling in England, such as: 8) don’t expect the men to be wearing bowler hats; 9) don’t expect thick fog, as in the Jack the Ripper movies; and 10) don’t expect to see charming Cockney chimneysweeps dancing on rooftops. Those are remnants of the past.
Finally, should you happen to encounter Her Majesty, do not speak until spoken to!
Otherwise, have a lovely time.
ABOUT THE BOOK
In THE ERLKING, New Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Mick Chandra is back in London. His American girlfriend, Jessica Beaumont, has moved in with him and is busy trying to revitalize her career as a concert pianist. Mick is setting up a drug sting operation when he learns he has been reassigned to the Yard’s Pedophile Unit.
Children in north London have begun to disappear. The situation is dire. With Mick’s record for solving cases the Yard hopes that adding him to the team will bring about a quick resolution.
Someone who calls himself “The Erlking” is behind the disappearances. Rumors abound that The Erlking is head of a ring in which a prominent member of the government is involved. Mick and his team need a big break.
To write this book Rebecca researched real-life cases and consulted Scotland Yard. In this new Mick Chandra mystery, she takes readers into a dark and disturbing world, reminding readers that while redemption is not always possible, justice is, especially when Chandra is on the case.
THANKS TO AUTHOR, REBECCA YOUNT,
I HAVE ONE (1) EBOOK TO GIVEAWAY
No items that I receive
are ever sold…they are kept by me,
or given to family and/or friends.