Feeling British

I haven’t written for a while as I recently moved to Exeter for a summer internship in Met Office. If you’re interested in what the research here involves, check out my popular science blog. However, my Exeter adventure involves way more than work.

Cream tea: scones, clotted cream, jam and tea.

While London and Imperial are as international as it gets, Exeter has a very British (or rather English) feel. Today I spent ages queuing for cream tea and discussing with English colleagues what being British actually involves. Here’s the list of very British things I experienced only today.


  • Queuing. I come from a Central European country, where your place in the queue depends pretty much only on how cunning you are. Today with amusement I was observing the patience of Met Office employees waiting for their afternoon treat. No queue jumping, no tricks. This can happen only in this country!
  • Cream tea. When I first heard this term, I thought: putting milk in the tea is outrageous, but cream?! Time to leave this country! Luckily cream tea means scones with clotted cream and jam, of course followed by a cup of tea. Very, very popular in South West England. And no wonder, it’s so delicious!
  • Wimbledon. I don’t care about tennis, but there’s nothing more British than drinking tea and watching Wimbledon game (yes, this too happened today in Met Office). Apparently one should also consume strawberries with cream at this point, but British strawberries are terrible (and expensive!), so scones seemed to be a better choice.
  • Weather talk. I admit that weather talk is definitely expected in Met Office, but it actually happens everywhere, all the time. Awkward silence in the lift? “It looks like it’s going to rain”. Stuck with a boring colleague? “It’s hot today, isn’t it?”. You can’t go wrong with weather talk!

    Boiling or freezing? CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons.
  • Separate taps. You can’t leave England without scars from being burnt by a boiling water from the red tap. I’m still puzzled why in the 21st century in a developed country in so many buildings hot and cold (or rather boiling and freezing) water is separated. You’ll appreciate a proper mixing tap after experiencing it, trust me!

If you decided to study in England, or even just visit for a few days, make sure you give this list a go. To get a full British experience.

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