British Politeness

I was in the UK last week visiting my 95-year-old Dad who is still going strong, and living his motto “keep moving”. He does all his own housework and cooking and starts the day with half an hour on his exercise bike, 10 press-ups and an hour’s walk with his two sticks. He always likes to show me new areas of Bournemouth which he has discovered, and this time we visited a very old cemetery where he told me about all the important local people buried there (and in England you are buried forever!).

Apart from visiting my family, there are two things I particularly enjoy when I go back to the UK – you’ve guessed it: British politeness and new idioms. The politeness started in an email from British Airways just after arriving at Heathrow after a delayed flight (I nearly flew to Tunisia as they mixed up the departure lounges 😊.)

We are sorry for the delay to your flight today. We understand any disruption to your travel plans can be frustrating and we apologise for any inconvenience.

Despite the delay, we trust you were looked after onboard by our cabin crew, and you had a pleasant flight. We look forward to welcoming you onboard again soon.

I know it was a standard email but a nice thought that didn’t cost BA much effort but makes a difference to passenger satisfaction.

My second experience was in Aldi in Bournemouth, which you could call “cheap and cheerful”, similar to the German Aldi 10 years ago. The cashier greeted me with, how are you today, a standard polite phrase only requiring, fine, thanks as a reply. I was reminded of a student who told me that he once related his day’s events to a supermarket cashier in England before realizing the poor guy was just being polite …

And the idioms? Well, two rather unusual ones are:

There’s more than one way to skin a cat meaning there is more than one solution to a problem or ways to achieve a goal. A bit of a cruel idiom but just saying the alternative idiom, there’s more than one way to peel an orange sounds a bit boring in comparison 😊.

A nod is good as a wink to a blind horse meaning both suggestions are equally pointless or there is no need to explain something obvious – rather strange don’t you think!

You can find a lot more on

Diese Seite verwendet Cookies, um die Nutzerfreundlichkeit zu verbessern. Mit der weiteren Verwendung stimmst du dem zu.