Talking Turkey (AKA: holidays sales and house types)

Just assume that, from now until the end of 2015, all posts on Transplant Monologues will have some mention of food. Sorry, not sorry.

When someone mentions turkey in the United States, the holiday that comes to mind for most Americans is Thanksgiving. I think I’ve said it in years before, but if not I’ll say it now: for the British, turkey is a Christmas thing.

That isn’t to say that it isn’t sold in bits and pieces all year round, it is, but if the family isn’t very religious, Christmas is about the turkey (and probably gifts, but mostly turkey).

So why is it that the retailers in the UK were having “black friday” after-thanksgiving sales? Ignoring the fact that Thanksgiving is basically centred around the story of how people emigrating from Europe were saved from starvation by Native Americans (who were then “thanked” for their kindness by suffering the world’s least-talked about mass genocide in history)… It’s kind of weird.

I’m just saying, Recess got it more right than a lot of history books I read.

Don’t get me wrong, I like gorging myself to unreasonable extremes on meat, stuffing and pie… but, let’s just say that time and experiences have led me to question my allegiances to certain aspects of my culture. It would be a massive failing on my part not call out where my history is white-washed. We forget all too easily that the what we are taught in school is often only from the perspective of one culture.

While I am aware that some Native Americans find Thanksgiving to be an unsavoury holiday (to put it mildly), I am not in a position to ask or guess what any would think of anyone in Europe celebrating it.

But consumerism is consumerism and just as there were people getting into fist-fights in the US in stores over this TV and that toy, so were people on this side of the pond. No, I wasn’t involved in any of it. Actually: we were moving.

Yes, moving. Further north, but still in cheery ol’ England (see: state of perpetual drizzle). We began the slow transition from Norfolk to a town not far from Sheffield.

Route to Sheffield from Norwich
Here, sometime’s a visual aid can help. Image courtesy of Google Maps. It’s a three hour drive, assuming the baby is well behaved and there is no traffic.

Now that we have a foothold in place, we’re getting our bearings. Today was my first solo excursion in the neighbourhood where we now live. I’m very happy to report that it is beautifully multicultural. My goal for tomorrow is to actually introduce myself to the neighbours properly. For the moment, I’ve settled for buying bits and bobs for our new home…

Which brings up the question of types of houses in the UK. I think I’ve mentioned this sometime in the past, but I don’t think I actually broke it down and explained it properly.

Apartment/Flat – the two words are interchangeable, though it should be noted that “flat” tends to be used more informally, or when there is a restricted word count on advertisements. People are just as likely to own one of these as they are to rent one, which is why “Condo” does not exist in the British vernacular.

Maisonette – an apartment that occupies two floors of a building, typically with an internal set of stairs.

Terraced house – Picture if you will houses that are built so close together that they look like they are one building. Now imagine street-long row of houses like this. Those are terraced houses. Think of the house that Roger and Anita from 101 Dalmatians lived in, in the Disney animated movie.

Bungalow – Typically single storey but can have a second storey built into a sloped roof (a “Chalet Bungalow”). There is no basement in this house, just accept that and move on. The name actually comes from the Indian word “bangla” which denotes houses built in the Bengali style. They can be detached or semi-detached (see below).

Detached – not affixed to any other buildings, usually the most expensive housing option.

Semi-detached – If you see this term anywhere, it means that there’s another house/building built right next to it (either side-by-side or back-to-back). It ends up looking a lot like duplex/twin house. Unless the colours are different, then it just looks like a really short row of terrace houses.

Oast House/converted home – Imagine an old building (like a barn, church or perhaps a windmill) that has been repurposed into a residential home. That is a Oast House (if it was specifically farm related in its early life), or a “converted home.” Houses like these usually have things like “charming” or “with lots of character” added to their descriptions.

Cottage – Small, old, tiny windows, support pillars and low ceilings. With a thatched roof (a slowly dying trade, unfortunately), these are often the houses that are featured in old stories like Little Red Riding-hood and Hansel and Gretel.



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