Size Matters Not (Unless You Need To Get Somewhere)

A friend posted this link on G+ recently. It is an overlay of a map of the UK on top of a map of the US, and you can drag the UK around to compare relative sizes.

While it may be considered a joke, it’s actually important information for both sides. I’ve met some folks here who encountered problems when they assumed they could easily drive between western US cities in a short amount of time, only to find out that it takes days to cross those states. One lady in particular told me about how while vacationing in California, she and her husband looked at a map and thought they could drive up into the mountains in a short time, but as they kept cresting hill after hill – always thinking the mountains looked so close – they were actually still hours away.

And of course, Canadians (and even Alaskans) read about Texans going on about how “big” things are in Texas and they laugh, and laugh, and grab our dogsleds and laugh and weep as we prepare to traverse the vast, arctic wasteland known as “Bank Street” in Ottawa…

(Psssst, yes, it’s totally true that all Canadians live in igloos and use dogsleds for everything. You should ask us about that. We love that.)

Anyway, on the flip side, when we were coming here and I kept telling Peo we’d walk to certain places and she’d freak out, I would remind her that a) unlike in Austin, we will not be risking heat stroke for half the year, and b) the spaces in the UK are very, very much smaller than she’s used to, having been born in Nevada and grown up mostly in Texas.

In those last few weeks in Austin, whenever we’d drive somewhere I’d note the mileage and then we’d compare that between Cambridge locations to see just how relatively itty bitty this city is.

I also kept reminding her that she had to let go of her US school indoctrination about “history” and “tradition” and how the “US invented everything good in the world”, because where we were going, the university alone is older than the US as a country.

We re-emphasized that last one at a recent trip to Bletchley Park where we told Peo how the US claims to have invented the computer, when really the UK did, but in secret because they were busy winning a war with that technology.

But in the ensuing discussion from the thread where my friend mentioned the map linked above, I came to a realization based on several of these facts:

1) England is small but mighty.
2) England is really, really old.
3) England has a history of being quite adept with fancy swords.
4) England defeated Germany where your Vater is your father.
5) England has lots of green spaces all over it.

Add that all up and there’s just one obvious conclusion:


england yoda

C’mon, they even have the same shape if you squint hard enough.

Pretty Sure This Isn’t What “Boat Building” Means

England, let’s chat.

I know you’re an island nation with a rich naval history. You’ve been Queen of the seas longer than other nations have even existed. We’re all duly impressed with your historical mastery of the waves, I assure you.

But while we understand your love affair with boats, having stone boats randomly protruding from buildings is just slightly odd.

stone boats on a building

Not one, but two boats. On a building. Nowhere near the river.

Because it’d make sense to have boats decorating buildings alongside the river, especially the many boat sheds. But this building is on Hobson Street, nearly a half mile from the closest points on the river.


And it’s definitely the prow of a boat. It even has stone ropes and everything.

Maybe this building was originally boat-related. Maybe it’s just a random decoration. Maybe Weeping Angels are coming through and if we all stop watching, they’ll sail through the building and destroy us all.


The damned thing is even smiling.

Either way I’m pretty sure “sailing on the high seas” doesn’t mean “from the first storey of an apartment building on Hobson Street”.


As we were driving yesterday Peo suddenly exclaimed, “Ooo, a hypermarket!”

I said, “No. You have more than enough hyper already.”

hypermarket street sign

I don’t know what a hypermarket actually is but as a parent I’m utterly terrified of the concept.

(Okay I looked it up but I swear I’ve never heard the term before.)