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July 07, 2004 

English Things

Today I established that what had come with my KFC the other evening was not a scone, as I had thought, but a biscuit. I explained what we did with scones (putting clotted cream and jam on them and eating them with tea, not dedicating stones to them - that would have been too complicated!) and he declared that in the South they are often served with gravy. Which somewhat highlighted the difference between the south of the USA and the south of England, last bastion of clotted cream. My colleague, about an hour after the first conversation, came up to me concerned because he'd just remembered that what we call biscuits they call cookies and he hoped I hadn't thought we put gravy on them. I said no, I had understood the first time!

I then queued for about 20 minutes in the post office, which made me feel right at home!

This afternoon the director of the Americas region flew into town. I'd never met him before... and I still haven't. While I was in a meeting he came in, left a box of shortbread, a copy of the Times and a copy of Autocar and departed. I got one of the shortbreads and the Times, which I think is a pretty good deal. I'll be catching up on yesterday's news later tonight.

This evening I set off craving steak, but as I drove down highway number 1 I passed a chinese restaurant with cars parked outside and people going in. I thought it may be an opportunity to lay to rest the memories of my revolting chinese earlier in the trip. As a fair comparison, I ordered sweet and sour again. This was definitely a higher class of restaurant - more choice on the menu, napkins on the tables, stoned guy waiting for his pick-up. Hmmm, maybe the last one doesn't fit. In the time it took for me to sit down, check the TV, take out my book and open it, the food was ready. It came in a box. A big box. Not only did I get a quart of battered, greasy meat, I also got a big tub of sauce, a pint of rice, a fortune cookie, some various other sauces, and the now apparantly ubiquitous "biscuit". Despite improved appearances the food was almost as foul, and I spent a long time pealing batter off to get to the meat. (When i put the batter back in the quart pot it filled it. Which left me wondering exactly how much meat I'd actually managed to eat.) I'm calling a halt to these experiments in chinese food forthwith, and shall be eating more steak and more salad from now on.