Wilson Family English to English Translation Guide

uk usa

Whilst in the UK we kept a list of new “English” words that learnt.

In order of appearance:
quid – £ pound (like buck)
britches – pants
trolley – grocery cart
chap – friend
holiday – vacation
bin – garbage can/trash can
rubbish – garbage
push pole – push-up popsicle
lollie – Popsicle or lollypop
chips – fries
telly – television
lemonade – lemon-lime soda (i.e. 7up)
loo – bathroom
toilet – bathroom
water closet – bathroom
jumper – sweater
way out – exit
push cart – wheelchair
pudding – dessert
super soft ice – soft serve ice cream
lift – elevator
lorry – truck
foot way – sidewalk
pavement – sidewalk
caravan – trailer (as in camping)
tube – subway
subway – pedestrian underpass
lead – leash
alight – exit
diverted traffic – detour
hump – speed bump
Sat-Nav – GPS
toastie – toasted sandwich (like grilled cheese)
with ice & a slice -with ice and lemon or lime (as in G&T)
Queue – line
pram – baby carriage
goods vehicles – delivery trucks
motorway – interstate
Wellies/Wellingtons – rubber boots
car boot – large garage sale in open field
lie in – sleep late
cot – crib
crisps – potato chips
car park – parking lot
sellotape – scotch tape
gutted – disappointed
haberdashery – things related to sewing
kit – sports uniform (as in football kit)
to let – for rent (always looked like “toilet” without the I)
marquee – large tent for temporary outdoor functions
mobile – cell phone
MP – member of parliament
nappy – diaper
mum – mom
cheeky – ballsy
peckish – hungry
pissed – drunk
plaster – band-aid
prom – concert
anti-clockwise – counter-clockwise
swede – yellow turnip
torch – flashlight
zebra crossing – crosswalk (with the white striped lines)

UK: Day Eleven

DSCN0914Day 11:

June 24, 2013

IMG_5317We had another lie-in today and then walked over to Morrison’s grocery store for some picnic supplies. We walked to the far side of town to the city park and had a picnic lunch and let the girls play on the playground. After lunch, we drove up to Llanberis to take the Snowdon Mountain Railway to the summit of Mt. Snowdon (3,xxx? feet) in Snowdonia National Park. The train took us 5 miles to the summit through rocky fields full of fluffy grazing sheep. The tracks criss-crossed over the hiking trail that was swamped with hikers of all ages out for the day. We were lucky to have a warm-ish sunny day. The views were breath-taking and took in sights as far away as parts of England, Ireland and Scotland. Along the journey, we saw some Blackhawk helicopters from RAF Valley (where Prince William is stationed) running training maneuvers through the rolling hills. After the return train trip, we ventured back to town, had dinner at the hotel and called it a day.DSCN0928

UK: Day Seven

Day Seven:

June 21, 2014

Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace

DSCN0632We slept-in today and caught breakfast just before the restaurant closed for mid-day. We headed 12 miles (35 minutes) up the road to Blenheim Palace. Blenheim Palace is “a monumental country house situated in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England, residence of the dukes of Marlborough. It is the only non-royal non-episcopal country house in England to hold the title of palace.” http://www.blenheimpalace.com/.DSCN0681


They were having a garden show that would have sent Grandma Donna over the moon. We parked on the edge of a field that was dotted with giant oak trees that seemed to stretch for miles and wandered through the stalls of vendors selling plants and garden accoutrements until we found the palace. We went on the tours available through the house, including an exhibit on Winston Churchill, who happened to be born here because his mother was here at a fete when she went into labor with little Winston. The lavishly decorated palace was in Kiki’s words “boring….boring…boring.” Jeff commented that Donald Trump must’ve used their designer. We had some lunch in one of the palace gardens and then wandered the never-ending grounds. There were several gardens and massive amounts of wide open delicately manicured lawn. Jeff LOVED the lawn. After wandering for three and a half hours, we took the little train to the “pleasure garden.” The kids squealed with delight while running through the garden maze (until Kai got lost) and playing on the playground. Kiki finally had changed her tune and screamed “this is fun!” Phew. After checking out the butterfly house, an intensely hot and humid greenhouse filled with fluttering butterflies and exotic tropical plants, we headed out to find where we’d left the car. We outlasted almost the entire field full of cars (five and a half hours)!

Oberon, the Fairy King
Oberon, the Fairy King
Solstice Bon Fire
Solstice Bon Fire

Another 20 miles up the road (1 hour 20 minutes), we went for an evening visit at Mary Arden’sFarm, the house where William Shakespeare’s mother grew up. During the day it is a working farm with several hands-on exhibits demonstrating farm life during the time of the the Tudors (16th century). On this particular evening they had an event to celebrate midsummer’s night, a night when the fairies come out to play tricks on people, that coincides with the Summer Solstice/the feast of St. John the Baptist. The girls made fairies, listened to a fairy story told by a woman in Tudor-era clothing and then went on a fairy hunt. A giant parade of children wandered through the farm, finding a “fairy tunnel” (a very cool tunnel made of growing willow branches) that led to the fairy world. In the center of the forest they found the mischievous fairies being watched over by Oberon, the fairy king. The parade moved on to a recently vacated cow pasture (complete with manure) for a massive bonfire to ward off the evil spirits that are said to hang around with the turning of the season. Some of the Tudor ladies ran and jumped a portion of the fire to cleanse themselves of impurities. After the fire, we were led back to the courtyard to witness a traditional medieval Midsummer night’s feast as eaten by 20 or more costumed villagers. I found the entire experience fascinating. DSCN0666From there, we found our hotel in Stratford-Upon-Avon, had a bite to eat and headed up to the room. Jeff took a walk and stumbled into a pub for a spot of Whiskey while I tried to get the wired kids to sleep.


It was another delightful day.

Germany: Day Fourteen

Berlin Zoo
Berlin Zoo

Day 14: The kids are starting to ask when we get to go home. Luckily, today was a kid-centered day at the Berlin Zoo. We took an above ground train (U-Bahn) and an underground train (S-Bahn) and followed the signs to the zoo. Overall, it was nice. Large with over 19,000 animals. Many of the enclosures make it seem like there is no division between you and the animals. That’s pretty cool. There seem to be no maps so we wander and see lots of interesting animals, including Bao Bao the panda. We happen to catch feeding time in the nocturnal house and lunch preparation for the carnivores (yuck) including rats, chicks and giant slabs of meat. (The guy wasn’t even wearing gloves. Blech.) After that, it’s time for lunch (stuffed pepper with rice) more animals and, of course, the speilplatz (playground). There seems to be a playground just about everywhere. From the zoo, we head a few blocks down the street to Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe) the largest department store in Germany. It’s six floors of designer everything, including one whole floor of gourmet food with several fancy food stations (even a champagne bar!). The top floor is a super fancy cafeteria style restaurant. We had some coffee and desserts, but as far as the store is concerned, the only thing we could afford was the free Wi-Fi. We walked up West Berlin’s trendy shopping street, Tauentzienstrasse in a last ditch effort to find “Berlin” Starbuck’s mugs for my collection (no luck) and then train back to the hotel for another dinner, pool time and bed. One more day to go…

Germany: Day Thirteen

The placement of the former Berlin Wall is marked on the ground throughout the city.
The placement of the former Berlin Wall is marked on the ground throughout the city.
The Glass-domed Reichstag
The Glass-domed Reichstag

Day 13: Breakfast in hotel and then Jeff is off to the Checkpoint Charlie museum and Topography of Terror exhibit in the old Gestapo headquarters. The girls and I head to Potsdamer Platz, once one of the busiest intersections in Europe, but left a wasteland during the Cold War because of the Berlin Wall. It is now a busy hub for transit, shopping and business. Somewhere along the way we took Panoramapunkt, “Europe’s Fastest Elevator” up twenty four floors in 20 seconds.  At the top we took in an outstanding 360 degree view of Berlin.  Through Potsdamer Platz we followed the line on the sidewalk that signified where the Berlin Wall once stood and saw some of the segments of the old wall. I read the historical information while trying to keep the girls from running into the street.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

At the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe we listened in on a tour group. (I’ve found that is a good way to get information that is a bit more in-depth than the guidebook.) The memorial is a poignant tribute to Jewish victims of the holocaust. It consists of 2,711 pillars organized over an area about as big as a city block. To me, it seemed like a cemetery, but the meaning is left to individuals to interpret.  We finally met up with Jeff at the Brandenburg Gate, built in 1791, it is one of the original gates in Berlin’s old city wall and once separated Prussia from Brandenburg. It sat unused for 25 years, another victim of the Cold War’s Berlin Wall.

Brandenburg Gate
Brandenburg Gate

We mingled about Pariser Platz directly adjacent to the Brandenburg Gate, also part of the no-man’s land created by the wall, but now a busy tourist spot and home to the US, French, British and Russian embassies. We found out too late that we needed to request reservations to the popular Reichstag (parliament building), with it’s notorious glass dome, so we took pictures from outside. The glass dome was built in 1999 to replace the original dome that was set on fire during WWII. The building was not used between 1933 and 1999. From the Reichstag we followed the Unter Den Linden (the main drag) through the heart of former East Berlin, across the Spree river and on to Alexanderplatz just beyond the TV Tower (very, very similar to the Pearl Tower in Shanghai). In Alexanderplatz we stopped in the Galeria Kaufhof department store (with a full gourmet grocery store on the main level) and picked up some food to cook for breakfast and dinner. Exhausted, we took a stab at the underground train and get back to the hotel without a hitch. Berlin is a fabulous city, much different than the Bavarian cities and towns we have visited thus far, but still fascinating in its own right. I’m glad we’ve got a few more days to explore.

Why Iceland?


When I told people that I was going on a vacation to Iceland they invariably said, “Why Iceland?”  The most direct answer was that Jeff, the kids and I had flown through Iceland on the way to Europe on two occasions.  Icelandair offers the best prices to points all over Europe.  The catch is that you have to go through Reykjavik to get where you “want to go.”  We were curious.  We wanted to see more than the rugged rocky terrain that we could glimpse from the airport windows.

When Icelandair sent me an email about a “Northern Lights” package way back in March, I knew this was our chance.  I quickly booked the trip to secure the screaming deal that they were offering and, life having caught up with me, I didn’t think any more about it until we were somewhere over Greenland.  I had no idea what to expect.

Those that know me well know that I tend to be meticulous in my planning.  (Jeff would say “over-meticulous.”)  When I am preparing for a big trip, I typically do months of research to educate myself, and my kids, about our upcoming destination.  What was there to know about Iceland?  I didn’t think that there was any research to be done.  There was certainly no time to do it.  So I didn’t.  I imagined that we were bound for the North Pole.  (Isn’t that what you picture when you hear “Iceland?”)  Come November, I packed my bag, throwing in a few last minute Iceland guidebooks from the library, and we were off to see the Northern Lights.

First let me say, Iceland is misunderstood. It is an island nation born from the divergence of the North American and the Eurasian tectonic plates. It is literally being born, just as the Hawaiian Islands are, growing out of the fissures of the planet. Knowing nothing about it, we assume many things: that it is cold, unlivable, uninteresting, not worthy of our time.

First off, the climate is nothing like the North Pole.  During our stay in early November, the average temperature in Reykjavik hovered around 32° F.  In the northern town of Akureyri, where went to search for the Northern Lights, it was snowing quite heavily but the temperature didn’t dip below 15° F during the two days we were there.   In the summer, the highs don’t even touch the 70s, mostly hovering in the mid 50s.  The mild weather is a result of the North Atlantic Gulf Stream current.  I was glad I packed my long underwear, but I didn’t need anything more than I would on a chilly day in the Northwest.

The whole of Iceland falls just south of the Arctic Circle, yielding short winter days and long sun-filled summer days (and nights).  During the time that we were there in early November, the sun rose around 9:30 am each day and made its way over the horizon just before 5 pm.  This was ideal for the dark skies we needed to see the Aurora Borealis.  In the height of summer, the sun stays above the horizon for 21 hours or more.

Iceland is not unlivable either.  It was settled by Vikings in the year 874 and has been consistently inhabited ever since.  In fact, there are 320,000 inhabitants.  That is just enough to earn Iceland the distinction of the most sparsely populated country in Europe.  To put that into perspective, at 635,000, Seattle has roughly twice the population of the entire country.  Two-thirds of the population lives in Reykjavik and the surrounding areas in the southwestern region.  Ironically, that is also the area where the Vikings first settled.  They found a good spot and stuck it out – for 1,100 years.  Akureyri, on the northern coast, is the second most populated city in the entire country with around 17,000 people.  That’s about the size of Port Angeles.  It reminded me a lot of Port Angeles, too (if you replace the Fjord Eyjafjordur with the Strait of Juan de Fuca).

When examined more closely, you quickly discover that Iceland is worthy of your time.  It is interesting.  In actuality, it would require several trips to experience it fully.  In the short amount of time that we had to explore, I learned a myriad of interesting things that only left me wanting to come back for more.

Iceland is exotic.  It is rich in history.  It is picturesque.  From Seattle, it takes a short 7-hour flight to transport you to another world.  A world that I hope to see again soon.

Why Iceland?  Why not?