By Penelope Parish
From Peg Cochran’s (writing as Margaret Loudon) Open Book Series
I thought I was well-schooled in all things British before I arrived on the shores of Merrie Olde England to take a position as a writer in residence at the Open Book bookstore in Upper Chumley-on-Stoke. I’d read every Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh I could get my hands on; I’d watched every episode of the Crown and Downton Abbey and I knew that the bathroom was called the loo over there and the lift was an elevator and not a fancy dance move.
I had a lot to learn! For instance, high tea isn’t a meal of scones and tiny sandwiches with the crusts cut off (that’s afternoon tea) but more likely to be beans on toast since high tea is the working man’s dinner.
A fry up is a full English breakfast and when I say full, I mean it—eggs, bacon, sausage, bread, tomato, potatoes and kidneys—all fried in bacon grease. And fish and chips make a great lunch although I was surprised to discover that chips are actually what we call French fries and crisps are what they call potato chips.
I’ve since learned how to make a proper cup of tea—you must warm your pot or your mug with hot water first and how to drive on the other side of the road—most of the time at least.
But the one thing I never expected to encounter is murder—and that’s exactly what happened!
Have you ever been to England?