Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Our first visitors

Our first visitors from the States came this last week and it truly was nice to see some familiar faces! Our friends Joe and Nate flew in from NY to go camping with Rob in Scotland and then to spend the weekend with us at our house in England. Their first night here was quiz night at one of our local pubs, so we took them along. While it is not the closest pub to our house, pur friends Tom and Sarah used to work at this pub and invited us to join them on quiz night soon after we moved here - we've been going ever since. Rob and I don't know enough of the English culture to participate in a significant way, but every once in a while they throw in an American question for us, which they (the quiz questioner) sometimes have the wrong answer to. Our English friends Jillian, Marie, Paul, Fiona, Tom, and Sarah are usually there to help us along and explain things as we go. Joe and Nate were able to meet our friends and experience the English quiz night and they seemed to have enjoyed themselves. The next day we showed them Rob's office and they got to meet some of the people Rob works with, then we went into Sheffield and showed them the University that I attend and the city centre. That night after dinner we walked to our friend's house and introduced them Steven and Kate. Steven is from a local town that is well-known for it's hard to understand accent, even by Yorkshire standards! On their last day, we took Joe and Nate to a football match (i.e., soccer game). Now, Sheffield has two football teams: Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday. The part of Sheffield we live in is normally Wednesday fans. We knew that both teams were playing, and since we didn't really care which team we saw, decided to see whatever team was at home. A very sensible decision, but we knew that our Wednesday friends would give us a hard time about it. It was my first football match and it also happened to be some of the coldest weather we had all winter long. Hence, why you see us in big coats and caps in the picture. That night we had a proper English roast at our friend's house, the Forbes (the same family whose house we had Thanksgiving at in the fall). It was great to introduce Joe and Nate to our English friends who have been so helpful and supportive to us in our move and transition. Joe and Nate left early the next morning and it has been back to work for us both.

I tried to take some video of the singing that the football fans in England are known for, which I've posted here. Although, I couldn't get one to rotate, so you'll have to adjust. I've also included lyrics and an explanation of the terms in one of the songs that is on one of the videos. I will also try to post some of Rob's pictures from Scotland.

Sheffield United Football Club Song:

To the tune of Annie's Song by John Denver:

“You fill up my senses
Like a gallon of Magnet
Like a packet of Woodbines
Like a good pinch of snuff
Like night out in Sheffield
Like a greasy chip butty
Like Sheffield United
Come thrill me again....
Na Na Na Naa Naa Naaaaa, ooo!”

"To a native of Sheffield the words are probably self explanatory; the words celebrate the many pleasures that can be had in Sheffield, culminating in the target of the fan's adoration, Sheffield United.

Magnet refers to John Smith's Magnet, a beer once widely available in Sheffield. Some people claim that the second line is really Like a gallon of maggots. Maggots are obtained from fishing tackle outlets in denominations of imperial pints and hence this version would not be unreasonable, as fishing is popular in the region and hence a gallon of maggots would mean a good day out fishing.

Woodbines refers nostalgically to a once popular brand of strong cigarette.

Snuff is ground tobacco for sniffing up the nose.

A Greasy chip butty can be purchased in any of the many local fish and chip shops. Butty is a slang word for sandwich, so a chip butty is simply a sandwich where the filling is chips, ideally greasy and sprinkled with salt and vinegar. Generally, a white sandwich bap will be used for the bread. In Sheffield, these are simply known as Breadcakes (Wikipedia)."

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