Obviously I knew about the accent, oatcakes and shortbread, the general chippiness and snobbery, oxters and the procurator fiscal.
But some things turn out to be Scottish and I would never have known:
- empire biscuits
- those pineapple tarts with a blob of cream and yellow icing, a highly sought after delicacy among some southerners apparently
- the word sook
- nice water. Even after growing up cringing at that advert for a particular brand of tea leaves ‘specially blended for soft Scottish wottir,’ it comes as a surprise that this far south, English woatah is hard and chalky and does actually do funny things to the taste of your brew
- the heel of a loaf, meaning the end bits
- turnips, which down here they call swedes, while perversely they call swedes turnips.
Oh, and I also knew about saying ‘stay’ instead of ‘live,’ but in the heat of the moment in actual conversation I can never remember which is which, so I just always look slightly foolish for getting all tongue tied over such a straightforward factual matter.
In fairness I should probably also compile a list of things I thought were just myths about the English but are in fact true, except the only one I can think of off the top of my head is such a flagrant breach of the norms of civilised society that I’m almost too embarrassed for them to mention it in public, but:
- the English can actually turn up half an hour early when you’ve asked them round to the house. #mortified