Who but the English

THE English are possibly the most stiff-lipped bunch ever to sip beer and watch football, but one thing you cannot accuse them of is lacking a sense of humour. Their humour, like the rest of them, is very English – splendidly deadpan.

Bill Bryson tells of his meeting with a bearded Englishman stuck in the London Underground. Mr Beard’s response to Bryson’s query on how long he’s been in the tube was, “Well, let’s just say when I got here I was cleanshaven.”

Isn’t that classic? My own favourite, though, is the one I saw on BBC South the other day. There was a bit of rain this side, and the sea had done some damage to a few coastal villas. So there was this stocky, oldish gent standing in front of his house, his arm around his stocky wife, and telling the camera how it is to wake up in the morning and find most of your garden has vanished. This is what he said, more or less:

“I think it was about six in the morning when we heard a rumble. I looked out and I thought, oh, that’s nice, the view has improved. So I walked to the window and found the garden has been freshly landscaped as well.”

Who but the English could say that, hey?

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