Everyone's read the Lonely Planet and knows the whereabouts of Big Ben. But there are some more helpful hints that every Australian should know when first coming to this fair city. I've been here a few times over the years and have learnt the hard way. I've been on the receiving end of eye-rolls that have left a bruise. So this is my personal guide to surviving London without being called a twat.
1. No one likes Australians in public. Well not in the way we're adored the rest of the world over. No one finds the accent cute, no one likes our sporting teams, noone likes the fact that we talk above average decibel level. It's like we've all been at a really loud concert our whole lives and have just left the club. So when in open spaces try to use your indoor voice. That is the acceptable volume equivalent for a UK conversation.
2. Unless you're at a football event! Whereby you are allowed to start the team song, like you're leading the charge of a 10,000-man army, at any given moment, with absolutely no retribution. This can be done anywhere up to 3hrs away on a train from the stadium as long as you are wearing the jersey. You are also allowed to drink on trains and no one will think you are a bum/alcoholic.
3. Dawdling in London is an offence punishable by death.
4. Big Ben is the name of the bell not the tower. Londonites take great pleasure in telling you this; in the same way they now love the Ashes.
5. You probably know this one already but when travelling on escalators always stand on the right hand side, and overtake on the left. Do this even if no one else is on the escalator. Just in case. London has a lot of security cameras. Yes, we know it should be the same way as the roads (stand on your left, over take on your right), but it's not. So just do it, unless you want the sound of 100 people tutting at you.
6. Don't whinge about the food, the weather or the coffee. In school did you ever have a rich friend come over and stay at your house? And they complained about how you used butter instead of margarine, that you didn't have a VHS or a flushing toilet? Well I did and I hated it. No one should be ashamed of the awesome upbringing they had, but by the same token no one should be ashamed if things just ain't as good as they were at home. So do be polite. Eat the dry sandwich and smile, and say, "Just like home!"
7. Try not to stick your penis on furniture when in bars or pubs. This really shouldn't have to be articulated, but seeing as though it's been done so very, many times, do try to not put your penis on furniture when in bars or pubs.
So this is all I've got guys. Hope you find it helpful. What are your helpful hints? And if you say go home, I'm way ahead of you.
Catch Felicity Ward's show at the Edinburgh Fringe this August.