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So tyred of being alone

It was only a matter of time before I got round to talking about the one thing that fascinates all englishmen – the toilet. Ok, maybe the stereotype is that we’re into our toilet humour more than other countries, but this doesn’t stop me coming up with a few subtle observations.

American Standard ToiletFirstly, god bless Armitage Shanks, and all that travel with them. Or at least get their bathrooms installed by them. No it’s not cockney rhyming slang but a little toilet-tribute of mine to that great British manufacturer, which you take for granted until you start to realise that all of the bathrooms – sorry, toilets – around here are to an American Standard instead, natch.

Taps too, are almost always of the mixer variety – you’ll be hard pushed to find a bathroom anywhere in the ‘states that has seperate hot and cold water taps. Seems obvious when you think about it, maybe we just like to make it hard on ourselves by mixing all the time.

Also – cubicle doors in public toilets too all tend to swing outwards. I can think of some places with outswinging doors at home, but I seem to recall that the majority of them are inswingers. Urinals (check that pronunciation) too mostly have self-flush handles which you need to pull – handy practise too for when visiting anyone’s house or staying in a hotel, as it gives you a head start on playing that game that the Americans like to play on tourists “Can you work out how to turn the shower on?”.

Tap WaterDeep down in the desert of Nevada is not only Area 51, but another whole government department coming up with crazy designs of plumbing switches which divert the water from the bath taps to the shower head but in the most unobvious way.

Prizes are awarded yearly to the graduate student who can invent the most obscure method of doing so. Standing with both feet on either side of the bathtub, bending over backwards, inserting a finger into a hole in the wall and pulling a tiny metallic switch down that you don’t know is there unless you’ve been told is there is not uncommon.

Seriously yanks .. well done for having mixing taps and all that, but please make your showers a little easier to figure out how to operate. Thanks.

Tyre check with a pennyBut to something that we do have in common – tyre treads, and the law on them. And so to Sam’s Club today – a spin off shop from the much loved (!) Wal Mart, owned by the same man – Sam Walton.

Think of Makro back home (only twice as big) – you have to have a club membership card to be able to buy anything, they don’t take credit cards (cash, cheque or debit card only) and they really do pile ’em high and sell ’em cheap.

Let’s just say I bought the biggest bag of M&M’s I’ve ever seen in my life, which should last a couple of road trips, plus a fantastically cheap gadget which will be revealed in next weeks Thursday’s “Things that make me feel like I’m not 4,000 miles away from home” feature.

But we mainly swung by to get a new set of tyres for Leigh’s Tank-Mobile, so “Sam’s Battery & Tire Shop” stop it was, a swift change, bit of balancing and we were all done. Want to know how to check if the tread of your tyre is legal or not?

Back in the UK, the DVLA bumped up the minimum tread depth to 1.6mm. Here they’re more lenient, but the way to tell is to get a penny (cent), and dip it into your tyre. If none of Lincoln’s head is covered up, then you’re getting too low and it’s time to change your tire. I mean tyre. God, they’ve got me doing it now.


ButterfingerCandy Bar of the Week (See all posts in Candy category)

This week’s US snack that I’ve picked upon comes in the form of a Butterfinger.

Geoff eating a ButterfingerA “Crispety, Crunchety, Peanut-buttery bar!”, which I have to say that I chose deliberately because I think that peanut butter is ‘ok’, but not one of my favourite things in the whole world.

Thus I didn’t particularly enjoy it, and to be honest didn’t actually finish the whole thing. Not even the dogs were interested, once it had melted a bit in the Carolinan heat, been squashed in my back pocket and then set hard again. Yuk.

UK chocolate bar it reminded me most of : I can’t think of a peanut butter bar from back home. Anyone?
Would I eat one again? : Probably not
5 bar rating :

Oh, and Al Green – this time. I should probably just let you figure them out for yourselves though, shouldn’t I?

20 responses to “So tyred of being alone”

  1. Helen says:

    Ha ha im great and im the first to post a reply hooray!!

    Not that i have anything to say :-S x

  2. geofftech says:

    Now there’s a thought. You can request me to go and and get certain candy bars! We’ll see…

    Oh HEcK!
    Flippin’ HEcK?
    HEcKle me…??

    Dunno. I still think ‘Geofftech’ is a bit crap, what would I know?

  3. geofftech says:

    HEKtech

    HEKtic!

    Ooh… i like that. ‘Hektic’! Go on .. you know you want to.

  4. Richard says:

    Random blatherings?

    Wastetimeatwork.co.uk?

  5. Helen says:

    hahah hektic is good but then it might sound like i want to sound busy, when in fact i am quite lazy and not very busy if you know what i mean!! Any other suggestions! ?

  6. Richard says:

    Have you even looked at how many calories in one of those Butterfingers? Last one I had was sold to my colleague (gullible tourist mode) on the NYC Subway for like $2 in order to fund their crack habit, er, baseball team.

    Should help with the weight gain, anyhow.

  7. Bob Hannent says:

    My girlfriend was complaining about the UK obsession with separate taps, I kind of think they have a place in bathroom sinks, but then again the continental easy-use handles are nice. Also balancing the shower temperature in the UK is an art form, one we do well, but others don’t understand.

    Lastly, peanut….. URGH!!!!?!!?!? Can’t stand the stuff.

  8. Tower Block Tina says:

    What about ‘Dime’ bars, I know they’re probably American origin, but have been
    available over here for ages, but very nice all the same. Aren’t they a bit nutty?
    All choc coated bars should be kept in the ‘fridge, nothing worse than warm chocolate.
    Mars bars can then be cut into dainty slices, and take longer to eat.Mmmmm.
    Hope you have the name of a good dentist Geoff.

  9. Neil says:

    When can we expect the first “Rate My Accent”?

    Your written work certainly seems to be slacking already – “candy”, “tire”, “bathroom”.

    I think we’ve lost him …

  10. Chz says:

    Cadbury’s Canada makes something similar to (but better than) the Butterfinger called a “Crispy Crunch” bar.
    http://www.bewarethecheese.com/crispycrunch.htm

    I’ve got to concur that North American showers all seem easy the first time you run into a power shower unit here. Yanking strings, adjust two different dials, push a button… For a shower!

    I’ll refrain from a Walmart rant just because they *are* good for auto parts in many areas where there’s nowhere else to get them. 🙂

  11. The Divine Mrs M says:

    #2 – Hershey’s chocolate is yukky IMO :-{. As an old chum of mine would have described it – rangee pangee chocolate (best spoken with a Bermondsey accent) 😉

    #14 – but at least he still spelled “cheque” correctly.

  12. The Divine Mrs M says:

    Forgot to say – American Standard are the same company as Ideal Standard here in Europe.

  13. Jono says:

    Kit Kat Peanut Butter has made it into the UK, apparently. Read the discussion on Snackspot for more info.

  14. Michelle says:

    I don’t have a problem with outward swinging doors on American toilets, but what’s with the huge gaps between the door and the cubicle walls, from the floor to the bottom of the door and why does your head often stick up over the top of the cubicle when you’re standing up??? Doesn’t leave much to the imagination!

  15. geofftech says:

    This is true… being over 6 foot, whenever I stand up straight from er.. sitting down (!) i find it disconcerting to be doing my belt up and tucking my shirt in again whilst be able to see the person in the cubicle next to me doing the same thing!

  16. Yes. But who wants to see you shaving?

  17. Fimb says:

    Lion Bar? Isn’t that peanutty?

  18. geofftech says:

    Lion Bar is peanuty – not peanut buttery – subtle difference Fimb!

    Neil – i’ll do my first audio ipodcast just as soon as my mixing desk and headphones turn up – which i posted to myself via surface mail about 4 weeks ago now. Only another 4 weeks to wait!

    And Chz, I *know* WalMart are evil! Hence the ‘(!)’ in the original post! But please do tell all why you hate them… I’m suprised Kris hasn’t yet…

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