Britain’s Best Fish & Chips (with champers!)

So, one of the things that America loves about Britain – apart from The Queen, One Direction and the way we say ‘brilliant’ – is our good old fish and chips. I’ve seen and tried American variations of this British cuisine, but it never really had an impact on my tastebuds. Plus, fries just ain’t chips!

So, who’d have known that the home of the very best British fish and chips in the whole of the land is right here in little old Cheltenham?! See, I’ve repatriated to a town with a world-class chippy. Can’t beat that!


Simpsons – winners of the v best fish ‘n’ chips, innit!

Simpsons fish-and-chippers Bonny and James Ritchie are the delightful owners who believe that the best fish and chips should consist of good old, no nonsense natural ingredients… fish, potato and batter – that’s it! Their batter has no MSG, salt or bulking agents and absolutely no artificial colours or flavouring. That’s quality fish and chips, folks!



Haddock and chips 🙂

On our first weekend back here in Cheltenham our friends had us round for supper and were very excited to share Simpsons fayre with us. And rightly so – as far as fish and chips go, it really is the dog’s bollocks, as we Brits say 🙂 If any of you lovely American peeps ever come to stay, you know you’ll be eating here!


Chips and champers!

And the cheeky duo Bonny and James have appeared on the other British institution that is GMTV telling their story and sharing their success. Good for them – they’re a big name in town and last night they had a good old knees up in their very lovely chippy (wots been all done up and has a real 50s vibe) with all sorts of fish and chips to nibble on from their menu – and champagne of course, so that was a super special treat.

In fact, fish and chips and champagne needs to be a new British tradition, cos it rocks. 🙂

I declare it so!




Cultural Discombobulation Innit!

verb (used with object), discombobulated, discombobulating.

1. to confuse or disconcert; upset; frustrate:

As in ‘The British expat was completely discombobulated by the return to her own country.’
Yep, that is me right now. It’s been a crazy return already, and I haven’t stopped because tomorrow I start work and there is sooooo much to do!
So, this is what’s occurring, in no particular order:
1. My cats are well happy to be back. They’re looking at me with big yellow ‘thank you’ eyes.
Happy cat!

Happy cat!

2. Harry is super happy to be back too. He loves our little house and our little cabin in our garden and he doesn’t care how small they are because they are his. He also has no idea what a radiator is. So much to learn.
3. I did not know how to fill up with gas (ugh, I mean petrol!) at a British petrol station and had to phone my mum to ask her. Britain, let’s do the pay at pump machines more – it’s so much quicker and prevents me from having to go into the garage shop and buying Cadbury’s Buttons as well. Yes, folks, REAL chocolate!
4. Fish and chips taste like they should do, but they don’t come in paper. Sad news.
No paper, folks

No paper, folks

5. I feel like Gulliver in Lilliput. At first I thought someone had shrunk my house, after all that big American stuff I was used to. Forty eight hours later it just feels normal.
6. People in England are much friendlier than I remembered! Everyone’s so helpful and smiley. Who’d have thunk it? 🙂
7. Some people appear to be disappointed that I haven’t picked up an American accent. I am not Joss Stone FFS!
8. The Gloucestershire accent is making me smile. It’s so bloody West Country – oohaarr!
9. I have only got into the wrong side of the car once. I have yet to drive on the wrong side!
10. Traffic lights. There are lots of them and it sucks that you can’t turn left on red. This needs to happen, Britain!
11. My parents are amazing. They’ve totally helped me out massively!
12. I can’t find any of my Boots or Sainsbury’s or Tesco’s rewards cards and it’s doing my head in. I need my points!
13. I think I appreciate the higgledy piggledy joy of England a little more today than I did yesterday. It will grow on me.
My garden needs some TLC!

My garden needs some TLC!

Cheers y’all! Onwards with the cultural challenges!

Back to Blighty…..

This time in two weeks, I’ll be at my parents’ house, and, since it will be 5pm in the UK, I suspect we’ll be having a bit of my mother’s homemade banana cake and a cup of tea. Or they’ll be having a G&T no doubt …. 😉

Cup of tea

Cup of tea British-stylie

Yep, I’m heading on back to Blightly for a flying 10 day visit mid-January.

The reason?

Well, there are several……I haven’t been back since August 2013, January is a really pants month here in Maryland because there are generally 12 snow days out of 20 so Harry won’t be missing any school, my mum really wants us to pop over, it will be cool to see my friends and family, I have a job interview, I want to play netball at least twice, and…..I’m curious to see what it will feel like and look like. and I really want to get Harry engaged in the English way of life a little bit more so that the changes don’t come as a great big shock to him.

Just this morning I said to him ‘Have you ever had British fish and chips?’ and he looked at me and wrinkled his freckly nose and said, ‘What?’ So I explained the phenomenon that is British fish and chips, and now I really hope that they come in some form of newspaper from wherever we get them from, because that was the bit that appealed most to him….!

Proper job!

Proper job!

I also told him that I had had a dream that I was back in the UK and that it was really raining hard and I was driving on the wrong side of the road and there were lots of cars coming towards me. Let’s face it, both those things are possibly going to happen at some point…. ;). I’m sure the former is a certainty.

My top questions upon my return are these:

1. Will England look beautiful and appealing? When I went back in August it did look gorgeous, but that’s the summer, so I’m not sure if it will feel a bit gloomy in January.

England looked gorgeous in August

England looked gorgeous in August

2. Will I just fit back in? What are my friends doing and have they changed? I’ve had such a crazy two and half years in the States, I wonder very much if it will feel just like I’ve never been away.

3. What new things will I spot in my hometown? Are there new restaurants and shops and stuff, and how will it feel?

How will it have changed?

How will it have changed?

4. Will I feel like Gulliver in Lilliput when I go to my house? Our UK house is much smaller than our USA one. Much. I often say, though, how much I miss our house in the UK because a) it was easier to clean and b) we didn’t have to YELL to each other from room to room – we could just talk. How pleasant. Here’s an anecdote from when I was six about how things appear to look bigger or smaller depending on what you’re used to. I went to Canada to stay with my aunt and uncle and they had a big Red Setter called Sunny. I was with Sunny for two weeks, and when I returned home my spaniel-lab mutts Bess and Babs looked really dinky and small because I was used to the great bigness of Sunny. Equally, when I visited Liverpool and spent some time with my great aunt’s terrier Mitzi, when I returned home Bess and Babs felt like giants. You work it out.

Our little house in Cheltenham

Our little house in Cheltenham

5. Will I feel excited at the prospect of having to come back to live in the UK, or will I feel desperately apprehensive?

Hmmmm. I’m slightly anxious, in all honesty.

Well, I’ll be charting it all here for you, folks, as part of my repatriation.

See you on the other side!