Epitome of modern manners
I ve been living dangerously. While out and about in Whittlesey and Wisbech this last week, I ve been looking people in the eye, smiling politely and saying Good morning . One cold day when I was wearing a cap, I touched its peak whenever I passed a lady
I've been living dangerously. While out and about in Whittlesey and Wisbech this last week, I've been looking people in the eye, smiling politely and saying "Good morning".
One cold day when I was wearing a cap, I touched its peak whenever I passed a lady in the street.
Of course, I wasn't so mad as to try this with young people. I'm perfectly aware it would result in a threatening challenge "Oo yew lookin' at?" Or possibly a knife in my stomach.
But even a greeting to people of my own age made them look away and move hurriedly off. I gave up before someone called the police and had me arrested on a charge of harassment.
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In the Manchester suburbs (where I grew up), it's normal for strangers to talk to each other. At the bus stop, on a tram or in a queue, everyone starts chatting.
Once, when I was going home by bus, the woman sitting next to me told me the life-history of her womb.
- 1 Police officer sacked for racially abusing colleague at Christmas party
- 2 Cambridgeshire police officer dismissed after conduct hearing
- 3 Historian who wrote 126 books and spent 64 years bellringing dies aged 90
- 4 Trades group hears of alarming rise in shop worker abuse amid Covid
- 5 Police hunt homemade go-kart ‘causing anti-social behaviour’
- 6 Rural crime police recover dog in ‘poor state’ while on site check
- 7 Mum caught driving with revoked license on school run gets car seized
- 8 BBC drama Casualty storyline to feature pelvic mesh implant scandal
- 9 Fen farm on more than 200 acres of land up for sale for £2.2million
- 10 Vicar's concerns over 'hugely vulnerable' rough sleepers
Why are Fenlanders suspicious of strangers? Is it because, for centuries, nobody "from away" ever risked entering this marshy region and because incomers are still a novelty?
Or do Fen folk enjoy appearing unfriendly?
I know every group has its own customs. The Indian language Gujerati doesn't have a word for "please" - so many Indians aren't used to saying please and therefore seem rude to English people. They also ask complete strangers into their homes.
Fenlanders don't appear to do this. So far as I can see, they don't even ask their neighbours in. I got so fed up with one local guy boasting he'd never asked anyone into his house, I asked him if he still had earth floors.
Mind you, I have my own little quirks. I won't reply to texts in which words aren't spelt properly. I won't call 0870 numbers. I begin e-mails as I begin letters ("Dear So-and-so.") and never with the greeting "Hiya". I know it's pompous.
Even so, we might all try adopting a few modern manners. Not texting when you're with someone else and not shouting into mobile phones would be good starting points.
And if you write a rude e-mail, wait till tomorrow before deciding you really want to send it.