SQUIZ THE WORLD (1400 × 700px)

Squiz the World goes to… England

Lindow Man: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGV402Z1KNY
Make a Royal Guard laugh: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UukPHnpIelw
Shakespeare’s phrases common today: https://www.shakespeare.org.uk/explore-shakespeare/shakespedia/shakespeares-phrases/
An A to Z of cockney rhyming slang: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/jun/09/guide-to-cockney-rhyming-slang
Bubble and Squeak: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/bubble-squeak

Each week, we give the world globe a spin, and see where we land. Then we take the kids of Australia on an audio excursion to visit that country and its people.

I’m Amanda Bower, and today on Squiz the World we’re visiting England—the country that gave us English, sandwiches, and soccer… and, of course, sent their convicts to Australia.
Strap yourselves into the Squiz Kids Super Fast Supersonic Jetliner as we take off and take a squiz at England.

England is part of something called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland—which is usually shortened to the United Kingdom, or U.K. It’s made up of four independent countries: England, Scotland and Wales, which are found on an island called Britain, and Northern Ireland, spelled I-r-e-l-a-n-d, which is on a different island—spelled i-s-l-a-n-d.

England is the southernmost country of the UK, and 80% of its people live in towns and cities. But those towns and cities only cover about 10% of the country, so England is known for its green rolling hills and open moors. Moors are grassy landscapes. England is also known for being very rainy… and if a moor gets really wet, it becomes a bog.
The cool thing about bogs is that they can be like quicksand, and mummified bodies have been recovered from English bogs after being preserved there for thousands of years. I’ve put a link in your episode notes to a video about the Lindow Man, one of England’s most famous bog bodies.

56 million people live in England – more than double the number of people in Australia, even though our country is 59 times bigger than theirs!

Overcrowding is actually one of the reasons that England started sending its criminals to Australia, which the UK colonised to create a penal colony. Today, about one third of people living in Australia say that they have English ancestry… do you?

The capital of England, and the United Kingdom, is London. That’s where the UK Parliament sits, and it’s also the main residence of the monarch—a fancy word for the king or queen. The monarch was the most powerful person in England for many centuries, and there are lots of stories about them killing each other off to gain the throne.

Though the King doesn’t really take on any political power any more, he is still officially the head of state, and could overrule or sack the elected prime minister if he wanted.

The royal family also brings a lot of tourism to England – people love seeing Buckingham Palace, and the Beefeater guards out the front. They’re supposed to keep a straight face… I’ll put a video in your episode notes of an Aussie traveller who tries to make a guard laugh. It’s pretty hilarious… although some of the jokes he reads from a book are slightly fruity.

Whenever you travel, it’s important to learn a few words in that country’s language. It’s a great way to show respect. So, let’s….

I bet you can guess what the official language of England is… English!
So why did such a small country end up with its language being spoken worldwide? Well, England ruled over a huge Empire of colonies—at one time, a quarter of the world’s land surface, and 458 million people. And wherever they went, they took their language with them.

English is sometimes called the ‘language of Shakespeare’. William Shakespeare was a very famous playwright and poet from the 1500s, and you’d be amazed by how many of the words and phrases we say today were invented or first written down by him. I’ll put a list in your episode notes, but next time your parents say that you’re eating them out of house and home, you can give a little nod to Shakespeare.

Although we also speak English in Australia, there are some dialects from England that are quite tricky for us to understand… not to mention rhyming slang! What do you think this means?
“Come down the apples and pears and get the dustbin lids their loop-the-loop”
Well, it’s rhyming slang… apples and pears means stairs; dustbin lids are kids; and loop-the-loop is, apparently, soup. So: “Come downstairs and get the kids their soup”

There’s most definitely a link in your episode notes to more examples of rhyming slang. And a big shoutout to Squiz Kid Eleni, all the way over in England, for recording that for us!
Well, we already speak the language, so there are no excuses… it’s…

In England, if you go to a fancy school that costs your parents money, it’s called — wait for it — a public school. Of course, in Australia that’s called a private school.

And in England, the schools that are funded by the government — the ones that we call public schools—are known as “state schools”.
I actually went to a state school in England for six months when I was a 11, and the thing that I found the most different from my public school in Perth was school lunch.

Kids in England have a choice between bringing their own lunch, or getting a hot or cold lunch from the school cafeteria. Families who can’t afford to pay for those school lunches get them for free, and when I was a kid, there was a lot of fried food involved. Nowadays, the chef Jamie Oliver is one of many people leading a campaign to include more fresh fruit and vegetables.

One of the things I quickly learned at my school was that the good food could run out… and if you played a school sport, you often trained at lunch and were allowed to get lunch first. Win. I think it must be…

The English claim that they invented football. Not everyone agrees, but there is some good evidence in their favour. The rules of football, or soccer as we know it, were first written down in England in 1863.
But it was played in public schools (remember, they’re the private ones), much earlier than this. Before the rules were written down, each school had its own set of rules. In some schools, your opponents could catch the ball if you kicked it below their knees. Or, if you caught the ball near the goals, you could score, by taking no more than three standing jumps into goal.

It was pretty different from the rules today, and it was pretty rough! One student at a school called Westminster recalled “When running… the enemy tripped, shinned, charged with the shoulder, got down and sat upon you… in fact did anything short of murder to get the ball from you.”

Yikes! Of course, soccer is now the most popular game in the world—again, I’m guessing that Empire helped to spread it around. England has qualified for every soccer world cup since it entered the competition in 1950, but has only won the trophy once.

Phew! I’ve learned a ton about England, and now I’m starving! I think it might be…

Perhaps the most ubiquitous food that the British are said to have invented—ubiquitous means it’s found everywhere—is the humble sandwich! Sandwich is a town in South-East England, and the story goes that John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, was a terrible gambler. He would be at the card table day and night, and didn’t want to leave to eat. He ordered his servants to bring him slices of meat between two slices of bread… and as other gamblers caught on, they’d also say, “Bring me a sandwich!”

However, the other story goes that the Earl was busy in the navy, as well as politics, and probably ate his first sandwich at his desk…
England is also famous for its fish and chips… which you would buy at a shop called “the chippy”. In fact, you can combine both things and order a “chip butty”, which is a sandwich filled with hot chips and a brown sauce.

Now, I don’t think you need a recipe to make a sandwich, or put hot chips between two slices of bread, so I’ve included in your episode notes a link to another famous English dish, Bubble and Squeak. It’s an amazing way of cooking up leftover roast veggies… and the name apparently comes from the sound of the ingredients frying.

This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening.

Question 1. What is a private school called in England?
Question 2. Australia is how many times bigger than England?
Question 3. Who is the English poet and playwright whose words and phrases are a part of everyday language today?