We also won’t talk to strangers, are only serious about cricket and stamp collecting, and can generally be relied upon to fall asleep after Sunday lunch.
At least this was the advice handed out to US servicemen posted here during the Second World War in the 1944 guide, The English and their Country which is being republished by the Imperial War Museum.
I read about this in The Times yesterday and would have posted a link, except you need a subscription to view their site. There is a Telegraph article though for more information which actually says that we’re not rude, just shy.
But it could serve as a useful guide today. As it says: ‘The English for centuries have been a puzzle to people of other countries’. And a puzzle to each other it seems.
The North cultivates the elementary qualities, the sterner virtues; the South refines upon them and cultivates the graces of life.
The people of the English North are blunt of speech and manner. They say what they mean, even if it offends, and they act without regard to the more fastidious courtesies. They call it honesty.
They surely can’t mean us, can they?