Or what they call me mum.

As I put on my sneakers (or trainers), she asked me, “Buggering off?”

My mom has never asked if I’m buggering off. She’s never told me to bugger off. I’m not 100% sure what buggering off means so I look at her strangely.

“If you mean am I going running now, I suppose.”

See, my mom hasn’t lived in England for 40 years, but the second she gets off the plane, she gets back into English mode. What I mean is she uses the English colloquialism that we don’t often hear in our daily interactions in the States. Sure there’s the occasional “blast” or “bloody hell.” A few years back she said the chair was “wonky,” which made us do a double-take. But generally we can understand what this lady with the English accent is trying to communicate to us kids.

We’ve been in England for three days now. Twice my mom tried to translate English to English for me, only her expressions are now stuck on this side of the pond. My aunts and mom were discussing going somewhere and my mom tried to translate: “It’s a car boot sale.”

“What the heck is a car boot sale?” I asked.

“Like a flea market. You know, but they sell stuff out of the boot.”

Blank expression.

“Their trunk!”


For the record, nobody sold anything out of a boot. It was what we call a flea market.

I wonder how she explained to my aunts what a flea market is.


et cetera