Yes, that was the first chapter of my novel, Prior Engagements, which is being published, dun-dun-dun-duuuuh, in three days. At the back of said book is a glossery of English terms, and here’s a little snippet of that too.


British Home Stores, a department store selling clothes, bedding, kitchenware, home decor, appliances, gym equipment, and, depending on the season, Christmas decorations, Easter eggs or live goats (sacrificed during the British celebration of the advent of Morris dancing). Middle of the range prices make this an affordable shop, with classic style options, and fashion inspired ranges.

Also has a café, usually full of harassed child-bearing families and old people eating cod and chips and drinking tea.


A department store linked with ‘Pennys’ in Ireland. Sells much the same things as BHS, but at a much cheaper price. For example, a cardigan here will set you back £6 instead of £18. (Though instead of being a classic, grey, cashmere mix it will be neon yellow, and made of rayon wool). Lots of social comment involving sweatshop labour.

I once slipped on half a pasty that someone had left on the floor of a Primark changing room.


A shop where bargain foods can be bought, almost exclusively frozen or pickled, for the convenience of the thrifty minded and nutritionally unconcerned.

The Town of Bath

The setting of this book, a town located in Somerset, the west of England. It rains a lot there, and there are a lot of big hills. It’s a town in which there is a large Abbey (a big-ass church), Roman baths (big, smelly, old swimming pools), two universities (one for the arts, one for actual subjects) and approximately 1 billion cafés. All normal prices, upon entering Bath, inexplicably increase by about 50%.

I lived there for three years, and adored everything about it, except the tourists, the terrible jobs I had there, and the fact that it is impossible to get good coffee for less than £4 a cup.


A town adjacent to Bath, and regarded as ‘the wild one’ of the two. Were it a person, Bristol would regularly chug alcohol, pass out in the gutter, and become ‘that relative’ who shows up every year to borrow money. Bath is it’s older sister, the sensible one who wears tweed, reads a lot of Jane Austen novels, and has never, ever been accused of having a good time.

The biggest Primark that I have ever seen is in Bristol.