The English abroad are wonderful. With scant regard for local custom, culture or cuisine, they flock overseas with no panache, wearing football shirts and sandals with socks, chanting their vulgar "Inger-land...Inger-land..." All they seem to want to do is eat fish and chips on the Costa del Sol and drink vast quantities of their awful beer in ex-pat pubs, whilst watching English satellite TV or playing bingo. They would rather fry themselves in the sun, close to the hotel pool than venture out to see the country they are in or experience the lives and customs of those around them.

When they do experiment with the local food, they ask in stentorian tones for salad cream and ketchup, which they proceed to pour over the dish, mangling the taste beyond recognition.

Okay, maybe I exaggerate just a little, but there is one thing which is almost certain to be true of them. They will rarely be able to speak the lingo. They pile into French cafes, Italian bistros and German beer halls and proceed to speak with the locals as though they were both deaf, slow of wit, and fellow speakers of English. Those brave souls who do attempt the language frequently do so with total disregard for accent, preferring their own Manchunian, Scouse, Brummie or Cockney, causing yet more affront to the sensitive native.

Of course, all this is just a joke, right? Yes... and yet, this is how the English are seen by many in Europe and beyond - crass, uncultured, and bringers of the English Disease. "Come on, England", is my cry - buck up and do us proud!

A Britnoder with a little French, but a fair accent

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