[Part 2 of 2] James and Luke discuss some more “facts” about the UK, but can you guess if they are true or false? Learn some interesting trivia about life in Britain, and improve your vocabulary in the process.
Video Version with facts on the screen – Automatic Subtitles Available
Hello listeners, and welcome back to the podcast.
This is part 2 of a two-part episode called 50 Random British Facts (True or False Quiz) with James.
This is part 2 – so if you haven’t heard part 1, go back and listen to that. It’s the previous episode.
In this one we’re going to go through the rest of the random facts about Britain which my brother and I put together earlier this year.
Just a reminder, of the way this works:
- First, James and I will read out some more random facts about the UK
- Some of the facts are true, and other facts are not true – they were completely made up by James and me.
- You have to decide which facts you think are true and which ones are false
- Then, after reading out the facts, James and I will reveal the answers and we will also discuss each fact a little bit.
Hopefully you can learn some odd and interesting bits of information about the UK, spot some useful English vocabualry, generally practise your listening skills and have a bit of fun in the process.
If you’d like to work on your pronunciation, here’s a challenge. Try reading the facts out loud, like James and I did. When you read them out, try to say them clearly and fluently, emphasising the right words, connecting parts of the sentence and adding pauses and intonation in the right places. It’s actually quite difficult but a good exercise. You can read the facts on the page for this episode on my website, or you will see them on the screen if you are watching the YouTube version. You could compare the way you say the sentences to the way James and I say them, and perhaps try to copy us, or shadow us. That could be a good way to push your English a bit further with this episode.
As I said at the beginning of the 1st part of this double episode, James and I recorded this in August 2022 and that was before the Queen died in September, and so this is a bit anachronistic as we talk about The Queen in the present tense as she was still alive and the head of state of the country at the time we recorded this. So just keep that in mind while you are listening to this I guess.
Oh and by the way, listen out for a cameo appearance by my daughter somewhere in the middle of the episode.
Now, are you ready to keep calm and carry on?
OK then, here we go with more random British facts – are they true or are they false?
Random British Facts 26 – 50 [True or False?] Listen to find out the answers
- 26. In 1657, England’s puritanical leader Oliver Cromwell passed a law making it illegal to serve richly flavoured food, believing it to be a pathway to sin.
- 27. It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armour.
- 28. It is illegal to put a stamp with the queen’s head on it upside down on an envelope (it’s considered treason).
- 29. It’s customary to let out a little bit of gas when you accept something which has been offered to you. A small fart or a burp. Keep some gas in reserve for moments like this. This is why English people eat beans.
- 30. Loch Ness is the largest body of freshwater in Britain by volume. It also keeps a temperature of 6°C all year round, not even freezing in the coldest Scottish winters.
- 31. More than half of the London Underground network in fact runs above ground.
- 32. There are 6 official ‘native’ languages in the UK.
- 33. Queen Elizabeth II was born in the same room that Charles Dickens died in.
- 34. Recent studies found that skin from British people was more resistant to water compared to that of continental people, due to higher levels of wax residue found on the skin surface.
- 35. The Glasgow accent is so strong that people there often have trouble understanding each other when they speak.
- 36. Taxis are obliged to carry a bale of hay in the boot, thanks to old laws regarding the feeding of horses.
- 37. The Queen doesn’t have a passport.
- 38. The Queen owns all the swans in the UK, and as a result it is illegal to kill or eat them.
- 39. The department store Harrods sold cocaine until 1916.
- 40. The name of the UK’s flag is the Union Jack.
- 41. The word soccer originally comes from the UK.
- 42. There are 6 ravens which live at the Tower of London and an old royal decree from the reign of King Charles II states that if one of them leaves, the kingdom will fall.
- 43. During the time of Henry III (mid 13th century), a live polar bear was kept in the moat at the Tower of London.
- 44. There are more than 70 beaches in the UK.
- 45. There are now more parakeets in London than pigeons.
- 46. There’s a secret underground tunnel which runs directly from Buckingham Palace to Number 10 Downing Street.
- 47. Under the Salmon Act of 1986, it is an offence to handle a salmon ‘suspiciously’.
- 48. Until the late 70s it was common practice for doctors to recommend that pregnant women drink Guinness because the high iron content was thought to be beneficial for the pregnancy.
- 49. Until 1968 tobacco was commonly included in a child’s packed lunch along with bread, fat drippings, and tripe.
- 50. Until 1982 all buses and taxis were legally obliged to carry a bottle of brandy to revive any passengers taken ill during the journey.
That’s it listeners.
Thank you for listening.
Don’t forget, you can read all those facts on the page for this episode on my website. That could be a good way to just check some of the words and phrases that you heard in this episode.
I’m sure there’s some new vocabulary in there.
Here’s a selection (just read through them)
- A pathway to sin
- A suit of armour
- Gas / wind / a fart
- To keep something in reserve
- A body of water
- A bail of hay
- A muzzle / to keep an animal muzzled
- To handle something (two meanings)
- Fat drippings
- To be taken ill
- To revive someone
That’s just a selection. I’m not going into it all now, but you could pursue that vocabulary and research it and try to remember it and use it, or at least try to notice it again as you listen, read and generally come into contact with English.
Some of them are more frequently used than others. I don’t know how often you will talk about tripe or bails of hay in your life, but that’s the thing about pushing your vocabulary beyond the intermediate plateau. You have to go beyond the limits of the vocabulary that you come across on a daily basis and go into the more uncharted areas of English in order to open things out and expand.
Also, I explained some vocabulary at the end of part 1. I don’t know if you heard that, but I went into various words relating to laws, rules, regulations, government legislation and so on, as quite a lot of those things came up in the 50 facts. So go back and listen to the last 30 mins of part 1, if you haven’t already done so.
You see, it pays to listen to episodes all the way until the end.