Lisa's week

lisas week teaser

Lisa's week: Do you need anything from the High Street?

High Street

As I mentioned last week, I spent a few days “home” last weekend and this is something I hear at least once a day. My mum lives at one end of the High Street – literally – and it feels like we head off down the road to pick up a loaf of bread, have a coffee or post a letter a dozen times a day.

You might have guessed that I’m going to talk about the typical British High Street. I’m not talking about the city centre which is filled with shopping centres and smart shops; I’m talking about the suburbs where you go for the day-to-day items, your food shopping, the post office or the local café.

I’m including a photo this week that I’m going to refer to because when I looked up the street at that moment, I realised that it showed some very typical features which made me smile. So take a look at the photo and see if you can see the following:

  • a jay-walker not using the pedestrian crossing just a hundred metres away – if the street is free, or sometimes even if it’s not, it’s normal to just dash across the road. This is something I always have to get used to again, as a pedestrian as well as a driver!
  • a double decker bus – we do have the long bendy buses in the UK now but in Birmingham, the traditional double-decker is still the main form of public transport with the top front seats being the favourites for young and old alike.
  • a taxi – this one is unfortunately silver not black but has the familiar rounded top of the London cab all tourists seem to love.
  • the local pub – every community has at least one pub with even small villages boasting a couple. This suburb of Birmingham has 5 just along this stretch of the High Street with each one offering a different atmosphere and clientele. The Junction (in the middle at the end of the photo) is a typical Victorian pub which has seen several incarnations over the 113 years it’s been here.
  • a couple of charity shops – if you look closely, you can spot The Heart Foundation, Oxfam and the Marie Curie cancer charity shops. Offering a treasure of second-hand items, these are firm favourites in many suburban shopping areas for both donations and bargain hunting.
  • my favourite British pizza chain, Pizza Express – there’s not a lot to say here except that if I’m going to have a pizza back home, it’ll be here. Just delicious.
  • a pharmacy chain – while non-prescription medication can be found in supermarkets, drug stores (similar to the German DM) or even petrol stations, there are still one or two regular pharmacies to be found on the High Street. Although, with regular shops also offering a prescription counter today, and the pharmacies offering regular toiletry and make-up products, the difference between the two is blurring.
  • the double yellow lines – this means that there is no parking on this side of the road, at any time. If you look closely on the other side of the road, you can see a single yellow line which means restricted parking for which you’d need to check out the road sign. The double yellow line is clear for everyone to see and you don’t need any extra signs. If you are silly enough to park here, you don’t even have the excuse that you didn’t notice the sign!

What you can’t see here is the supermarket on the top left of the street, the local post office at the other end of the road which has been closed (a topic for another day perhaps), a red letter-box, more coffee shops than you think is possible for one community, several estate agents and banks, many restaurants serving Indian, Italian, French, Thai or trendy avocado-based brunch style food to name but a few, and a small Marks & Spencer store which I have to say is my favourite! Of course, there are many other shops, banks and locations too which makes this High Street as typical as any other suburb up and down the country and I love wandering up and down, looking at the changes, checking out the new restaurants and take-away shops whenever I get the chance.

Now I have to dash, I need to go and post a letter. But now that I’m back in Germany, it’s not just down the High Street!


What is Lisa's week?

"We’ve (hopefully) been entertaining you so far with the meaning and background of a weekly English idiom and now we’ve decided to expand that a little to give me the chance to share some details that come my way in my daily life as a Business English teacher. I hope to find weekly tidbits of information and experience to tell you about such as British traditions that I (or we) celebrate, or typical mistakes made when speaking English, or even some of the funny things I come across in my daily life. We hope that you’ll enjoy the insight into the life of a Brit in Germany!"


Episode 1: The Queen's 90th birthday

Episode 2: What did you do last Sunday?

Episode 3: What's the best way to answer?

Episode 4: The sound of London

Episode 5: Not just a last resort

Episode 6: Quick tip of the week: advice vs. advise

Episode 7: Title talk

Episode 8: The Union Jack

Episode 9: Why Thursday?

Episode 10: Quick tip of the week - Are you watching or just looking?

Episode 11: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Episode 12: Don't forget to take you handy to the public viewing!

Episode 13: Up in the Highlands

Episode 14: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends

Episode 15: Pie in the sky 

Episode 16: Through the tunnel

Episode 17: Keep left!

Episode 18: Quick tip of the week - Rise vs. raise vs. arise

Episode 19: How do you say that?

Episode 20: Back to School!

Episode 21: Sweet cravings

Episode 22: Can you change a fiver?

Episode 23: Grabbing some "me time"

Episode 24: Typical Mistakes (part 1)

Episode 25: Fancy a cuppa?

Episode 26: Quip tip of the week - Fell vs. fall etc.

Episode 27: Things that go bump in the night!

Episode 28: Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpower, treason and plot

Episode 29: What's that badge you're wearing?

Episode 30: Bless you!

Episode 31: What are you thankful for?

Episode 32: Where's the larget Christmas Market outside Germany or Austria?

Episode 33: What's behind the door?

Episode 34: The joy of a Christmas cracker!

Episode 35: Does it all fit on the table?

Episode 36: Seeing in the New Year

Episode 37: How are your resolutions going?

Episode 38: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends - part 2

Episode 39: What will the Year of the Rooster mean for you?

Episode 40: Sweet Valentine

Episode 41: A Reminder

Episode 42: I'll have mine with sugar and lemon juice, please!

Episode 43: The joy of golden daffodils

Episode 44: To correct or not to correct, that is the question

Episode 45: The whole world's going green!

Episode 46: Idiom of the week - Raining cats and dogs

Episode 47: The joke's on you!

Episode 48: Left over from the Middle Ages!

Episode 49: More calendar food-based ponderings

Episode 50: We use German words too

Episode 51: Celebrating St George

Episode 52: The perfect start to the day

Episode 53: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 1)

Episode 54: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 2)

Episode 55: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 3)

Episode 56: Holiday season is coming!

Episode 57; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 1

Episode 58; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 2

Episode 59: Summer Solstice

Episode 60: Harry Potter turns 20

Episode 61: Quick Tip of the Week - live, life, live

Episode 62: Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

Episode 63:  I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Episode 64: Stick a stamp on it!

Episode 65: Idiom of the week - Water under the bridge

Episode 66: I say QWERTY, you say QWERTZ

Episode 67: Doing your homework and making mistakes! (Part 1)

Episode 68: Doing your homework and making mistakes! (Part 2)

Episode 69: Joking around in Scotland

Episode 70: The first day of school

Episode 71: Let's go down to the Wiesn!

Episode 72: Celebrating language

Episode 73: It's a Harry thing!

Episode 74: My favourite time of the year

Episode 75: TED-Ideas Worth Spreading

Episode 76: Grinning like a Cheshire cat

Episode 77: Enjoying the downtime

Episode 78: Talking Tenners