American in Oxford Jane Messina on men with beards, pitchers and ice

Recently I’ve had the growing suspicion that I’m becoming more British. I was much less shocked than I would have been two years ago at having to wear a jumper in August, and I would have never considered calling it a jumper.

When someone reminded me to bring a torch and wellies on a camping trip last weekend, I knew what they were talking about. I was also really upset when Asda failed to deliver the groceries on time to the campsite.

I could go on about all the little things that have become normal to me as a result of living here, but I’d rather revisit a few things I miss about good ol’ ‘Merica to make sure I’m not getting too soft on England.

Disclaimer: this list is in no way representative of any sort of core American values.

10. Men with beards who can fix things. If these do exist in the UK, they’re certainly not roaming around in great numbers in Oxford. That said, my colleague Oli did manage to grow a moustache in less than six months. He’s no Ron Swanson, but I appreciate the effort. Speaking of which… 9. Ron Swanson (‘nuff said).

8. Lots and lots more ice.

7. Sandwich-delivery bicycle messengers. If I’m incorrect and this does exist in Oxford, please contact me very soon because there’s a 25 per cent chance I’m starving and wishing a bicycle messenger would bring me a sandwich.

6. Iced tea. You guys love tea. Am I missing something? This would be much easier to produce with the greater abundance of ice I have suggested, and would ideally be delivered by a bike messenger along with my sandwich.

5. Big refrigerators. I’m not just talking “big enough”. I’m talking something you can practically climb inside on a hot summer day to enjoy a glass of iced tea from the large pitcher (translation: “jug”) that you can easily fit in the door above your giant freezer full of ice and other delicious things you can enjoy whenever you like.

4. Pitchers of cold beer. I’ve seen these a few times here, but they could be more widely available. Sharing a pitcher of beer unites people over a common goal, and should, therefore, be encouraged as a community-building exercise.

3. Bluegrass music, and not just on Spotify. It has a particularly nice effect when played by a bearded man and enjoyed over a few pitchers of cold beer with friends.

2. Bourbon. This also goes well with bearded men and bluegrass music.

1. Taco trucks. Hussein’s can just never compete with a delicious midnight burrito.

Combine the right amounts of the above, and you’ve got yourself a pretty perfect day that you just couldn’t find in Oxford. Then again, in the US you’d struggle to find yourself sipping Pimm’s on a punt while drifting by a picturesque meadow filled with deer, so I guess it’s just about appreciating the moment — or something else that a wise person might say.