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A strange and lowering realization: I don’t know what ‘United Kingdom’ is in German. I can give you ‘Scotland’ or ‘England’, but oddly, those aren’t in the dropdown menu for destinations. Not being countries and all.

A look at dict.leo.org (the best online foreign language dictionary I’ve seen yet, I have to say) yields three results. The first translates to ‘Great Britain and Northern Ireland’, the second to ‘United Kingdom’. Which was not on the drop-down; I did try the obvious translation first. The third was the rather outrageous ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’, which for purposes of the postal system is surely overkill.

The German bookseller went with Grossbrittainien*–Great Britain. I really can’t blame them. It was a bit of a mouthful.

* Using the ess-zet (ß)–that great big character that looks like a large B, is pronounced like two esses, and in fact stems from the combination of an old-fashioned tall lowercase S and a short S that got a little too friendly–is more easily avoided than accommodated when it comes to internet addresses and computer code. You can work around it, but using two esses is faster and less prone to complications.

What sort of country has a need for such a ceremonious and, dare I say, excessive name?

The sort of country in which I plop down for a quiet bit of a read in the park on a Tuesday and come out with pictures like this:

Chiefly Confab

But that’s a story for another day.

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