It is a peculiarly English trait that it is sometimes preferable to tell a lie, even though the person who is being lied to knows they are being lied to, rather than to tell the truth.
For many years now, if I have been travelling between the East Anglian coast and London, I have stopped at a small cafe, The Halfway cafe, in the village of Darsham. I even know the opening hours at cafe 7am until 3pm.
Parking up today at 2.26pm, I thought I would have more than enough time for a meal, and for the staff to kick me out well before 3pm. Entering the premises at 2.28pm, I immediately noticed the till had been taken away, and glimpsed a staff member putting away the days utensils.
"I'm afraid we are not serving anymore food today".
For some reason the word food was given added emphasis, as if they were still serving something else instead. But what else could they be doing in a cafe?
Rather than admit they were finishing early - it now 2.29pm, I was told - "we stopped serving at 2.30pm."
I would not actually have minded had the waitress told me the truth - they had decided to finish early, it was sunny day, and I would just have to do without. Instead it seems easier to tell lies - to say it is after 2.30pm when it is not, and to say that an advertised closing time of 3pm actually means 2.30pm - anything but the truth.
All bollocks, and all very, very English.