I’m here visiting dear old blighty for a short time. I don’t know what I expected really, after 3 years, but I’m certainly finding it odd. I decided to make a note of things I like and things I don’t. It’s early days yet, but here’s a start…
Things I like
being able to put toilet paper down the toilet
the food – fried food, cheese, curries, chocolate, raspberries, pizza…
24-hour a day electricity
drinking water out of a tap
Things I don’t like
being treated like a moron – there’s a big sign (and I mean BIG – like three storeys high) on the new library next door saying L I B R A R Y. “Do not eat” on a packet of washing powder. etc etc.
TV for idiots – even the news.
More as they occur to me.
I’m looking forward to seeing people and getting some work done here, but I already know I will be happy to get back to Manaus. It’s not perfect (don’t get me started), but it’s definitely a good place for us to be right now.
My flight over – through/under/above/around the volcanic ash, presumably – was uneventful and took only 17.5 hours via Panama, Amsterdam and Dublin, which is the fastest I’ve ever done it. And in spite of getting a seat next to a couple with a 10-month old baby on the flight to Amsterdam, I found the whole thing quite tolerable really (fly KLM – best airline in the world).
The only untoward experience so far was borrowing a friend’s car and driving the length of his road on the wrong side, before realising something was amiss.
Right now I’m enjoying watching the elections roadshow. Labour are cringe-worthy. I saw Lord (ha ha – Lord! Oh lordy lordy…) Mandelson this morning trying desperately to seem imperious while actually looking like he’d just eaten a lemon and had piles; while Gordon Brown -apart from an odd bout of sincerity (mostly when he talks finance) – generally looks like he’s either about to dribble or fall asleep (or both). And then we have the glow-in-the-dark ready-brek twins, scrubbed, shiny and cool to woo the hoodies (man) and the Oxbridge set (yah). Don’t be surprised when they launch their own rap songs at the next Students Union meeting.
And then I watched the Norn Iron version, about which I can say little without laughing. I did notice posters on the way from the airport with an Ian Paisley on them, until I realised it wasn’t Paisley it was Parsley. Is he serious? Can he be serious with a name like that? “Be sage – vote Parsley”, or even “Be sage – time to vote Parsley”. Come ON…
Anyway enough for now. It’s all good fun. And who knows, I may even be tempted to vote for someone while I’m here. I suspect it won’t do much to halt the demise of UK Inc., however, and I’m pleased to be one of the rats that got away (although I see shades of hubris here, so I shall say no more).