Life is full of doom and gloom at the moment. Let us all intone the word ‘austerity’. To counteract the economic gloom I got to thinking about the good things about living in England. So, in no particular order, I have selected my five good things about living in England. I’ve been living in England for three years now so I guess that makes me an expert. My choices are of course dictated by my own whimsy (and one is always the master of one’s own whims).
Now, you know how Ireland is supposed to be full of mad, whimsical japes? Pshaw, I say to that. Cricket is the most insane, whimsical game in the whole world. No one knows how to play it, it goes on for three days and tea and cake breaks are enshrined into the unknowable rules of play. To be fair, cricket is played in Ireland but not widely. I’ve only ever seen it played in the Mardyke in Cork and in Trinity College in Dublin. I get all anthropological when I see cricket in Winchester. Here is a picture of the lads in Winchester College playing cricket. There is also a lot of fish in this picture. I am not a very good photographer.
2. Apologising for Swearing
People don’t swear as much in England compared to Ireland. A little time ago I was walking up to a friend’s house and some electrical company was digging up the road. Two men were digging in fetching luminous yellow outfits and were retelling what appeared to be an epic. The words ‘f*ck’ and ‘sh*t’ were used. And when the dudes saw me coming up the street they covered their faces in shame and apologised profusely. I was so surprised. Swear words are just regular adjectives in Ireland. Feck, of course, is not a swear word as it is used by nice ladies. Here is Tommy Tiernan demonstrating the adjectival use of swear words.
3. Melvyn Bragg
When I say Melvyn Bragg, I am really referring to his radio programme In Our Time. It’s on a Thursday morning and it is completely crazy. ‘Today we are looking at the life of Aristophanes and his plays.’ And look at his little face, isn’t he lovely? He can get a bit bossy with the experts though.
4. Indian Food
There is not much Indian food in Ireland (historical reasons and all that). So moving to the UK has been a food revolution. And I have been very lucky in having food-loving Indian neighbours who have cooked the most amazing dishes for me. My neighbour Pinky is in India at the moment so I have been making fusion Indian. Yup, it a bit crap.
5. Red Slacks
I have never, ever, seen any man in Ireland wear red trousers who wasn’t a German tourist. Here though, the place is crawling with affluent fellows in scarlet, vermillion-hued trews. I think they are hilarious. And they add a touch of colour .
These five things are not the only good things about living in England. I think it is a brilliant place to live. I am surrounded by amazing people, beautiful countryside, immense social and cultural capital, a FREE health service and the best television programmes in the world. And my nice husband of course.