Well, there's an experience: I’ve just been to the UK for a few days.
Since almost everyone who reads my Business over Tapas (a weekly review of Spanish news) will know the United Kingdom better than I do with my modest current score of just thirty days there in the last forty years, there’s probably not much I can add about the place, beyond noting that I never saw a single electric scooter in the local towns and villages in West Sussex - although I did notice that there are lots of expensive cars around, if not enough road for them all to share. I spent much of our time with my host on the country lanes stuck in long and tedious traffic jams.
I was staying in a place near Chichester: a genteel sea-village with a pebbled beach and a few fishermen dotted about selling dressed crab, and where some batty old dear knits woolen cosies and puts them on the lids of the letter boxes. To keep them warm, I suppose. The photograph of me posting a letter into one of these wholesome treasures unfortunately didn’t come out (due to the ill-placing of my chum’s thumb).
I did, however, pick up a joke:
A high court judge and his wife are returning from a very jolly dinner-party when they are stopped by the police.
‘Who are you, sir, and where are you from?’
‘I’m a high-court judge and I’m from Bognor’ said that worthy gentleman.
The policeman let them continue on their way.
‘But darling, we live in Chichester’ said his wife.
‘I know’, he answered, ‘but try and say that when you’re pissed’.
My old school friend and I had some distant memories to recall, a few local sites to explore, a decent curry to enjoy and a pint or two of local brew to quaff. Apparently, they hadn’t had any summer this year until I showed up. I expect they were glad to see me arrive. The temperature was high and the sky was sunny the five days I was there, but now it’s gone back to overcast with a chance of hail.
There are things about Blighty, you know, that never change.
Some travellers – the non-aggressive British word for gypsies, and I believe that’s now out-of-date as well – were occupying a field by the beach in the village and the local bars had all promptly closed with ‘gas-leaks’ and other tiresome issues, no doubt to remain firmly shuttered until the group had been moved on to pastures new by the local constabulary.
They do like their doggies, the Brits. We had a meal in a Turkish tapa-bar (sic!), with the next table’s two customers in charge of no less than three dogs, the table behind with two more dogs and another table nearby with yet another pooch. All fulsomely excited, as only the canine-race can be, to meet new friends.
That wouldn’t happen in Spain – but then I suppose, neither would a Turkish tapa-bar.
Of course, I had a good time munching pork pies and once a scotch egg in an otherwise rather boring art museum and, now returned home and suitably refreshed, I’m quite ready for una caña de cerveza and a decent tapa.