10 great years in Britain

This entry was posted on
Friday, May 2nd, 2008
3:30 pm and is filed
under Updates.

(checks watch)

Yep, there it is…. 3:30 in the afternoon on the 2nd of May. I have now officially been in your beautiful United Kingdom for a decade.

[SFX: 747 landing (ext.)]

[Musical Montage: Tim arrives as a penniless waif, makes his way to the big city, doesn’t quite make it to the position of mayor, but does eventually become so jealous of the Prime Minister that he decides to attack Tony Blair for no good reason… or something like that.]

I may miss my family and bitch and moan now and again about one thing or another that’s wrong with this country, but I love it here. Lots. Let me tell you about some of the things that I love the most…

(Note – To avoid putting you offside, I’m going to list my 10 favourite things about this glorious nation without mentioning one your women that I married and one of your jobs that I took.)

1. No redbacks, funnel-webs, taipans, tiger snakes, brown snakes, red bellied black snakes, sea snakes, crocodiles, man-eating sharks, blue ringed octopi or box jellyfish to worry about. In fact, the only things likely to leap out of the bushes and kill me are, I’m reliably informed, roaming gangs of teenagers and paedophiles*.

(*Why we haven’t simply set one onto the other is beyond me.)

2. Cold water from the tap. From the TAP!!! For upwards of ten months a year, too. A little luxury I’ve yet to take for granted.

3. Somewhat related: it rarely gets too hot here and – from time to time – we are rewarded with snow. Lovely, lovely snow:

4. In most parts of Australia, unwanted goods are sold at garage sales. Here, the far more sensible boot sale dominates… and haggling is not only tolerated, but expected. Almost every wonderful or useful thing I own was bought at a boot sale.

5. Monty Python, The Goodies**, The League of Gentlemen, 2000 AD, Viz, and all of the other quality mental entertainment that this country produces.

(**The original plan for today was to play Land of Hope and Glory on milk bottles pint glasses for you, but even though I followed the instructions from The Goodies File as best I could, I didn’t get any further than a series of dull thuds. I think I’ll steal some real milk bottles for my next attempt. And maybe use water instead of beer.)

6. Tabloid newspapers. Many feature topless women on a daily basis. Even the more restrained titles will use any excuse to show a woman in a bikini (“Skin cancer scare!”) or skimpy knickers (“Breast cancer shock!”) and even one of those titles is owned by a pornographer. I’m guaranteed amusement with a simple visit to the newsagent.

7. Especially so every second Wednesday. Hooray for Private Eye.

8. The nutters here are gloriously nutty. And the bastards are complete bastards. Life here seems richer and more colourful, from every crisis to every Christmas.

9. In most parts of Australia, the suburbs all melt into each other and if it weren’t for the road signs you would have no idea that you’d passed from one place to another. You’ve got to keep a sharp eye out for the creep of xenophobia, but I love living in a village. I especially adore the nooks and crannies; you can go for a short walk on a public footpath or bridleway, turn a corner and find yourself in a whole other place. It’s like magic sometimes. Having a few buildings here and there that are more than a couple of hundred years old adds to that.

10. Finally, I’m going to put you lot on the list. I’ve met a lot of nice people since I first arrived, but the very nicest of you take the time to read what I write. Cheers all.

About Tim Ireland

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