Thursday, August 30, 2007


Telegraph Ex-Pat had this last week so I thought it might be interesting to try to refute it.

1. I missed the Polish plumber invasion of Britain, I’m afraid. Are they all hunky like the Polish builder in Alexander McCall Smith's The World According to Bertie [which I have just read]? Here you can usually find a local plumber / tecnico quite easily but, as with everything else in Italy but particularly in Sicily, it is better to contact someone your friends know of.
2. I’ve never done that walk. I’m not a countryside kind of person so I don’t miss scenery – except for parks in the middle of cities.
3. Barbecues traditionally take place here on Easter Monday and, as in Britain, it is usually the man of the house who plays with fire. Artichokes, sausages, lamb and steaks are barbecued.
4. You could not say that of most Italian TV schedules! News and current affairs analyses are good, though politicians won’t be grilled by the likes of a Paxman. One excellent programme a day is about all I can find, looking at the schedules of all the channels!
5. Can’t beat the Southbank! But we have our 2 glorious Cathedrals, San Pietro and San Giorgio to marvel at and an excellent Ethnographical Museum.
6. What’s rain?!
7. You dare not go out here without very high protection suncream on - all year round.
8. People here laugh when I tell them we have “drought” summers in Britain!
9, 10: Hate sport.
11. Can’t get a tikka masala of any sort here: spices are hard to find. They do sell one called “Curry” and you wouldn’t even have found that a few years ago. I either buy my spices in a “global” shop in Ragusa or get them sent out from Britain.
12. Haven't got "Skype" - it would be more technology [aargh!] and anyway I like writing to people - but meeting in the pub must be nice, now there's no smoking! [Waiting for Crushed and James to come over and be indignant now!]
13. Never travelled from Plymouth to Penzance but I miss the journey from Cardiff to Bath. But during a long bus journey between cities here you will see some stunning scenery.

14. I've never done camping and I never intend to - anywhere! All those spiders!
15. Oh, I don’t know: This has got to be pretty bonkers, in the most well-intentioned way!
16. International cuisine is definitely not part of the scene here, partly because a lot of people haven’t travelled and partly because the indigenous food is superb!
17. I clean up after my dog and people stop me and say I’m the only one who does! But many dog-owners never take their pets for a walk here, not because they're cruel but simply because they have a different attitude to domestic animals.
18. When I was about 10, my Dad took my friend and me on a trip to North Wales. I’m ashamed to say I spent the whole time reading my “Romeo” comic in the back of the car! Here we have the amazing views around Etna and, nearer, the Cava d’Ispica.
19. I haven’t seen many plays here, but there are a lot of concerts, both pop and classical. And now we have our restored Teatro Garibaldi in Modica, which is quite charming. At the beginning of the summer, you can go to see classical Greek plays being performed at the Teatro Greco in Siracusa. That's something everyone should do once in a lifetime!
20. Yes, we have toll roads here.
21. And how I miss raspberries! But other fruit makes up for that.
22. At least you get announcements regarding public transport delays in Britain: here the bus stops are not obvious, they change their location without telling you and when a bus doesn’t materialise, no one gets on their mobile to the bus company to ask, “Where is it?” What do they do? - Yes, utter “Pazienza”! [Bus links between cities are good - it's within Modica that I'm grumbling about!]
23. We have some of the cleanest beaches in Europe here.
24. Absolutely! I so miss Radio 4 as a background to my life! [Listening on the net is not the same.]
25. Never been Glasgow-Oban but there are many scenic drives or bus journeys, as I've said, here.
26. – Or the air conditioning that we now have in the Post Office here! It was so cool in there this morning that I could have sat there all day! - No, I take that back, having nearly having had to do that on some occasions! [It only took 10 minutes to post a lettter to the US today.]
27. Never been to the Edinburgh Festival. We have our Chocolate Festival and Sagre [festivals devoted to particular foods] but we could do with some more cultural ones.
28. Hate sport.
29. Desperately miss waking up with John Humphrys, so to speak. Again, hearing a politician not being let off the hook by an interviewer is a peculiarly British pleasure.
30. Moving to one of those places where you are surrounded by Brits would be my idea of a nightmare! What would be the point? !!


Tom Paine said...

Get Skype. Dead easy. If you can use a phone, you can use it. You can text message, talk or videocon. After Second Life (which you managed) it would be a breeze. And if we can get James sorted out with a broadband connection, we can have a Blogpower meeting by multi-videocon.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Ok, Tom, I will try!

Unknown said...

Hi i'm Paolo from Palermo .What was the weather like in Modica today???
We had another Scirocco hot wind this morning. I can't stand it anymore.

jmb said...

Welshcakes, Skype is easy. You need a pair of headphones with a microphone. I use it with a webcam so get a video picture as well. However the headphones Should be cheap enough. I haven't used the text message option but have used th other forms.

jmb said...

Oh I got sidetracked while commenting and meant to say that although this is a question and answer format it turned into a very good post.

Wolfie said...

Having lived in two European countries for extended periods I'd agree that there is little to miss about Britain, especially these days. My wife begs me to move to Spain every week and the only thing that stops me is the prospects of making a living there with my somewhat specialised skills.

Yes the only thing I ever missed at all was the telly but that has gone down-hill so much now that even that can be forgotten. The internet can fill the void there.

Lets face it, the standard of living in the UK is awful these days. Well done to you for escaping!

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi boys and family would be what I would miss about living in Britian...I don;t want to offend anyone...if any of you live in Bournemouth...but we have just spent one night there, and I would say the only good thing about it, was the beach...

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hello, Paolo. Nice to meet you. Very hot yesterday , 38 - 40 C and even hotter today. I feel the same! Thanks, jmb. I don't want people to be able to see me if I'm sitting here in dressing gown and rollers, though! I didn't quite know how the post would turn out when I started writing it but it sort of wrote itself in the end. Hi, Wolfie. Yes, judging by the output of BBC Prime here, I would think the standard of Brit TV has gone down. You are right about the internet filling the void. Hi, anne. I haven't been top Bournemouth since I was a child so I don't remember it.

Siciliamo said...

Hi WL,
V.interesting topic.
I guess it really depends on how much people are willing to experience a big cultural change.
As a Sicilian, married with an Aussie (ex UK resident) things have been a little complicated. I mean, for my husband moving to a country where English is not widely spoken or where customs and day to day life are very different to what he was used to, it meant total mayham in getting even the simplest task completed.
Once we settled in and had built our circle of friends, we finally enjoyed the beauty of our new (not so new for myself) relocation!
Now that we live in Switzerland, we miss Sicily very much. So much that try to fly down almost every second weekend. Ironically, after getting used to the so-called Sicilian laid back-lazy attitude, we now feel so misplaced in Switzerland!
I guess it's all a matter of being adaptable, challenge-seeking people with a broader perspective.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Siciliamo. Thank you for this interesting comment. Yes, I can imagine life in Switzerland has a very different pace to that in Sicily and that now you must miss the latter. I agree totally that you have to be up for new experiences to make this kind of change succeed - and be willing to celebrate all that is good in the new culture.


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