It has been a pleasant week. Back England today. Goodbye La Clusaz for now:
At Swiss border control at Geneva Airport yesterday, I ended up within earshot of a “middle aged” American woman as I heard her explaining herself to the border agent. Apparently he had questioned her as to why she was in Switzerland. She stumbled a bit over words as she replied that she was here for a week’s vacation and lived in London.
Before she even said “London,” I’d had a feeling that was her “home.” For years I’ve heard her “accent” on most Americans long-resident here. The exception seems to be if they hail from the Deep South: that American accent seems to take a little longer to “Anglicize.”
We were in Chipping Sodbury earlier. Just prior to sunset (about 4:30), I grabbed this photo of the parish church:
I try to avoid acting too much like an American. I’ve been here for over 16 years, and I want to be a British citizen someday. Yet I admit I still do have an occasional “silly” moment….
Hello again! We were supposed to fly back to the UK from Newark, New Jersey, on Friday evening. “Supposed to” being the operative expression. But you never know when you’re flying.
We’ve settled into a daily routine of helping look after my cancer-stricken mother. Unless something goes amiss, the days are now pretty predictable. But when something does go awry, it can create minor panic.
Yesterday, when Mom’s oxygen was inexplicably not flowing, my father started to “lose it.” I had to step in and reassure him, “Easy. Let’s check it carefully….” All the lights were on indicating correct functionality.
It turned out the line had been loose at the connection on the machine.
* * *
In other tech news, naturally the four year old (that’s right, four) G.E. dishwasher gave up about three weeks ago – before we got here and before her cancer diagnosis. $450 to fix, minimum, the repair guy said; better to buy a new one. “We call G.E. short for ‘generally expensive,'” he added.
Visiting my parents is at times like stepping back into a slower, simpler time. They prefer to use cash. They still write checks. They still do bills by mail.
While they do occasionally buy from Amazon and other online retailers, when it comes to MAJOR APPLIANCES they still go pretty traditional. At least my father does. I’d tried to help him buy a new dishwasher online, but he insisted on going to “old reliable” in person for a replacement.
Oh, my. And then it began.
A very serious post to start the week. At a U.K. family get-together over the weekend, I witnessed (yet again) an ugly Irish chauvinism and excuse-making for Ireland’s “neutrality” during the Second World War. It had come up amidst chatter in “taking sides” during Saturday’s Rugby World Cup match between Wales and England, which was playing on the TV in the background.
Rooting for Wales, the London-born person of Irish descent declared snidely, “We’ve always fought the English.” That is the core position that underscores everything. If that was all, I could have lived with it.
It wasn’t. What followed was a descent into a Celtic supremacist blathering that drifted into bordering on pro-Nazi – in terms of Irish residents in England having been drafted to fight the Nazis when they were Irish not British…. and the British had been horrible to the Irish over the centuries (like no one knows that?), but the Germans, well….
When I first read a few days ago about what she had “joked” about, I knew immediately she would have to walk back the comments. And she did:
That Guardian piece also notes:
She joked that British people tend to look down on Americans….
I find it really irritating that she “joked” about that on U.S. national TV’s Jimmy Kimmel, because millions of Americans will take what she says as “lightheartedly” accurate. True, no one ever knows what people say about you behind your back. However, I can say that I have not experienced a sense of being “looked down on” by British people.
Whew. Done. We’re entirely moved out of the Trowbridge house.
Our UK worldly possessions are now mostly in a storage facility near Bristol. (Where we had thought we would be moving. We were wrong.) This morning, we’re at friends’ in Bath (who’ve lent us their place while they are on holiday). Later, we drive to London to visit with my in-laws for a week or so.
This latest move got me recalling all of the moves over the years.
Let’s see, our first UK home post-marriage was in pretty Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire.