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British Expat Newsletter:
24 March 2004

Hello, and welcome to those who have joined up since our last newsletter.

In this issue

  • This week: Clarkie digs for victory
  • Virtual Snacks
  • Sponsor
  • Bizarre Searches
  • Joke and quotation

This week

BE influences government departments! Well, Clarkie had a small victory anyway and is justifiably chuffed.

A couple of months back our gardening columnist, Mike Clark, was asked by one of his many fans what the situation was regarding taking potted plants from one EU country into another. Naturally, he went straight to the website of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to get the information from the horse’s mouth. Unfortunately, getting it proved to be like drawing teeth (from a particularly awkward horse, at that). Not so much because navigating round the site was so difficult, as because the information provided was inadequate and, in places, apparently self-contradicting.

Undaunted, he tried HM Customs & Excise. They seemed to be interested only in people trying to smuggle in cannabis plants, or in making those who bring in non-food plants pay VAT on them. Even the Scottish Executive let him down – a search for “plant” threw up pages on fish processing, abattoirs and building sites.

A request to Mike’s local MSP for help in getting some kind of a sensible answer got a one-line (and incoherent) response: “i’ll try. Can you advise here you currently reside?”

And that appeared to be it. Until, just yesterday, Mike got a reply from the Department of Plants, Horticulture and Potatoes (honest!) setting out the position – it’s OK to move any plant material around the EU as long as it’s for personal use. Even better, they promised to review the webpage and add clarification.


Meanwhile, here in Delhi it’s started to warm up (in the high thirties this week, or nineties if you’d rather) and my tomatoes are looking good. It’ll only be a few weeks till we’re eating homegrown tomato and rocket salad. Assuming the rocket lasts that long. I was also pleasantly surprised to find a small aubergine growing on a hitherto unrecognised plant.

So, what are you growing, if anything? If you’d rather partake in some armchair gardening, have a look at our Clark In The Park column – it’s great, even for those who don’t want to get their hands dirty.
Clark in the Park

Virtual Snacks

Just a couple of suggestions if you have a little time to spare:

If, like everyone else on the planet with an email address, you’ve received promises of wealth beyond your wildest dreams courtesy of an African state bank official or the widow of a deposed dictator, you might get a chuckle from Scam o Rama. Plenty of info and advice on how to deal with the scammers, plus some good laughs – we particularly liked the Sarcastic FAQs!

No doubt many of you will be familiar with National Geographic, either from satellite TV or from the well-known magazines. But their website is well worth a look too. Obviously page loading speeds might be a problem for those with particularly slow connections, but we managed pretty well with ours at 45kbps – and you can download some fantastic photos if you fancy a change of wallpaper:
National Geographic

Bizarre Searches

Some strange search terms which have led people to visit British Expat recently:

  • how to please a man with kinkiness (32) (yes, that one again!)
  • japanese chefs (12)
  • email address of dept social security pensions overseas benefits directorate newcastle upon tyne england ne98 1ba (6)
  • jesus s lifestyle (2)
  • New York Christmas special deals (2) (how’s that for forward planning!)
  • exciting hobby (2)
  • john noakes shep died (2)
  • the one with the male nanny lesson plan (2)
  • how are british newspapers coloured (2)
  • angry cats (2)

Till next time…
Happy surfing!

British Expat Magazine


“May all your weeds be wildflowers.”
– Unknown


Confucius he say: Man with no front garden look forlorn.

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