Hello, and welcome to those who have joined up since our last newsletter.
In this issue
- This week: Back to Blighty
- Virtual Snacks
- Bizarre Searches
- Joke and quotation
This might be the last newsletter for a couple of weeks, as we’re heading back to the UK to take care of various bits of business.
Some people think of the UK as home, even after a lifetime spent living overseas. Maybe you’re one of those people. A lot of our pals seem to spend their lives shuttling between the UK and Thailand – some of them work all the hours they can while in the UK, stay at home in the evenings and live on the bare minimum to save up all the money they can, then come over to Thailand and have a great time for as long as the money lasts. But in the end they regard the UK as their home. Others have made the break and have built a new life for themselves in their new home country – the UK holds little or no interest for them now. As far as I’m concerned, home is wherever I happen to be living at the time. Even if it’s a tent in Northern Iraq!
In November 2001, a few months after we’d arrived in New Delhi, Dave had to return to the UK on business for a week. Many of our pals in Delhi assumed that I’d be going back “home” with him and were quite shocked when I told them I had no intention of returning to that cold, expensive country. After all, I’d spent more than four years struggling to get out of it after Dave’s previous posting had come to an end and we were forced to move to London. So when we get to Gatwick early next week, it’ll be the first time I’ve set foot in the UK in nearly four years.
Part of my reluctance is because of the stress of long-haul flying. I don’t mind the flying itself so much; it’s the enforced nicotine deprivation for hours on end. I didn’t even like flying the relatively short hop from Delhi to Bangkok, and that was only 3¾ hours. Whatever the manufacturers claim, Nicorette is no substitute for a fag. At least we get a break halfway through – I don’t think I could have managed the 13-hour direct haul from Bangkok to Gatwick without a gasper!
(You can read more about smoking and airlines in Phil McCollum’s article, written in the days when some airlines still allowed smoking.)
But the main reason is that it’s just somewhere I don’t have any great reason to visit any more. Sure, I’ll make the most of it while I’m there. We’ve had several invitations from friends – long-established ones such as BE’s columnist Mike Clark, as well as new ones we’ve met here in Thailand who happen to be in the UK while we’re there – and there are some things we’ll enjoy doing while we have the opportunity, like drinking proper beer and visiting our local market.
It’ll be interesting to see how the old places have changed in the last four years – and what new technology’s been introduced. I’ll never forget the time I was about to write a cheque in Sainsbury’s and the woman at the checkout took the cheque off me before I’d even filled anything in. I was about to protest that I’d had no chance to write the cheque when I saw that it was all being printed out by machine – all I had to do was sign! Having spent the previous eight years in Pakistan, Kurdistan and Bangladesh, I’d never seen anything like it before.
Even so, I’d be happier going back to the glorified beach hut. The sooner we can get our stuff done, the better…
The Environment Agency in England & Wales gives a good guide to how safe your home is from flooding, disturbance from landfill, subsidence – all the kinds of thing you’d probably rather not know about when you’re thousands of miles away, but feel you should check on…
For Scotland, the site to visit is:
And for Northern Ireland:
Some strange search terms which have led people to visit British Expat recently:
- rich mens email address in pakistan
- compare texas and france
- chastity belt history great britain
- cat diamante collars
- water on floor from shower
- ice damage skyrocket junipers
- louisiana big cockroaches
- definition of xylocarp
- how many smurfs were there
- india temple sex
- paper sculpture vegetable
- electric shock sex
Till next time…
British Expat Magazine
“Home is made for coming from, for dreams of going to
Which with any luck will never come true”
from “I Was Born Under A Wandrin’ Star”, sung by Lee Marvin (1924-87)
A man stumbles up to the only other patron in a bar and asks if he can buy him a drink.
“Why, of course”, comes the reply.
The first man then asks: “Where are you from?”
“I’m from Scotland,” replies the second man.
The first man responds: “You don’t say, I’m from Scotland too! Let’s have another round to Scotland.”
“Of course,” replies the second man.
Curious, the first man then asks: “Where in Scotland are you from?”
“Stonehaven,” comes the reply.
“I can’t believe it,” says the first man. “I’m from Stonehaven too! Let’s have another drink to Stonehaven.”
“Of course,” replies the second man.
Curiosity again strikes and the first man asks: “What university did you go to?”
“Edinburgh”, replies the second man. “I graduated in ’82.”
“This is unbelievable!”, the first man says. “I went to THE University and graduated in ’82, too! Let’s have another one for THE University.”
About that time in comes one of the regulars and sits down at the bar. “What’s been going on?” he asks the barman.
“Nothing much,” replies the barman. “The MacGregor twins are drunk again.”