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Expat Sat: Lyn from Australia

October 17, 2009


When did you move to the UK and why?

5 March 1995. I needed to validate my ancestry visa with entry by 6 March and was too old to get a working holiday visa. I’d just spent an unexpected winter on a Greek island (don’t get too excited, few people, very cold and damp) and desperately needed to refill the coffers. The original plan was a month in Greece, Christmas in Paris, New Year in Amsterdam, stop off in the UK to start the visa then live and work in Ireland, then go home. Things change.

What was your first weird experience?

Hmm. So long the chronology is warped. Just a few to choose from:

Using the banking system. Everybody just used cheques (all bar phased out at home), there was only one computer for all the tellers in the bank and they had to phone your branch for permission to withdraw cash without a cheque (and they charged you for the pleasure).

Complete separation of work and home by colleagues. Was used to making friends at work.

Realising the jokes about the English not washing weren’t a joke! Wanting to shower every day was seen as slightly unusual and no shared houses I looked at had showers. Actually put in a couple in a few of them.

People using a plastic “washing up bowl” inside the metal sinks and nobody could explain why they did it other than that was how their mum did it.

Being served both roast AND boiled potatoes with a roast meal.

Passing famous faces in the street and walking into the shared house in Chiswick to see the Lieutenant from Dr Who (Tom Baker era) sitting at the dining table having a cup of tea.

What do you miss the most about home?

My daddy. Family and friends. The willingness of people to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger just for the hell of making short term contact with another human being – not just because the tube broke down between stations for 40 minutes. Peoples’ pride in their country. Non-Kenyan Milo. And the food. God, the food!

You currently live in Worcestershire and originally from Orange. How do the two countrysides compare?

Orange has more vineyards and eucalyptus, otherwise they’re both beautiful and I love ’em.

Who are your fave English bands/ writers?

Virginia Woolf, Spike Milligan, Amy Winehouse, Frank Turner

Which B grade British celebrity do you love to hate?

Jordon/Katie Price she behaves like a bi-polar bear

Finish these sentences

The best things about the UK are … my friends, hedgehogs, The Goons, Flat-coated retrievers, bookshops, Stephen Fry, a television channel named Dave

The best thing to come out of England is … my grandparents

The next prime minister of England should be … a foreigner

Boris Johnson is … fuzzy – in so many ways

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Chris permalink
    October 19, 2009 10:34 pm

    I couldn’t understand why poms used plastic bowls inside their sinks when I first visited the UK about 30 years ago. And on our recent trip some still do it, even those with double sinks. Preferring to wash up in a slimy plastic bucket to a nice clean stainless steel sink? I call that weird.

  2. Irate English person permalink
    October 19, 2009 10:48 pm

    What you said about banks are a load of bollocks. Work situations, i.e friends etc also bollocks. As for English are dirty, not washing dail;y or showering also bollocks. Does that also go for Scots, Welsh and Irish also? In fact everything you say is bollocks. So I have an idea, go back to shitty Australia with all your poisonous spiders, snakes etc. Enjoy your sun, sea and sand and stay the fuck out the U.k. Better still why don’t all aussies who think they know everything, but know nothing go back as well.

    • October 20, 2009 10:32 am

      Dear Irate English person,

      Sorry to hear that you are so offended. This blog is written in a tongue in cheek style by people who admire and love being in England. It’s just that declaring my love for the UK in soppy words isn’t as fun as having a bit of tease and piss take. Which is one way both British and Australians show that they like something, by making fun of it.

      I must make something clear, Lyn wasn’t insinuating that the English are dirty, rather making a point that houses in England tend to have baths over showers. Australians are more used to showers. Part of this is due to the drought and the fact that we try to save as much water as possible.

      You’re right that I don’t know everything. I’ve just based this blog on my personal experiences. And maybe you’re right that this blog is bollocks but I guess that’s the beauty of a blog, that it is an opinion and by no means fact.

      Again, sorry for any offense caused.

  3. Deej - good humoured English person permalink
    October 20, 2009 8:33 pm

    Well, what a terrible shame that ‘Irate English person’ has abreacted what appears to be an enormous pent up frustration in such an artless and unpleasant way. Let me apologise for my compatriot not only using a frightfully aggressive tone in response to a clearly light-hearted piece, but also using appalling grammar and punctuation when doing so.

    Looking beyond the fulmination and foul language, I would suggest that ‘Irate’ could better put over these points by saying:

    “What you said about banks IS a load of bollocks”, not ARE a load of bollocks.

    “Work situations, E.G. friends, etc, is also bollocks” – not i.e. – e.g. means example given; i.e. is an abbreviation of “id est”… This is Latin and means ‘that is’. Used correctly, this itself communicates the notion ‘that is to say’ or ‘in other words…’

    “U.k.” as any patriot would know, no matter how irate, is short for United Kingdom and requires a capital ‘K’ as well as a capital ‘U’.

    Need I also point out that there is no requirement for a semi-colon to appear in the word ‘daily’ and that some English are, in fact, a little on the dirty side? Surely not the latter, as this is undoubtedly the case in areas where standards have slipped and foul language and an aggressive tone are quite common…

    Speaking of quite common, let me finally say to ‘Irate’ that I very much fear that all the perfectly amiable, jovial and good humoured Australians going home would almost certainly prevent people getting prompt, cordial service in a great many of our bars, pubs and clubs! So be careful what you wish for, ‘Irate’ – I sense you are not a teetotaller… Forgive this person, my Antipodean chums, and stay!

  4. Lynette permalink
    October 22, 2009 8:51 pm

    Dear Irate English Person,

    It would appear your literacy skills really are lacking.

    First line “5 March 1995”, a whole 14 years ago so some things have changed but I was talking about MY first weird experiences. These situations actually occurred. In England.

    At no point did I say the English were dirty. I said that the English saw washing daily and especially showering (14 years ago) as unusual. Again, the experience was in England.

    As for geography, Australia is an island and there is a large part of that land that does not have sea and sand. For example, where I come from.

    Final point: Ireland is not part of the UK.

    I hope this has helped further your education.

    Love and Kisses

    PS. We love the poisonous creatures, they keep the poisonous people away

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