As a current short-timer, I am counting the weeks until departure from England. Beginning to peel away from a few stale friendships while also already missing some dear ones. Knowing the hardness of leaving a peculiar, unrepeatable location and time forever, self-preservation directs one to exaggerate every bad aspect of a lovely place in the last months and weeks. This leads to fixations on:

Poor local manners. English reserve is not a virtue. Smiling (or even nodding) at your neighbor of three years will not kill you.

High taxes. When grown men buy sweaters/jumpers in the boys’ department to save on VAT there is a problem.

Bad weather. Cold, drafty, damp. Inept attempts at clearing paths of snow (Heard of a snow-shovel? Pouring boiling water from your kettle on the path will just turn to black ice).

Bad driving. Damn “white van man.’

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