Summer spoils us with great choices of fresh flowers -…
Believe it or not there are still many things I cannot get used to in England. Let’s have a look at them:
1) Christmas preparations
Christmas is a big business here. Alright, maybe it wasn’t last year due to covid but under normal circumstances it is. What I mean by that is that pubs and restaurants start to send their newsletters about booking your table for Christmas by the end of August. And if you’d like to have a meal in a pub or restaurant at Christmas, you’d better book your table. The sooner the better otherwise you won’t be able to get one by November.
After that it might not be such a big surprise that Christmas lights are switched on around mid November in towns and villages. To my mind Christmas lights should be switched on on the first Sunday of Advent…
Another recent craze triggered by social media, especially Instagram is to have your Christmas tree up and fully decorated by 1st December so that you can post it on social media several times during December. Logical right? This is far too early even for Bill who believes the tree should be put up 12 days before Christmas and taken down 12 days after Christmas as per tradition. For me even the 12 days before is too early. The excitment building and waiting means the ambience is lost if the tree is put up earlier than Christmas Eve…
2) Christmas Sales
Every Christmassy food disappears straight after Christmas in big supermarkets. It’s so weird it feels like Christmas never existed. This is strange because in my home country, Hungary you can still buy Christmassy things after Christmas avoiding food going to waste. Cakes, chocolate, different dishes and ingredients – still available until they are sold out.
3) Easter eggs
Straight after Christmas or latest on 1st January the Easter eggs are sitting on the shelves at Tesco’s waiting to be bought (and they are!). For God’s sake we haven’t even got rid of the Christmas excess but we are forced to buy chocolate just because Easter is on the horizon. What a nonsense, but people buy Easter eggs even in January… I have one question though… Those Easter eggs on the shelves in January… are they from last year or a fresh production..?
Just like your Christmas tree is expected to be ready by 1st December to post it on social media, Spring arrives in the UK on 1st January. People flood their homes with daffodils and hyacinths and other flowers available at supermarkets by the beginning of January. For me this seems to be impatient and it feels like supermarkets push people to buy things earlier than they should. Don’t get me wrong I’m too looking forward to spring, but everything has the right time…
I haven’t seen any ‘proper’ butchers in England. In my home country, in Hungary nothing goes to waste and cheaper parts of poultry, beef and pork can be bought. You can by the back, leg, neck of the chicken as well as offal and even the head for cats. You can buy ears, tails, trotters, tongue, marrow and tripe etc. Never seen any in this country, not even in the countryside. But that’s fine, different times… What’s more disappointing is that meat is packed in plastic. What a waste! What’s wrong with packing meat in a paper sheet? Luckily I’ve seen people bringing their reusable plastic boxes to shops and getting their meat or fish from the counter.
6) Cervical cancer test
Let me emphasise especially after a year that the whole world has gone through, I have no intention to criticise the NHS. They’ve done an amazing job during Covid. However, the frequency of cervical cancer test was 3 years even before covid. It’s beyond me. Honestly it is. In other countries in Europe even teenage girls are encouraged to have a test every year. Yearly tests can save lives. So why have it every 3 years only…?
7) Walking on the road
Something completely illogical to me. 🙂 In Hungary we walk on the same side of the road in which the traffic goes. In the UK it’s the other way round and you are supposed to walk on the side of the oncoming traffic. When I asked Bill what’s the logic is behind it, he couldn’t say any other than that that’s how it is. I don’t understand to be honest… What is the difference between a cyclist and a walker? they all head to the same direction… Anyway, if you didn’t know on which side of the road you are supposed to walk in the UK, now you know.
I have already written about the oddities of English houses before. Since I’ve noticed another one which is still strange for me. While on the continent you can easily unhook or disconnect doors from the hinges, in the UK it’s not possible and you have to unscrew the whole hinge.
9) Walnut in shell
Walnuts in shell are only available before and during Christmas. Not quite sure why… Of course I understand that here walnuts in shell are more part of the Christmas decoration rather than for consumption. This is strange to me because I’m used to being able to get hold of walnuts in shell all year round.
So that’s it. Are there any things you still can’t get used in England?