Bangkok Phil

Homesickness of sorts

40 things I miss about life in England

1) Standing outside Gregg's the Bakers eating a hot sausage roll with proper sausage meat in it
2) Fields of daffodils and spring lambs
3) A pint of bitter shandy at some isolated country pub
4) The phenomenal selection of quality microwave meals at Tesco Lotus
5) Driving through ten villages and knowing that each and every one will have its own identity
6) Church bells on a Sunday morning
7) The first frosty morning that's always good for the brussel sprouts
8) A lonely train station that sees barely six passengers a day and yet still manages to keep a guy in the ticket office under full employment
9) Elderly shop assistants in newsagents and off-licences who address you as 'my love' or 'lover'
10) Strawberry bon-bons, Jaffa Cakes, Jammy Dodgers and Wagon Wheels. Need I say more?

11) Pedestrian crossings that actually function as pedestrian crossings
12) Fleeting exchanges with fellow walkers and ramblers such as 'turned out nice again hasn't it?'
13) The football pools man
14) A 50p each-way bet in the local Ladbrokes and ripping up the slip as 'Lucky Jim' limps in half hour after every other horse
15) Shouting up a piece of plaice or haddock when you enter a fish and chip shop
16) The overwhelming cheerfulness of charity collectors as they shake their tins
17) The sound of leather against willow on the village green
18) Queuing at bus-stops and the general orderliness of public transportation
19) Bizarre craft shops that are run as purely a labor of love and sell bizarre nic-nacs that no one would ever buy
20) Off-the-peg trousers and jackets that actually fit the normal human being

21) Rummaging around in charity shops
22) Sunday morning football
23) Feeding the ducks
24) That unmistakable Sunday morning chorus of electric lawnmowers and hedge-clippers
25) A sandwich and a cappuccino from Pret-A-Manger
26) Sheltered harbors, fishing smacks, jaunty fisher-folk, the smell of sardines and shitloads of seagulls
27) The whole country coming to a standstill thanks to two inches of snow.
28) "Can you spare a pound for an old gypsy?"
29) The pride in wearing a poppy as Remembrance Sunday draws near
30) Getting invited to a wedding and deep down, actually quite looking forward to it

31) Front page newspaper photos of people eating ice-cream and splashing about in paddling pools just because the thermometer has gone above 68 Fahrenheit
32) Old people who still refer to things as 'four shillings and ha'penny' despite the UK going decimal almost 40 years ago
33) The laughable predictability of bank holiday traffic jams
34) Morris dancers
35) The English affection for its dogs
36) Stewed tea, burnt toast, lumpy mashed potato and tough steak
37) Car boot sales and Sunday markets - and having the audacity to ask the seller if they'd 'take fifty pence for it'
38) English fruit - strawberries, apples, plums and cherries - that look like shit, are in season for about 72 hours, but taste like no fruit you've ever tasted before.
39) Affordable cheap plonk (if only for cooking with)
40) Chinese and Indian take-aways on every single high street


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