Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Reader Mail, Part Deux

Thank you, kind readers, for your questions. As my first round elicited a second, I shall not disappoint the gentle writer, even though we clearly cannot agree on fruit tea.

Jamie said...
If I may enter into the fruit tea conversation, I agree with Chumley. My
Southern parents would contend that "fruit tea" (said through clenched teeth) is not REAL tea. Tea should taste like tea, and not fruit or syrup or anything of the like.

Yes, so others side with Chumley. He's probably contacted you and crossed your palms with some real tea in exchange for a sound fruit tea bashing. I digress...

My questions, based on my time in Europe:

1. Do you have screens on the windows?

Alas, no. From all formal and informal research I have done (impromptu window inspections at the houses of UK friends and relatives, squinting at the local windows while whizzing past in the car), no one does. When people ask me what I miss about the States, my thoughts tend to turn to hardware. Window screens are right up there. It isn't as though England is magically bug-free, although the bug population seems fewer. Fresh air at the cost of chasing flying insects all over the house is almost not worth it to me. Chumley feels free to open all windows and doors with abandon, but if you've never lived with screens, you are used to this depraved existence. I have chased three bees out of the house in one day, not to mention the countless moths that taunt me out the bathroom window at night. I really think a magpie might decide to have an adventure and fly into the kitchen one day. Now I know why this is the country of "Little Miss Muffet" - I've never killed so many spiders. Egads. This situation really is a sleeping humanitarian crisis.

2. What is reason for the incredible European Screen Shortage? Is the E.U. helping to distribute necessary screens?

That's just it, dear reader. I don't think anyone on the island senses the necessity. Why, I have no idea. The E.U. has mandated that anyone coloring their hair go for a patch test, and that only flourescent lightbulbs may be sold from now on, but I am unaware of any Screen Directive. I will have to contact my local MEP (Member of European Parliament). I may be less than persuasive in that I can't vote. In the meantime, I could drape our bed in mosquito netting and tell Chumley I'm trying out an East India Trading Company decorating theme, but I don't think he'd get it. He might drink a gin and tonic if I offered it, though. I'm quite sure a pith helmet would be too much to ask. Lamb Rogan Josh for dinner would suit him fine.

3. What is a visit to the doctor like? I have heard that it is necessary to
bring several days' rations with you. (Although that is not much different
from here.)

I will have to save this question for the future, as I have not needed one yet. I can't say that I'm looking forward to it, but does anyone in any country?

4. Is it refreshing to live in a country that does not enjoy Nickelback?

Indeed, it is. I have yet to hear this band hit the UK airwaves, although I'm sure they're out there somewhere. I'm glad to know it wasn't just Chumley that thought some FM radio stations back home had thrown out their format and become "The Nickelback Channel." Just when you think I'm cheese free (which never occurs -- it's England), Bananarama has reunited and is making the rounds of the morning chat shows. Get out the hair gel!

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