Ave Angliae Mater!

Ave Angliae Mater

Well here I am. Home. I am officially home. I am now neither Homesick nor Heatstruck (Any ideas for a new blog name, folks? Answers on the back of a postcard…). I am not permitted to complain about the British weather in any way ever again – either directly or implicitly – for the rest of my life (this is apparently a proper legal condition for expats returning from sunny climes, according to my husband). I have had a wonderful time clothes shopping – buying woolly tights, scarves, brushed-cotton pyjamas and winter boots. I have consumed pub lunches and craft beers and tea & cake and fish & chips aplenty.

Fish and chips on Whitstable beach

Fish and chips on Whitstable beach

It is utterly bloody wonderful to be home and to be settling back into normal life. I have a very nice job and, although I don’t as yet have somewhere permanent to live, I am very much enjoying being a frightful burden to my family. I am currently (and this is no word of a lie) sitting beside a blazing log fire in my parents’ sitting room, while my mother plays Sailing By on the piano and my father offers to bring me a glass of sherry. I have just been for a glorious autumnal walk in the fields near our house and my cheeks are all appley with the sunshine and the crisp, cold breeze. Heaven.

I’ve only had one wobble so far and that was when I was trying to make my way down a flooded footpath in driving rain in the dark with an umbrella that had all the structural integrity of a Pound Shop artificial Christmas tree. That was a bit of a ‘Well, this wouldn’t happen in Dubai…’ moment, but it wasn’t long before I was home and dry and blissfully cosy in my new brushed-cotton pyjamas and all was well with the world once more.

Talking of umbrellas, I have discovered that I’m not very good with them. We have really needed umbrellas here in the South East in the last couple of weeks; the rain has been BIBLICAL. [Note to lawyer – I am not complaining about the weather, I promise, this is a simple statement of fact.] But umbrellas do not like me. I am the opposite of an Umbrella Whisperer; I am their thrice cursèd nemesis. Umbrellas turn inside out if I so much as look at them. As soon as I buy one, it immediately starts plotting its desperate escape. The other day I owned an umbrella for fourteen minutes – fourteen minutes – before losing it.

Lovely Kentish apples

Lovely Kentish apples

So, other than the astonishing amount of autumn rainfall (climate change, no doubt), what else has changed in five years? Well, I’ll tell you the three main things I’ve noticed so far…

1. The telly has got seriously crap. Significantly worse than it was five years ago. Honestly. With the exception of a few beautifully made high-budget dramas (loving the BBC’s Sunday night literary adaptations) just about everything is cheap-as-chips reality drivel. Wall-to-wall singing and dancing and cooking and dining and wife-swapping and antiques-shopping, and, no, Greg Wallace, I don’t care that this family of half-wits could have got their weekly tonne of pork mince 73p cheaper if they’d gone to effing Lidl. I really, really DO NOT CARE.

2. The viruses have mutated into something monstrous. I have caught two colds since arriving home. The second one nearly did for me. It went to my chest, my ears, my larynx, my eyes – have you ever had a cold in your eyes? It is horrific. My immune system may have hardened itself to MERS and all manner of terrifying exotic diseases, but the English Common Cold has vanquished me. Much like our national rugby team it truly is a contender on the world stage. [What’s that you say? Really? To Wales? Oh bloody hell…]

3. The roads are now nothing but pot holes. We’re basically all driving around on roughly cut slabs of tarmacadam-Swiss-cheese. Lord knows what the overall cost of damage has been to the suspension / wheel alignment of the nation’s vehicles. I nearly got whiplash the other day swerving around a cyclist who was swerving around a pot hole, resulting in me driving straight into another, even bigger, pot hole.

Other than these things I can assure you that, whatever the newspapers may try to tell you, everything else is pretty much fine and exactly as it was when I left. Except of course that Canterbury now has a branch of Mole Country Stores (opened by John Craven, no less). And a few extra restaurants. Ooh – and a new Curzon cinema – that’s particularly nice.

Righto, better be cracking on then. Busy busy. Time to top up that schooner of sherry and chuck another log on the fire – it’s ‘Cider with Rosie’ on BBC1 in a bit, and if I’m quick I might just catch the last fifteen minutes of ‘Strictly Bargain Hunt Your Way to a Cheap and Nasty Lasagne’ first…

fire

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28 Comments

  1. Welcome home!
    How about ‘Home fires and hearth stuck’ 😉

    • LOVE it!!! Genius! Thank you, BerLinda! 🙂

      • Let me know what you choose in the end 🙂

  2. Welcome home! So happy for you. 🙂

  3. Rick

    Really, really wonderful to have you back here, where you belong…….. and bringing your humour with you as well……the cup overflows….. Sorry about the nasty diseases we’ve developed in your absence……as for the tele….. why do you think we watch so many boxed sets of crime/detective/who dun-it films from the 70s, 80s and 90s?

    • Boxed sets are DEFINITELY the way forward! Xxx

  4. I loved your last sentence!
    Nice too, to be coddled by parents for a while as you adjust.
    And yes, the T.V. is just dreadful….unreal reality shows wherever you turn.

    • Thanks Helen – hope all is well with you! Am very much enjoying being coddled – just what the doctor ordered after all those shocking viruses!

  5. Pot holes are really quite phenomenal these days, I’m guessing it’s down to a bizarrely cold winter a few years back (it got down to -24 up here in Scotland) and then councils not having any money to repair all the cracks. The cracks up and down the country are now gorges that can swallow a whole cyclist. Welcome home!

    • Thank you, Lucy – so wonderful to be back! Think you’re right about the source of the potholes…-24???!!! Blimey… I’m going to need some more woolly tights… 😀

  6. Congrats on being home! Sounds glorious. I have very much enjoyed repatriation too. I have had a cold spread to my eyes!! It was terrible and I looked like I had been possessed by evil spirits with my red eyes. I hope that’s the end of the illnesses for you. I did ok but my kids had a really difficult time with the new bugs. 4 trips to the ER and countless trips to the doctor in 1 year. Def the worst part of moving home.

    • Thank you Lynda! Hoping my immune system catches up soon!! 🙂

  7. rmcarlysle

    Welcome back comrade! Loved the observations as ever

    • Thank you! SO happy to be back!! Looking forward to reading about your latest adventures soon 🙂

  8. Not a gypsy... Honest!

    The first thing I’m going to do when I get home at Christmas is rub my face in a pile of fish’n’chips! 🙂 I’m glad you’ve settled back in. x

  9. Ah, I am feeling homesick for Scotland now with all your wonderful descriptions of autumnal weather, British TV, and wooly clothes! Great post!

  10. Thank You!

  11. anon

    Do you miss anybody from dubai in your school?

    • Of course – I miss lots of people! It’s still lovely being home, though 🙂

  12. Eugenia

    Please keep the blog name for those left behind! Apparently, whenever i feel soooo frustrated i would type homesickandheatstruck very fast and i get a hug, now that you moved back home your blog has become even so much more warming and hopeful 🙂

    • Glad to hear it, Eugenia! Keep the faith 🙂

  13. RB

    Hi Lucy. What a wonderful (and popular) blog- found you on the Dubai expats blog list. Here is a column of how i found Dubai entitled — Dubai- Big Money, No Soul – Oil, High Priced Shopping + a Premium on Women
    Anyways thanks for your blog 🙂

    • Thank you! Really enjoyed reading your piece on Dubai. It certainly addressed some of the things that always bothered me about the place… 🙂

  14. How are you enjoying the UK?
    Are you missing the sand pit?

  15. I really enjoyed your posts from Dubai having related to the way you felt about living there even though it’s a lifetime since my experience of life in Dubai. Congratulations on your book, I just saw it featured as one of Waterstones ‘Books of the Month’

    • Thank you! Yes – it’s having a fantastic start over here! I wrote most of the first draft while living in Dubai; it was certainly part of the homesickness therapy! Hope all is well with you and your adventures x

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Lucy Strange

Children's Author

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