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Cindy's ramblings, England

Politically Speaking…

Week two has passed and we are out of survival mode and into day-to-day mode.  The good news is we actually have satellite installed in the flat! Funny, but now that we have hundreds of channels I still navigate toward American re-runs of “Friends” and “Desperate Housewives”.  The difference being I no longer have to watch the same episode four times during the same day! 

Much like state workers back home, it requires two people to handle the job of one!  One man did all the dirty work to set up the satellite while his partner opened the receiver box and spent the rest of the time telling me about his trip to New York three years ago and an upcoming visit to Atlanta to visit his aunt.  Everyone has a story about the US when they find out that is where I’m from.  No one seems to know where Minnesota is – but do confuse me with Canadians every once in a while.  One person recalled there is a “big mall” there but for the most part I could be from Idaho, Oklahoma or Ohio.  As long as I can speak to the wonders of New York, Florida and California I’m fine! 

Speaking of TV (in a roundabout way that is)…Every person who owns a TV in England must pay an annual TV license fee of approximately $280 to support the BBC, whether they watch BBC programming or not.  Evidently the person living in our flat before us managed to avoid paying the fee; however, we got the “we have the right to suspend your viewing rights if you don’t pay” letter since it was the fifth notice sent to the property.  Thankfully the fees were handled by the relocation company handling our move.  I would be a bit ornery if they took my TV away…especially since I won’t have internet for another MONTH!!!

Changing directions a bit…

After our satellite box was installed the only channels we had available for four hours were BBC1 and BBC2.  I watched BBC Politics and was fascinated!  I happened to hear a live PNQ (or P & Q – still struggle with the accent and terminology around here).  Basically elected government officials were given opportunity to make comments or direct questions to the Prime Minister.  Questions ranged from changes to the National Health System, budget reductions within the Police departments, unemployment to the ouster of the Security Minister who made a comment earlier in the day that incensed a whole lot of people!  The “Michelle Bachman” moment belonged to an elected official (my way of saying, I have no clue what their titles are) who asked the Prime Minister to change the route of the Olympic Torch so it passed through her constituency’s communities…huh??????  What was fascinating to me was how polite and respectful everyone was.  Even the most heated exchanges were surprisingly carried out in an adult fashion – with no racist, sexist or religious undertones and no requests for birth certificates and college transcripts.  How delightfully refreshing!!!  The issues facing Britain are parallel to those battles being waged in the US, just debated with much more civil rhetoric.   President Obama is scheduled (pronounced shed-duled) for a visit next week.  I can’t wait to read the papers and watch local coverage.  Nothing like unbiased reporting!!  Will keep you posted!  FYI…did you know the Queen is visiting Ireland for the first time in 111 years!  Big news here!

No big plans for the weekend.  May venture out to see the countryside.  The more miles I put in behind the right side-wheel of the BMW (sounds so rich doesn’t it) the better off I will be.  Besides there are at least one or 300 castles I should stop and see!

…and finally

Translation of the day:

Hi ya and bye ya (hello and good-bye)

“Hi ya.  You ok”?  “Fine, thanks and you”?  “Bye ya”!

Until next time….Cheers!!

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Words of Wisdom

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. - John F. Kennedy
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