Tuesday, 18 August 2009

A parallel England

I have to admit that most of my impressions regarding the "state of the nation" of my homeland have come from the internet, and specifically, the UK media, since I've lived over here. Maybe it's part of a justification that the grass isn't really greener, but I had built up a picture of "Brown's Broken Britain" deep in recession-depression, where a CCTV can steal your identity in a flash, where children don't dare venture outside the door for fear of road-rage paedophiles, where the whole nation is caught up in swine-flu paranoia and everyone is Twittering while the country goes steadily down the drain.

Having just got off the boat after two weeks' holiday in England, I have to say that the reality that I experienced was different and hooray for that! OK, I expect that most of the people I know are middle-class and middle-aged-ish (although these are meant to be the worst hit by the recession) but I got the impression that in England, people are having a wry smile at all the gloom and doom in the papers then simply getting on with it in their own world. Yes, there is "cutting back", but it's done in a spirit of self-determined no nonsense. None of the five families we visited was buying bottled water any more (except for special occasions). The over-priced ex-pubs with their pretentious menus and fussy food were spurned in favour of good home cooking.

At the end of it, I did get the feeling of parallel worlds and wondered just how much of what we soak up on the internet is real. It's sad that even the once quality papers in the UK have sunk to the level of doom-laden rags. But, in the end, it was a cheering experience that all that you read in the media is not true. I expect I really do need to get out a bit more.

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