Monday, February 23, 2015

The Best of British

Isn’t it wonderful when British people do brilliant things?  We’re always so self-deprecating that it’s a wonder any of us get out there in public and actually try to be good at anything.

Take Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards for example.  A worse ski jumper you will never find, but he became an absolute bloody hero in 1988 when he entered the winter Olympics.  As it says on Wikipedia (‘cos yes, he has a page):

“Finishing last in the 70m and 90m events, he became famous as an example of a plucky
underdog  or 'heroic failure', and of perseverance and achievement without funding that 
represents the British bulldog spirit.”
Even a book!
We might not be that good a skiing, but we seem to be brilliant at acting.  Maybe because it’s easier to hide behind a character than to have to actually be yourself.  

Which brings me to the Oscars last night.  Who didn’t have their fingers, legs, eyes and toes crossed for Eddie Redmayne to win Best Actor?  And what a great speech.  Here is it, if you missed it.

Didn’t he do well, bless him.

The film was extremely good and if you haven’t seen it, you must go.

I know three people who have been diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or as it’s known in the UK Motor Neuron Disease) and unfortunately, all of them lost their battle with the disease and none of them survived more than four or five years.  It is very hard to watch someone die from the outside, while inside they are still themselves, trapped in their own non-functioning body.

To live with ALS as long a Stephen Hawking has, well it's pretty much a miracle.

I met him once.  Well, okay, I didn’t actually meet him, I was in the same room as him (which in my opinion is close enough).  We were at the Magic Castle in Los Angeles about a year ago and  we walked into one of the bars and a friend told me “Stephen Hawking’s over there” and there he was, in his chair in all his glory, with his nurse and, I presume wife.  And I was completely and utterly star struck.  Living in Los Angeles, where celebrities are a penny a dozen, it seemed weird that a scientist, of all people, would have me speechless.  

But that’s what happened and quite frankly, I’ve never been allowed to live it down.  My name is Sharon and I’m a Geek! (apparently)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Angry British

On a recent shopping trip I had a bit of a melt down, or a paddy, if you like.  Wandering around Fresh & Easy I got to the “Foreign” section and noticed just how small the English section had become. When I first started shopping there, there were eight shelves of English foods, yes 8!  It looked like this…
It probably doesn't seem much to anyone who has a Tesco around the corner from their house, but in the jolly old USofA, this is amazing!  Well until now, that is.  Now, it’s been reduced to just TWO shelves of baked beans, marmalade, Heinz soup, Robinsons and gravy granules - the bottom two shelves no less.  Oh how I wished I hadn’t been so complacent in thinking it would be there forever.  If I’d have known it was going to disappear, my cupboards would look like Tescos with shelves and shelves of food I would never be able to eat because I had so much.  Well, so much for that!!  How I miss you, Bird's Custard, Ribena and HP Sauce!

And now, with bloody Hersheys taking our Cadbury’s chocolate off the shelves, my pickings are going to be getting even slimmer.

Which is where my paddy came in.  Apart from the disappointment from my lack of choice in the British food section, there it was, that ghastly Hershey chocolate gloating at me from the shelves. I could see it grinning down as if to say “Buy me, I dare you!”   So I went into a wobbly.  I will admit, a few selective swear words were uttered – because obviously it wouldn’t be a real British rant if there was no swearing.  “*^&% You Hershey” may have possibly been said a few times too!  

The Mr. turned to me and said “Do you know that when you’re angry, your English accent gets really strong?  I can hardly understand you”  He certainly knows how to calm me down!  Nothing makes me happier than to be told my accent is still there!

About that time, I walked down the aisle where the sweets are and holy-moley, all the English chocolate (at least everything they have left) was half price.  So what's better to cheer you up than seeing 'real' Yorkie bars for only 99c and buying the whole lot!  
Nope, not a York Peppermint Patty
I know I've posted this link before, but if you haven't signed the petition yet, here it is again:

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Being English

I don't know if it is just me, but there comes a time in an expat's life when you begin to long for anything from home - no matter what it is.

I can spot a Union Jack or a St. George's cross from a mile away and usually, I must have it. Needless to say, my house is gradually becoming "English."  Much to the dismay of the Mr.  His house, when I moved into it just over ten years ago, was a totally manly, Harley Davidson shrine with motorcycle pictures, American Indian stuff and even a bloody Jackalope [don't ask].

I began very subtly replacing his stuff with mine.  He didn't notice at first, you know, as men don't tend to, but one day, he looked around and mumbled, "What the bloody hell happened here?"  (Yes, he's even picked up a few of my quaint English terms).  He stood in front of this wall and just groaned.

And then there's the kitchen cupboard which he never, ever opens.  I think mainly because it has so much Marmite, Oxo and curry in there and he's just a little bit scared!  It looks like this:
That's a LOT of Marmite!
But it doesn't stop there.  It's not just pictures and food, it's flipping everything!  For example, there are cup and saucer sets, brollies, mugs and picture frames.  Not forgetting the cupboard full of sweets and then there’s the 100 t-shirts that I can’t seem to walk past in a shop without buying.  [I might be exaggerating a bit on the number of shirts, but not by much, unfortunately.]  Oh, and don't forget the tea bags! There's absolutely no way you can walk past an unexpected shelf of PG Tips and not buy at least three boxes!

My most recent acquisition?  This absolutely brilliant St. George’s Cross shot glass.   Do I drink shots on a regular basis, nope, not really (no, really I don't), but who doesn’t need one of these?  It's not often you find something with a St. Georges Cross, so obviously!

Drinks anyone?
I know if I still lived in England, I wouldn’t have half of this stuff because really, who wants to live in a fake British Pub.  Plus you would look a bit naff walking around in Union Jacks all the time, but being here, it tends to make it okay. (*shame face*)

So I think I will begin introducing myself by saying  "Hello, my name is Sharon and I'm a Union Jack Hoarder"