Being an expat (oh no, I said it, does that mean I am one??), I have learned that it is only when one leaves one's home country that one truly appreciates little aspects of the way of life that one now pines for. I appreciate this is not the case for everyone, but it generally is for me.
The little things I miss about the UK / Scotland are, in absolutely no order at all:
- newspapers. Yeah, you can get newspapers here too, but they are either very regional (and a bit parochial if I may say), or far too serious (national dailies like Le Monde or Le Figaro are unreadable for a poor foreigner like myself). I miss The Scotsman (er, what was I saying about being parochial?), The Independent. I miss Sunday papers that have so many supplements it takes you until the following Sunday to read them all.
- curry. Love curry. Love going out for a curry. Cannot be done in France. At least, not in the part of France where I am. And the rare French Indian restaurants (OK, 2 then) I have visited don't serve Cobra beer. How I am supposed to enjoy my jalfrezi if there's no Cobra? Note to Matt - you need to find a good curry place in Rotheram!
- my family.
- hilly countryside. I grew up in a fairly hilly place. I spent many summers in the Lake District. I like gradient in my landscape. Here the countryside is flat. It's a bit boring. But I guess living in the Alps would solve that one.
- being able to get a decent cup of tea in cafés/restaurants.
- Sainsbury's (how sad am I??). I can't explain it, but the Sainsbury's supermarket experience is just different from the Auchan supermarket experience. Not the same at all.
- Waterstone's. This one is self-explanatory. But I'll explain it anyway. French books are rubbish. Even ones translated from English. They are written in some 13th century tense called the past historic and it's offensive. Imagine having to read everything in Chaucer's English. Would be tiresome. Also, French paperbacks are unattractive. The typeface is too small and the covers never look enticing. And they are expensive.
- bacon. Cooked breakfast. Baked beans.
- the long summer evenings. When the weather is good, where better than Scotland in June? The evenings last forever. And the twilight barely has time to fade in the north west before daybreak creeps over the eastern horizon.
- the M&Ms (they know who they are), boy Nicklas...
- M&S food to go. Good thing I don't have access to their salads because my bank manager would be demanding I give my money card back immediately.
- people knowing how to queue properly. I think anyone who has spent any time in France will appreciate this.
- men in kilts!
- childhood "references" - school friends (well, those I still see), the house where I grew up, even grotty Dalkeith! No actually I don't really miss Dalkeith. Not much.
- John Lewis (big consumer theme going on here!!)
In the interests of fairness and equality, and if you can be bothered to decipher my French, I've done a corresponding list of French things I would miss here.