Tuesday, June 11, 2013

12 Months On

As I set out for an afternoon walk today wearing more layers in the middle of an English summer than I wore during an entire Californian winter, I realised it is nearly a year since we returned to the UK.

Do I feel acclimitized? It took at least two to become acclimated to that alien American culture, but now I find those old US habits die hard.

 An ambulance came blasting down the opposite side of the road earlier this week and what did I do? I pulled in and stopped. The cars behind me all drove on bewildered. In the US, everything stops for a fire engine, police car or ambulance. Quite simply whatever direction you are going in; as soon as you hear that siren you get out of the way, dual carriage way or not.

The teenager is also struggling with UK driving customs – namely the gear stick and those darned roundabouts.  She remains terrified of our tight tiny roads, mastering oncoming traffic around parked cars, and the wonder of a three, five or seven point turn. In our part of LA even the most suburban of roads were wide enough for an uninterrupted U turn.

I am finally learning to respond with a simple I’m fine or I’m well, rather than an enthusiastic ‘good’ when asked how I am, but I wouldn’t dream of making a salad without fruit. 

I admit, uncovering a grapefruit segment under the lettuce leaves did take a bit of getting used to when we arrived in the US but now any salad I make will always include at least an avocado, an apple, and dried fruit, and well as liberal dashings of raspberry vinaigrette, which I was so hopeful of finding here, but alas, has to be imported via the other half’s business trips to the US.

Whenever he got the chance to travel back to the UK from Pasadena I used to think, lucky him. Now he’s visiting Pasadena and I’m stuck here in June with a jacket and my socks on, and I think, once again, oh lucky him.

Still, it’s not all bad, UK TV beats US TV hands down. We arrived home last year in the middle of the Great British Bake-off and it was the highlight of our return. We’d missed the previous two series, I had no idea who Paul Hollywood was and as far as I was concerned Mary Berry was someone who wrote history books about making cakes. I had no idea she was still alive.

It’s interesting to see that now Mr Hollywood has been seduced by that Californian sunshine himself and has been lured across the Atlantic to make a US version of the show. That’ll never work. I’ve seen those cut-throat culinary contests over there and trust me, US contestants won’t be stopping to console each other as a baking tray of biscuits slides to the floor. 

And as for the scandal that surrounds the lovely Paul himself, he’ll have found it very hard to resist the gushing flattery from those US TV executives. He’ll have had his ego boosted no end because Americans are very good at telling you exactly what they think you want to hear, and he’ll have been told over and over again that he is quite literally the best thing since sliced bread. They’ll love his accent, he’ll constantly be told he’s cute, and totally awesome, and of course, he’ll be a novelty act. A middle aged man on US TV who doesn’t dye his hair. 

It will be interesting to see when the new series of GBBO starts over here in a few weeks’ time whether he has succumbed to LA vanity and his hair is actually now a slightly darker shade of a grey.....

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