I have to admit that, to kill time, I regularly watch Come Dine with Me (the way others go fishing). And I also watch its spin-off Couples Come Dine with Me. The programme consists of ‘ordinary’ people going for dinner in each other’s homes and, in addition, rating it. The winner receives £1000.
‘Doctor, I’m an Anglophile, do you think that’s dangerous?’ Every time I visit my GP I’m tempted to ask this question. But, at this practice, you keep seeing a different doctor. The last one I saw was called Georgios, and I don’t think Georgios would get my question.
We were on our way from London to Rochester by train. ‘It’s something different, this UKIP safari,’ I said to my travel companion. And after this, as Rochester station loomed large, I added in a David-Attenborough-like whisper: ‘I believe I’ve spotted two of the species. They’re males.’
People from the Netherlands regularly ask me if I think the UK will leave the EU. The date for the referendum still has to be set, but already they sound concerned when they ask me the question. Others sound a bit sarcastic when they pose this question, as if to say: ‘Well, in that case we’ll be better off without them.’
Pantomime is one of the best kept secrets in Britain. Dutch readers may well think it’s like the mime (in Dutch: ‘pantomime’!) which was a recurring interval act during the big TV variety shows of the 1960s and 1970s, in which a mime artist wordlessly performed actions such as placing hands against an invisible window. In our house this was the signal for a toilet break.