Sampling the Stereotypes

Categories Family


Coffee, croissants, baguette, strawberry jam. It was a very Parisian breakfast, and I couldn’t help but smile at the way our whirlwind tour of UK and France has covered a good number of stereotypes. We had steak and guinness pie in England, haggis/neeps/tatties in Scotland and potatoes in Ireland. We visited castles, drank warm English ales and cold Irish Guinness (some of us),  rode the Tube in London, the Metro in Paris, got stuck in traffic on the M1 and  listened to Irish music in a pub called “Duffy’s”. We got the impression that all English people lived in 16th century thatched cottages and all Irish people lived in castles


More importantly than doing all these stereotypical things has been visiting a number of very special friends from times past. We have really enjoyed making connections with people again, sometimes after more than 20 years. We have been glad of so much warm hospitality wherever we have stayed. Thank you so much to the Wellers, the Jones, the Youngs, the Sniders, the Irvines, the Calcrafts, the Suttons and Ruth.

Our trip has taken us from London, up the east side of the UK to Edinburgh, to the beautiful Lake District, to Dublin then up to Newry in North Ireland and finally to Paris. We’ve travelled without hiring a single taxi, which I think is a fair achievement given we had 3 bags, a toddler, a pusher (aka “buggy” in UK), a backpack and a pregnant tummy in tow.

I’ve been keeping track of things that are great and should be imported to Australia:
– postcodes that are specific to a small area. Very helpful – just type it into the GPS and away you go. Or as one person told me, send a letter to them like this: Name, Postcode, England. Brilliant!
– number plates that tell where and when the car was registered. I don’t know why, I just think that is good.
– French bread.
– French cheese
– French shops that are not supermarkets selling bread and cheese
– Speed limit of 70mph (or about 115kph) on all motorways
– Good quality cheese in English supermarkets

I’ve also kept a list of things that I like about Australia compared to this part of the world
– Fish and chips. Sorry England, you may have invented it, but we perfected it.
– Coffee. The best coffee I had in London was from a cafe run by Australians. Although Zappi’s Bike Shop Cafe in Oxford was good. (Thanks Cam)
– Kids being welcome in restaurants. Seemed not the go in Paris
– Cold beer
– Weather – no, it is not a “scorcher” of a day when the temperature gets out of the teens.

Andy is a GP obstetrician living in remote Northern Territory, Australia. He is totally outnumbered by girls in his family - one wife, 3 daughters, 2 chooks.

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