With red passports and not red coats like 200 years ago, my British friend arrived. Lugging heavy suitcases, we headed for the car.
“You didn’t pack towels did you?” I asked looking at the bulging sides.
“No,” she replied reaching for the driver’s door.
“You want to drive?” I asked with a smile.
My British friend looked puzzled, shook her head, and realized her mistake. Habits are difficult to break and she was used to right hand drive. After a long flight and suffering from jet lag, confusion exists. Settling into the car we set off. She clenched the armrest as we drove up the ramp and onto the highway. Whizzing along is unnerving, when to her, we were on the wrong side of the road.
Arriving at the house a cuppa was necessary after she asked for her suitcases out of the boot. I do not have an electric kettle, but a flavia which she scrutinized, doubting that it could make a good British cup of tea. After all you needed to heat the teapot, boil the water, pour it over the PJ Tips or Yorkshire Gold tea bag, let it steep, mash it, pour milk in a china mug, and at last add the brewed tea, checking for color. I showed her how to work the flavia.
Heading towards the sink, she stopped.
“Which faucet is hot?” she asked.
“The hot faucet is always on the left,” I replied.
“Can you drink the water from the sink?”
“Yes, it’s fine even though we mix our hot and cold water,” I assured her.
Revived with her cuppa, we opted for a short walk before settling in for the night.
“Do I need a jumper or torch?” she asked.
“No, the nights are warm in our summer and you do not need a torch.”
“But it is cool in here. I thought it would be colder outside.”
“I have the AC on, the air-conditioner.”
Hooking up our Cavaliers we set off. Twilight gave the creek a Caribbean blue sheen. A heron squawked, disapproving of our approach.
“What are those building?” she asked.
“Sheds,” I replied.
“They are bigger than some of our houses.”
Returning home, she looked at my wreath.
“That would not last in England. People steal our decorations.”
“What a shame,” I said. “ Denas love to decorate for all the holidays.”
I showed her to her bedroom explaining - we do not have sinks in our bedrooms; we have electric sockets in the bathrooms and the switch is on the wall not a hanging cord; the bed has sheets, duvets are too hot for the summer; she would be more comfortable using the ceiling fan with the door shut.
“Sleep well,“ I said giving her a hug. Then I noticed she had large welts on her arm and neck. Mosquitoes. They found new blood.
In the morning she looked well rested despite the bites and had her cuppa in hand.
“Don’t bother with a full English breakfast,“ she said. “I’ll just have cereal and toast with marmalade.”
“How about waffles?” I asked.
“I don’t mind.”
I retrieved the eggs out of the fridge; she keeps her eggs in a pottery chicken on her window sill. Got out the flour and baking powder - she has self-rising flour, milk - in England it is still delivered in small glass bottles via an electric truck, sugar - UK has all sorts such as granulated, caster, icing, demerara, and muscovite, and at last sausages - made with bread.
“Everything is bigger here across the pond - houses, lawns, dishwashers, washing machines, refrigerators, and cars. Your roadways are cleaner too. Not as much trash, “ she mused while trying King Syrup on her waffle. “I would like to do some shopping today and look for a long sleeved vest for my grandchild and also I need trainers.”
Hmm. I thought to myself. The British have returned to the Bodkin not seeking privateer sails but mall sales.