.............mostly because you can wait for one for ages and then suddenly hundreds turn up all together. Yes, it is true - we have been forced to upgrade our state of readiness from "Puce" to "Magenta" as it is confirmed that the first of the expected horde is due in the North East of England, with an imminence that may be defined as "soonish". Quite literally five or six, of the species is to visit Blighty this year, and as this represents practically the whole population of The True North Proud and Free, I'm left wondering who will be left to look after the Ice Rinks. We (including the cats) are all very excited by the expected arrivals, although we are not flattering ourselves by thinking that the visitors are coming just because they want to visit us. Those who have been keeping an eye on Canadian politics should be aware that it is now a rogue State, where the bright light of Democracy has been extinguished at least once in the past few months, and dictatorship has taken hold. The timing of the putative diaspora cannot be coincidental. As a fan of the historical documentary "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" I recognise an exodus when I see one. Just as the ancient Earth people fled from the Silon tyranny, it is quite clear that our Canadian friends are hoping to perhaps settle here, and maybe set up a Government in exile.
In light of the above, I, a Canadian by choice, a Scouser by birth, and someone who can modestly claim to be "travelled" have a few tips on items you Canadians should bring so you will feel at home, and a few bits of advice on what to expect when you land. This help and advice is a s follows:
1. Bring your own tree - most of the English ones went years ago to make boats that sailed over to Canada.
2. DO NOT WALK IN FRONT OF CARS !!!!! THEY WILL NOT STOP, EVEN WHEN DRIVEN BY KIND LOOKING OLD LADIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!
3. Do not ask shop assistants for help. It will only confuse them because their principal job is to ignore you completely. If you need practise in this, visit Canadian Tire a few times before you come here.
4. In the UK, words can mean different things than they do in Canada. For example, Summer here means "Fall". Spring here also means "Fall". Winter means "A very Wet Fall" and Autumn ( the English word for Fall) means "Winter without snow".
5. Do not, under any circumstances ask anyone for directions. You will not understand wehat anyone says. Get a Sat Nav.
6. Women - if you want to blend in with the majority of British females, start by thinking of all the makeup you have ever bought in your life. Then double it. Apply this quantity to your face every morning you are here. If promenading for the evening, especially in the North East, do not forget to leave your coat, hat, shoes and gloves at home. Then get impossibly drunk.
7. Avoid using phone booths if at all possible. They might be called "Phone Boxes" and might even have a phone in them, which may possibly work. In reality, despite the ready availability of parks, bushes, stores, pubs, 24 hour garages and even a person's own home, Phone boxes are actually Urinals.
8. If you happen to meet the Queen, perhaps walking her Corgis in the park, or buying a loaf of bread in Sainsbury's, do not stirke up a conversation which includes the sentence "Are you thinking of retiring soon? My friend Mazzer thinks you are the last decent one in your family and after you the country would be better off with an elected President - possibly an ex-footballer or a newsreader". This will result in Mazzer getting locked up in the Tower of LOndon for twenty years.
9. You will not need suncream . You will however need a supply of serviceable umbrellas and some Wellington boots.
10. Do not try to get a takeaway coffee anywhere. It will only lead to disappointment. On the other hand, do ensure you eat fish and chips at least once per week, and try to find somewhere that advertises a "Full English Breakfast". At it's best, this is the best meal you will ever eat.
If I think of anything else helpful, I will post it as your respective visits approach.