up yours, Mr Jerome K. Jerome!

The very dogs respect German grass; no German dog would dream of putting a paw on it.  If you see a dog scampering across the grass in Germany, you may know for certain that it is the dog of some unholy foreigner.  In England, when we want to keep dogs out of places, we put up wire netting, six feet high, supported by buttresses, and defended on the top by spikes.  In Germany, they put a notice-board in the middle of the place, “Hunden verboten,” and a dog that has German blood in its veins looks at that notice-board and walks away.  In a German park I have seen a gardener step gingerly with felt boots on to grass-plot, and removing therefrom a beetle, place it gravely but firmly on the gravel; which done, he stood sternly watching the beetle, to see that it did not try to get back on the grass; and the beetle, looking utterly ashamed of itself, walked hurriedly down the gutter, and turned up the path marked “Ausgang.”

Three Men on the Bummel – Jerome K. Jerome

 

By all means, one of the funniest books I’ve ever read in my life and I highly recommend it to anyone. However: how DARE you, Mr. Jerome?!!!

You come from a nation which beats Germany hand down! You wrote the book on what’s “proper”, what is unconceivable and so forth.

You dare make fun of the German dog and the German beetle?!

 

Well allow me to tell you a few things about:

  • The British tree

  • The British hedge

  • The British cat

  • The British spider

  • The British fuckin’ cold.

 

First, I need to explain, I was in the heart of England, in Shropshire, in a tiny place named Oswestry.

We were accommodated in a charming inn, a lovely house from the 16th century. We were entertained by a British elderly couple and we lived the entire range of clichés from movies and books: tea time, never ending conversations about the weather, the English roses wallpapers, the small and large cat shaped trinkets in the entire house and outside, the English impeccable garden and so on…

Well. Back to the list.

 

  • The British tree.

It dared to shed about three leaves in the garden of the neighbor. So our host excused himself graciously so he would go next door to apologize for this unbecoming behavior! We thought we didn’t understand. So the wind blew three leaves, honest to God, THREE leaves. But this was a mess, so he was supposed to apologize.

 

  • The British hedge

I asked how often they trim their hedge so it looks so perfect all the time. In a sad tone, he answered he’s supposed to attend to it as it was neglected for a long time. I stared in disbelief. The hedge was impeccably manicured. All of them were. I believe the British hedges don’t dare to grow, or they grow perfectly square, as it’s expected of them.

 

  • The British cat

He knew how tacky and ordinary it would be to have black whiskers when you have a dark complexion, or how mundane would be to match pink cushions to white paws, like ANY CAT IN THE WORLD.

He wouldn’t touch food that’s not from a can of cat food. We lured him with brisket and code – both fresh and tasty. He royally rejected the offers. I thought about Alf who would eat exclusively from my plate, just for the sake of it.

He NEVER jumped the fence to the next garden or cross the street. It’s unconceivable to trespass other’s cat territory. I don’t think anyone told him so. He just KNEW this is preposterous behavior.

So “curiosity killed the cat” doesn’t apply to British cats. They are not curious. It’s unbecoming.

 

  • The British spider

At some point we had an absurd conversation. We dropped soon. It was like that:

–          He’s afraid there might be spiders in the bedroom…

–          What do you mean “spiders in the bedroom”?

–          I mean crawling on the floor or on the walls, fall in his bed…

–          But spiders don’t enter the bedroom!

 

Well, I’m sorry, Romanian spiders don’t know they are not allowed in the bedroom, they didn’t receive the memo!!!

 

  • The British fuckin’ cold.

Least but not last, don’t expect the Brits to comprehend you’re cold. They don’t have the notion. The wind was literally blowing in the room and they didn’t find it odd. Or add some clothes. Or increase the heat. You had walls and a roof, it should be enough. Why so much fuss?! Well because it’s bloody COLD. I know it’s not proper to sense cold, but I’m sorry, I’m a warm blooded mammal that needs heat for comfort.  For survival I might add.

I’m still in love with this country, in spite of all these oddities. I was reminded of yet another great novel, “War with the Newts” by Karel Čapek, where he makes fun of the Brits big time.

Well, in spite of all these Britishness – I know it’s not a word – it’s my favorite place on Earth and I still hope I shall retire somewhere in the English countryside.

I promise to own well behaved trees and cats, I promise to punish my hedge for growing, to have tea and scones and become an expert in weather conversations.

I’m in for the roses wallpaper too!

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About bitchwithcats

lived wild, lived wise, lived.

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