I’ve been toying with the idea lately of creating my own country, as you do. It would solve the many issues and concerns British ex-pats come up against and fill the country purgatory void. That’s my word, btw, I coined it myself. You’re neither here nor there, literally. You live here, mourn there, but you don’t fit in there either — you’re stuck — in country purgatory.
It is essentially and amalgamation of both Britain and the United States. It would also work for American ex-pats living in Britain. Everyone’s welcome, even the odd Anglophile or two…
I haven’t decided on a name yet, but here is a list of things that are must-haves:
1. The public transport will be phenomenal, and all the roads will be wide enough for anything that can tow a large boat. There will be trains, tubes, buses, taxis, lots of big international airports, ferries, bike routes throughout and the speed limit will be 70 mph. We’re still ironing out the details on which side of the road everyone should be driving on and which road signs will be the standardisation, but right now, that’s a mere technicality. Time tables will be written in 24-hour clock. Every street will have a side walk/pavement. The roads will be striped in reflective paint and there will be Cat’s Eyes on the motorway/highway. We’re still in session over the correct term there. Also expect street lights everywhere, traffic lights at the higher elevation and, of course, roundabouts. The railway system will rarely ever cross over onto the road, minimising the need for crossing lights and lengthy waits. The underground tunnel linking Britain and the U.S. will finally be revealed after years of cloak and dagger behaviour, and of course, will be connected to Scotica (or is it Meriland?). And, everything’s within walking distance.
2. There will be bakeries, butchers, greengrocers, and fish mongers in every town. Also expect corner shops, but it’s a toss up who gets there first, Walgreens will have competition. Perhaps we can arrange a settlement where corner shops get one corner and Walgreens the adjacent?
3. Petrol and Coke will both be measured and sold in litres and be lower than the average U.S. price, rather than the contrary.
4. There will be authentic Mexican and Indian restaurants by the dozens. You will also find Marie Callendar’s, DQ, Chip Shops, Turkish and Greek takeaways and Chinese/Cantonese places that serve all of your favourite dishes. Also expect Outback Steakhouse, Panda Express and Macaroni Grill. The bakeries we mentioned above will obviously include Greggs and the occasional Auld’s for those craving Fudge Doughnuts. In fact, we’re in collaboration with Krispy Kreme’s to have both merge.
5. Television will be crystal clear using the PAL format which boasts a 625-line, 50 field/25 frames a second, 50HZ system. There will be no television licensing fee for the BBC. You will have access to every channel and programme you’ve ever watched and it won’t matter that you don’t live in the right country. Your DVDs will also play.
6. You won’t be expected to write /100 on a cheque, and banks won’t take commission if you want to exchange currency.
7. There will be architecture spanning hundreds of years: Castles, cathedrals, monuments, statues and railways viaducts, etc. There will also be breath-taking scenery, and ginormous mountain ranges.
8. You can spell and pronounce things however you like.
9. There will be no need for sprinklers, the grass will be green. You can also control the rain. Want some? Press a button. And — no-one will have allergies.
10. Houses will be bigger, but not obnoxious. Gardens will be a minimum of a third of an acre and you will have more than enough room for a whirly-gig or two. There will be ample square footage in each room per home for more than just a bed, chest of drawers and a dresser. There will be en suite bathrooms as standard, and every home will have a basement, functional attic and walk-in closets. The attics are equipped for those of you who are closet model railway enthusiasts. Electricity will be 220 watts, there’s much less power cuts that way (two per lifetime) — but, be sure to unplug everything at night. Speaking of plugs, those will be standardised too.
11. As well as all your favourite American stores, expect some British ones too. Look out for Tesco (for your tiger bread), Woolworths, WHSmith, HMV, Boots, Marks & Spencer (M&S), French Connection, Superdrug, Primark, Next, Lakeland Catalogue stores and little local music shops that smell like old people and cigars.
12. Chocolate will be much better. You will have access to every chocolate, crisps and sweeties you want. There will be real (Danish) bacon and both American and British sausages for whatever takes your fancy. Cheese will be pasteurised at the lower, still acceptable European temperature and we will therefore be stocking all of your favourites. Expect to see Red Leicester, Wensleydale, Cathederal and of course, Dairylea. And what is cheese without Branston Pickle? There will also be every Heinz product available, including soups, macaroni cheese, spaghetti and beanz. You should also expect Irn Bru, Tizer, Lilt, Red Cola, Limeade, Ginger Beer, Ribena and Lucozade.
13. Money, clothing and shoe sizes will be standardised. We will move to American dress size numbers as British sizes are bigger numbers for the same size. No-one wants to feel fat. And shoes will move to British sizes.
So who’s with me here?
As always the list is constricted to thirteen things, if you’d like to see more additions to this new country, please leave a comment below for the town hall.