10 Examples of Culture Shock in pre-Olympic Britain


I’ve been back in the UK for little more than a week, following a 6 month sabbatical in Australia. It all feels rather different to the place I left last October, so I thought I’d share some reflections, while I still have the perspective of the outsider:

1. What kind of a country is it that can be in drought, and experience flood conditions, at the same time?

2. That nice Mr Gove seems awfully chummy with the Murdochs. I know who to call if I ever fall foul of the Sun King….

3. I go away when the economy seems to be out of recession. I come back and it’s like Groundhog Day. The key to averting economic disaster, in Australia at least seems to lie in Beijing. Isn’t there something we can sell to the Chinese?

4. Whilst Australia boasts some of the finest restaurants in the world, its pies are the finest I’ve tasted. I suspect, though, that this isn’t the reason why everyone in Greggs rolls their eyes whenever a pasty is mentioned? Why has the humble pasty become such a political hot-potato? (Wait, that can’t be right)

5. Don’t we have anything better to talk about than Simon Cowell’s sexual antics?

6. I was severely jet-lagged, but did I see Heathrow staff wearing purple sashes with the word ‘Help’ written on them? And if so, does the world’s least welcoming airport think that’s going to fool anyone?

7. One of the reasons why Aussies and Americans can’t take to football is the  hypocrisy displayed by its proponents. John Terry’s ‘he just backed into my knee, guv’, after the Barcelona game, has preserved the sport’s reputation in the eyes of our colonial cousins.

8. With so many changes being forced upon schools, it seems that the most outspoken critic of current education policy is Jamie Oliver. While Michael Gove seems to be asking people to wait 10 years, before we can judge the success of his policies, where’s the opposition?

9. I know Australia is a very long way away, but why is it never in the news? 

10. Is it just me, or does everybody seem, well, a bit miserable? Event the rich want to get away. Come on, folks, the Olympics are coming!! 


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