I noticed a couple of Scottish stickers on the edge of their trunk and so when I got up to their driveway, I asked about them.
"My husband came from Scotland originally" said the wife.
"Ahhhh" I said in response.
Then hubby, who had taken a bit longer to get out of the car, added "Yes, but I hate the Brits !! My business partner was a Brit and he owes me a lot of money."
"Hang on" I said "I'm a Brit". I didn't feel the need to remind him that, unless something major had happened in the week since I got here, Scots are Brits too.
"Oh well I guess I don't hate them all."
After chatting a bit more in an effort to patch up the 'special relationship' between our nations that had so obviously been tainted by the business partner, I continued with my walk.
Then I got to thinking......am I a Brit ?
When I'm asked where I'm from, I usually give England as my answer as, after all, that's where I live. Well for a few days over half a year at least. That's just in case US Immigration is reading my blog. Hey you never know.
So I'm ok with where I live/where I'm from. But my nationality ?
You see I was born in N. Ireland but I don't have a snappy and accurate country of birth to give to anyone who asks.
"I'm....ah......well..........I was born in N. Ireland."
That's the best I can do really. Technically that doesn't make me British. It certainly doesn't make me Irish.
My passport tells everyone I'm a citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. And no, I'm not giving that lot as a reply. On the immigration form I put 'UK' but this is mostly as the space for the answer isn't very big. That's ok for forms but it doesn't roll off the tongue.
Am I a United Kingdomer ? Actually that sounds pretty grand and conjours up images of castles and knights and serving wenches and Americans love all that historic stuff.
I could say I'm an Ulsterman but come on, who here would have a clue what that means ?
Remember this is a nation where, when I say I live in England, I'm asked if I know so and so as if I'm familiar with everyone who lives in England. They're also not entirely sure where we are on a map. Oh lets be honest, they're not sure where ANYWHERE is on a map. Ulsterman would create numerous extra questions and probably open up a whole can of political and geographical whipass.
So why is this important right now ? Well it's down to my walking. Mostly people here walk in the early hours before the sun is up and the tarmac isn't bubbling. I, on the other hand, am NOT a morning person and like to wake up slowly and so I go walking at about 11am or noon most days. The temperature at this time of day is in the mid to high 80's. And humid. Very humid.
But my thinking is I get exercise, a tan and a sauna all from the same walk.
I don't meet a soul. The a/c units are going full blast. Everyone is inside having a nap or knitting booties for the great-grandchildren. Even if they are teenagers now. I could be the only person in the park and no, my name isn't Daffyd !!
So of course I wanted to blog about this and the obvious title would've been "Mad Dogs And Englishmen" but that's when I came unstuck.
"Mad Dogs And Ulstermen ?"
"Mad Dogs And United Kingdomers ?"
"Mad Dogs And Citizens Of The United Kingdom Of Great Britain And Northern Ireland ? "
It's only getting worse. Maybe I should just walk at dawn and leave the midday sun to the English.