Sorry about my very long silence. It has provoked rumours of pregnancy (I am too old, mentally not biologically), lottery winning (I wish!) and falling down a large pot hole in one of Sicily’s main motorways (I just invented that one actually).
None of this is true, but… Drumroll…. I am at last allowed to announce that I have a job in the UK, and I have left Sicily’s sunny shores. I am now the CEO of a new charity founded by British billionaire John Caudwell, to improve the medical care of people with Lyme disease in the UK and beyond.
You thought I only knew how to burn the pasta and make fun of Sicilian driving, didn’t you?
As some of you will know, my kiddo and I both have Lyme disease, and this is one of the reasons why the job means so much to me, more than any other job could ever matter. Lyme is a terrible disease which becomes a chronic, incapacitating illness in many of its victims, yet the health authorities in the UK, as in every other country I know of, are still ignoring the scientific evidence of over 700 medical research papers and insisting that it can be easily cured with a couple of weeks of antibiotics. If you still feel ill after that, apparently, you have Post Lyme disease Syndrome, a different condition entirely, of as-yet unknown cause (I swear on my mother-in-law’s life I am not making this up) except if you live in the UK, where you instead have CAN, which stands for Chronic Arthropod-borne Neuropathy. (If you don’t believe me, and personally I wouldn’t, just Google that).
These people are off their rockers and they definitely need to be brought to their senses with a bit of Sicilian Housewife common sense.
Since being offered this job I have been madly busy. I had three weeks in December to find and rent a house in England, enrol my son in a school, furnish the house, set up the wifi and other utility bills, buy two cars and two mobile phones for myself and my Intrepid Hubby, ship over some crates of clothes, lego and my trusty vintage computer from Sicily, and figure out how to use a central heating thermostat dating from 1972.
So how are we getting on in England?
Well, we are living in a small village called Alsager, a picturesque cluster of abnormally small semi-detached houses and charity shops huddled around the iconic Asda supermarket building. The vibrant village centre boasts not only a public library with wheelchair access but also a structurally sound primary school and a moderately sized veterinarian centre which caters both for pets and local sheep alike. What’s more, Alsager is mere minutes from the centre of Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, where it only rains twice a year on average (once from February to August and the second time from September to January).
My little lad is really happy in English school, and not just because the building is structurally sound! English culture with its emphasis on not shouting your head off really suits him too.
Hubby has made friends with the local farmers and buys amazingly good meat from them, and seems to be enjoying being a house husband. He went through a period of adjustment. For example, I told him that when you hang up the laundry in Stoke-on-Trent it will still be wet after five days or else have gone mouldy, and he thought I was just joking. He also thought he would be able to buy warm clothes in Sicily and still use them as his “warm clothes” once we got to England. He also thought he would stay indoors till it stopped raining, bless him.
Then one day he suddenly became more English than me and told me off for parking sqiffily and trying to sneak through a light that was just turning red.
England has a way of doing that to people.