I have lived in the UK for nigh on three years now, and the thing that keeps boggling my mind is just how paranoid the island monkeys are.

Boys can’t wear tights or play with dolls because that’s for girls, and girls only. Imagine the damage if your boy did these things! He’d surely grow a vagina or turn gay!

No-one in this country dares to give their bank details to anyone for fast and easy bank transfers. That’s why cheques incomprehensibly are still ubiquitous here.

Oh, and for the love of Darwin, don’t ever let your toddler run around freely because he could get snatched by a pervert.

As a matter of fact, paedophiles are lurking everywhere these days, so you better beware.

no photography

Taking photographs of your little monster when he’s attempting his first tentative steps into the shallow end of the local swimming pool? Forget it! Who knows, you could deviously snap other kiddies and publish their pics on the interwebs, you bad, bad person you! Even at the ice rink, where everyone is wrapped up really nicely, you are not allowed to shoot silly photos of your friends because, well, it says so on the sign. The rules of paranoia also demand the nursery first obtain all parents’ consent before taking and displaying pics in the confined environment of a particular room. Ridiculous!


In my not so humble opinion, Brits are waaayyy too concerned with their privacy.

The most important piece of furniture in our study is … drumroll … a shredder! That’s right. Ok, I give him the benefit of the doubt because he grew up in South Africa, but my dear husband is just short of forcing me to destroy every tiny bit of completely innocuous paper. Granted, I wouldn’t put my intact bank statements into the paper recycling collection bag either. But blank envelopes just because they have my name on it? There surely must be smarter ways to steal my identity if someone was so inclined.

doorbellWait! Maybe not. Because in this country, it’s not only fairly hard to find out the address of a particular abode, seeing that street name signs are few and far between and house numbers are often inconspicuous, overgrown or missing altogether. More importantly, no-one displays their names on their doors. Ever!


Where I come from, the doorbells generally freely exhibit the family name of the inhabitant/s, as do the mailboxes. What a fancy way to make sure mail is delivered to the correct receiver!

We have lived in our current house for more than 2 1/2 years now, and we still on a regular basis get mail for four (4!) different previous tenants. Go figure!

As always, I wonder why we Krauts are not as fussed. Is identity theft less of a threat there? Or kidnapping? Are we simply less susceptible to panicmongering by the media? Or are German prisons just that much more effective as a scare tactic?

Maybe it’s all of the above.

14 thoughts on “Para-annoy-a

  1. The weird thing is this: most Brits are aware of this paranoia and know that it’s ridiculous, and yet somehow that doesn’t stop it!

    I would hope that the stigma attached to boys wearing tights or playing with dolls is reducing, but I’ve seen little evidence to support my hopes. I read your post on child harnesses earlier and I get where you’re coming from. And as for putting names on doors – I genuinely don’t understand why we don’t do that… now that you’ve pointed it out, it seems so obvious.

    • Hmmm, maybe living on an island does these things to you. Yes, I can feel myself getting more paranoid as I type this! If you would excuse me, I have to go and book a flight to the mainland.

  2. What a relief to discover that there is, indeed, another country in the world that might (just might) be more paranoid than the good ol’ US of A. I’m always grousing about people being afraid of their shadows here.

    And then, because they don’t have any REAL thrills in life, Americans love to go to stimulate the old adreneline glands vicariously with mindless action/adventure or horror movies. (oh and don’t forget GAMES.) Go figure.

    I love your sense of humor when you’re fingering the insanities around you!

    • Ha, I wouldn’t exactly go as far as to say that Brits are more paranoid than Americans. Otherwise there might be more guns around on this island here.
      It is, however, bad enough to make a fantastic subject for a rant!
      Thank you for another lovely comment, Linda, I am always looking forward to these.

    • Hahaha. I had a hunch but I have to admit that I have only a few months of experience living among Americans. And that was mostly in Southern California, so that should only count half or so.

      Not sure why your comment was sent to my spam list, nice and relevant comments are always welcome here. Do you hear me, WordPress spam blocker? Approved, definitley!

  3. Is it the media that helps us stay paranoid here in America? Do we love our paranoia that much? Perhaps so. The “no photos” thing is just silly, though!

    • I wish any of these tales were invented, embellished or exaggerated. Not the case *sigh*.
      As to the ‘Why?’, I suppose smarter and better educated people than me might have a theory or two. It’s most probably a mixture of various factors such as ‘If you have a lot you can lose a lot’, and the media certainly have their part in it.
      Thanks for the comment, SDS, it is always appreciated.

  4. Oooh! While we’re ranting, as a Brit I have to throw one back at Germany regarding banking!!

    I had an account with Berliner Sparkasse. They gave me a card so that I could access my money. Only in their machines, otherwise it was a charge of €5. I could not use in any other country, I couldn’t even use it on a Deutsche Bahn ICE train, in literally every situation other than face to face with a Sparkasse ATM it was better to use my English card.

    On top of that so long as someone knows your Konto Nr. and can spell your name properly in Berlin they can go into any branch of your bank, write an Überweisung by hand, drop it in the little box and be off with your money before you know about it!

    Pheeeeeeeeeeeeew, rant over! I bet we could argue about this all day… (the cheque thing is stupid but admittedly I’ve never had someone try to give me one??)

    Lovely to see how a German experiences my country, after I experienced your’s for so long 🙂

    • Hi Jonny, I have to agree thoroughly with you. Demanding a fee for using a cash machine is just stupid, especially when it’s so much! I knew I had forgotten something when I wrote about things I like in the UK on Valentine’s Day…

      As to the Überweisung thing, well, I suppose this never happens because it would be exceptionally stupid for someone to transfer money into their own account which is so easily traceable. Sure, as the account owner you’d have a bit of trouble because you’d have to go to the bank and explain that it wasn’t you who filled in the form. But that’s nothing compared to the trouble the thief would be in, don’t you agree?

      Anyway, it is always great to connect to people who are (or were) in a similar situation as I. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to rant 🙂

  5. The relatively few troublemakers have the rest of us constantly jumping through hoops and looking over our shoulders. Meanwhile, they continue to ignore the rules and the laws and somehow manage to increase our paranoia at the same time. Every travel book about every big city in the world warns against muggers, pickpockets, and purse snatchers. The imagined dangers are practically non-existent, yet we find ourselves worrying about them.

    Another excellent post, Sandra. Do you have friends in the UK who read your blog?

    • Thank you for your kind comment, Charles.

      Thanks to the new country stats at wordpress, I can tell you now that I have had almost exactly as many readers from the UK as from the US so far. I imagine quite a few of them will be friends from uni, or pals of my husband’s who get here via facebook. The thing is, chances are they are all decent people to start with, so trying to make them see the errs of the island monkeys’ ways is like preaching to the choir…

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