YES’N’YOU – England is different …

Hullo, everybody!

Whitley Bay

Two weeks ago, I went to England to visit my Mum, in Whitley Bay, a small town on the north-east coast of England, much closer to Scotland than to London. I experienced a lot of differences in comparison with Spain. Here are just a few:

Madrid small

Newcastle airport

The most obvious, at that time, was the weather. I left Madrid where the thermometer stood at 33º and the sun was shining brightly in the sky and arrived in Newcastle where the temperature was 13º and it was drizzling. Brrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhh.


As I stepped out on to the aeroplane steps (Newcastle is a small airport and doesn’t have covered gangways), I was stunned by the dull greyness surrounding me. In Madrid the sky was bright blue and the light was very strong, but getting out of that plane, I almost needed a torch to see through the drizzle and cloud.

House smallI eventually arrived at my Mum’s house in Newcastle at around 17.00, to find my Mum already cooking dinner. Yes, at 5.00pm! Whereas in Spain some people would just be finishing lunch, my mother was already preparing the evening meal, which we would eat at 18.30. HALF PAST SIX, EATING DINNER? What was I going to do for the rest of the evening? That far north, it’s daylight until 11pm!

noon lunchAnd that’s another big and obvious difference, meal times and the daily schedule in general. Everything happens much earlier in England – a lot of people start work between 08.00 and finish at 17.00. They have one hour for lunch which tends to be from around 12.30 – 13.30 and they have their evening meal around 18.30 – 19.30. And then, they go to the pub! In Spain, it’s the other way round. You have an “aperitif” in the bar at 19.00 and then have dinner at home at 9.00pm.

High street shops too tend to open at 09.00, but then close at 17.30, although big department stores and supermarkets close much later. In fact, some large supermarkets are open 24 hours a day 365 days a year and most city centre stores and shopping centres are open every Sunday too.

One of the luxuries that I enjoyed most in England was the choice of four advert-free television channels, all from the BBC.  But as David pointed out, when do you make a cup of tea or go to the loo?

Whitley bay lighthouse - dawnThe temperatures overnight were unusually cold, going down to around  5º, but even more of a hindrance to sleep was dawn at 4.00am, with the light streaming through the curtains, (in England we don’t tend to have shutters) and birds singing in the trees in the garden.  In June, the days are very long in the north of England, and the nights very short.

But at least the wall-to-wall carpet everywhere in the house helped keep me warm. In my Mum’s house, there is carpet in every room, including the bathroom and the kitchen, whereas in Spain, floors are usually wood or tiled.

Meadow smallEventually the sun did come out and we were able to visit some gardens nearby. They were absolutely beautiful. So full of colour – just like an artist’s palette. That is definitely something that I miss in Spain, the lush green of England, splashed with colour from the abundant flowers, whether they are cultivated or growing wild.

As I said to my Mum when she took me to the airport for me to get my plane back to Spain, despite the cold weather and rain, there is nowhere better to be in June, than England.

Have a lovely summer!

All the best,


Kate and Sybil

My mummy and I


Hullo – Hola
drizzling – llovizna, chirimiri
gangways – pasarela
dull – nublado
loo – WC
hindrance – impedimento
the sun was streaming through the curtains – el sol pasaba a través de las cortinas
shutters – persianas
carpet – moqueta
palette – paleta
lush – exuberante (vegetación)
splashed – salpicado
abundant – abundante

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