Not hear­ing some­one for the third time, so just laugh­ing and hop­ing for the best

‘“We’ll see”– trans­la­tion: “no”

Country Life Every Week - - My Favourite Painting Clare Marx -

DO you strug­gle to make it through the day without apol­o­gis­ing to an inan­i­mate ob­ject? Does some­one queue­ing slightly to your side cause you dizzy­ing lev­els of un­ease? Do you have an un­healthy ob­ses­sion with the weather? If so, you’re demon­strat­ing some of the main symp­toms of an epi­demic that’s sweep­ing the na­tion, a col­lec­tion of irk­some is­sues that I’ve just writ­ten a book, Very Bri­tish Prob­lems, about.

In­deed, VBP are so deeply and sub­tly in­grained in our psy­ches, it’s tricky even to make a di­ag­no­sis. Th­ese strange ticks, bizarre cus­toms and dou­ble mean­ings (if a Bri­ton ever tells you that they’re ‘fine, hon­estly’, run for the hills) are just some­thing we’re doomed to suf­fer from for­ever.

One thing you can take com­fort in, how­ever, is that you’re not the only per­son who wakes in cold sweats at the night­mare of be­ing in­vited to ‘say a bit about your­self’ or feels as if they have to keep walk­ing at a ridicu­lously fast speed to­wards the hori­zon after pass­ing some­one on the pave­ment. Take com­fort in the mis­for­tune of oth­ers, you are not alone.

‘Lock­ing your­self in the wardrobe un­til the win­dow cleaner has fin­ished and left

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