‘Where are you off to then?’ That’s the taxi driver yesterday, taking me and my suitcase to Hull station. ‘Sweden,’ I reply, as I have so many times before. The reaction is always the same. Either (a) ‘isn’t it cold there?’; or (b) ‘isn’t it expensive?’ I try to explain that (a) yes, it is cold, in winter, but in summer it can be warmer than in England and for longer during the day; and (b) it’s only expensive if you buy a lot of booze and eat in restaurants, where they pay their staff a decent wage. Other stuff costs roughly the same. And is usually better. In any case it depends on the exchange rate – rather bad for me just now, as it happens, due to the Brexit vote. But they don’t believe me.
I’m doing my best for the Swedish tourist industry – take note, Migrationsverket: I’ve not heard back from you yet about my citizenship application – but to little avail. Maybe if I confirmed their other stereotypes – for example, about the country being full of leggy blondes willing to have sex with them (the men) at the drop of a hat – I might do better. But then my taxi-drivers would be so disappointed – and probably arrested for harassment – when they got here. Perhaps it’s just as well. I don’t want a lot of British hoi polloi coming over and spoiling the place for me.