One of the things we first noticed when we moved to the middle east was the television. Unless you are willing to pay a subscription, the English channels available are extremely limited. To be fair, that is understandable, we don’t have too many Arabic speaking channels in the UK.So, we bit the bullet and took out a subscription to a local satellite provider and hey presto, we now have as many channels as we had in the UK. The number of English speaking channels has certainly increased, we now have Discovery, several movie channels, BBC First, ITV Choice and quite a few more, including the inevitable twenty-four-hour news channels that rarely have twenty-four hours’ worth of news with which to fill their air time.
Of course, we have the good old BBC and ITV to fall back on; a bit of home right here on our doorstep in Bahrain. Well, actually not as much as you would think.
It seems that someone at these illustrious channels has something of a distorted idea of what an expat might like to watch. Some of the programmes are relatively up to date, for instance, Coronation Street and East Enders are within twenty-four hours or so of the first UK broadcast; terrific if you like soaps. (My idea of a soap is confined to something you would use in the shower, but my wife likes some of them, so I am now up to date with what goes on in the streets of Weatherfield.) Most of the other offerings are at least a season out of date and repeated endlessly (no change on that score then.)
Now obviously, these cannot make up all our TV viewing time so my wife searches further afield and has come up with the TLC channel, an American cable network, showing a variety of programs, and here’s the important part, in English. (Yes, I know, American isn’t English, I hear you say, but to be fair, they do get most of the words right.) So, all is happy in our household when it comes to TV then, right?
Wrong! Her most popular programme on this channel is ‘Say Yes to The Dress,’ set in an upscale bridal boutique in New York. Before I came to Bahrain, I had no idea what a sweetheart neckline, A-line dress, raglan sleeve, mermaid or pick-up were (mermaids live in the sea as far as I’m aware, and the latter I always believed to be something you drove, or did in a bar.)
Quite how this knew-found knowledge will help me as an aircraft engineer, I’m not sure, but you can bet your bottom dollar if one of the victims in my books is a bride, there will be one hell of a description of what she is wearing.