The letter, from my friend, actress Sheila Allen, was short and sweet:
Dearest A., I’m glad you're back from the 'savage lands' of the USA! It's been a long sojourn and I'm sure filled with important, excellent things. Good for your Darling English Boy for winning you back for us! It may take time to adjust, but you belong with us!
I hope Sheila’s right. To be sure, my sense of belonging will be put to the test soon enough. In a few months’ time, I shall sit the “Life in the UK Test” to become a full-fledged British citizen.
It is a good thing that I enjoy quizzes!
The “Life in the UK Test” is a compendium of facts and figures meant to edify would-be Brits in the mores, customs, laws and cultures of the UK. In short, it is the ultimate Pub Quiz. To succeed, one must pass the test with a score of 75%.
In my first attempt at the practice test online, I failed, with a of score 43%. Miffed at my result, I enlisted a few bona fide Brits to take the practice test, as well. My DEB fared slightly better, failing the test with a score of 45%. Our young nephew, Harry, aged 16, scored 17%. A family friend, who is a civil servant, trumped us all with a failing score of 55%.
All of this has led me to wonder whether a test such as this is in fact the best means of measuring an outsider’s suitability for British citizenship. Surely, there is more to being designated “British” than the power of recall. For example, memorizing that 1857 was “the year when British women were first able to divorce their husbands”, has very little to do with my day-to-day village life. So, in response, I have created a Citizenship test of my own – for any would-be residents of Barford.
Life in Barford Citizenship Test (Passing score: 75%)
a.) Church Bell Ringers rehearse on which night of the week?
b.) Who is the principal contact person for the Heritage Group?
c.) Barford W.I. meet on what evening?
d.) What year did the new Village Shop open?
e.) How many art galleries are there in Barford?
f.) Who penned the pantomime, “Alassin”?
g.) What is John Murphy’s former profession?
h.) To learn Scottish Dancing, whom should you contact?
i.) Characters from which Shakespeare play are depicted on the Mobile Library van?
j.) At what time is the earliest church service at St. Peter’s Church?
k.) Who were the most recent occupants of “Dragonyard”?
l.) Which Barfordian is known for her fluorescent yellow clothing?