An anonymous Dungannon man has finally spoken about the secret support groups set up all over England to help exiled natives prepare for the trip home over the Christmas period. The document below, produced as evidence of the extensive networking system especially in north England, clearly sets out a seven-point plan which most will need to complete within the next few days in order to stave off THE FEAR, as it’s known across the water.
- REFAMILIARISATION OF LOCAL VERNACULAR
It is likely that some local words have now left your vocabulary during your time abroad. It even might also be a case of changing definitions. Two of the most common mistakes are misunderstanding the true meanings of ‘lethal’ and ‘deadly’. In England, these may be adjectives to describe something untoward and nasty. However, in Dungannon and suchlike, it couldn’t be a higher compliment. If someone says the burger you’re eating is ‘deadly’, don’t chuck it away for fear of catching something fatal. It’s probably delicious. The weather might also be deadly. That IS bad.
- FACIAL REACTIONS
If someone comes up to you and says that Joe Herron is now a vegan or a cross-dresser or going with someone from Armagh, look completely shocked even though you haven’t a clue who Joe Herron is, because you’ve been away a long time. Say something like ‘Holy God, but I’m not surprised, he was always a bit..you know…’. That should get you out of that hole.
- PALATE DESENSITISATION
It is likely you have been eating a wide range of food in England. You need to train your tastebuds again to like pepper sauce and garlic fries. A Coalisland epicurist who worked for ten years in Landi’s in the town will be secretly flying over to Manchester this weekend to give a crash course on this.
- HAND-SHAKING FITNESS REGIME
Many exiles have sleepless nights over forgetting how to do the handshake at Mass, therefore outting themselves as a lapsed churchgoer whilst in England. Follow this program to pull off a natural and supposedly experienced handshake. This is also useful for going to the pub with an elderly relative.
- SUBSCRIBE TO THE IRISH NEWS NOW
The death notices need to be read daily with a whole day given to browsing archive deaths since you’ve been away. This is crucial. Don’t be asking about dead people during Christmas dinner with The Pogues singing in the background. It’s a real mood killer and you’ll likely be on the plane home that evening. Also, memorise how the local club got on too. Pretend you keep an eye on their results.
- REMIND PEOPLE AT HOME THAT SCARCE TOYS ARE NOT READILY AVAILABLE IN ENGLAND
Unfortunately, this is unavoidable. People will still believe England is an exotic land full of everything that we can’t get here and will want you to bring home kilos of presents, with a promise of ‘sorting you out’ financially when they see you. Turn off your phone at night. They will also expect you to bring home spices and stuff.
- DIG OUT YOUR CHARLIE PRIDE/NATHAN CARTER/GARTH BROOKS CD
You need to know the chorus of all songs likely to be sung around midnight in most drinking establishments. Friends In Low Places is a must.