Saying goodbye to curved cucumbers

10-04-2004

Just a few weeks now and we will cross the magic line. On May 1st we will all wake up in an EU member state. Of course, we are entitled to a last minute fit of nerves. The Poles are buying up sugar by the carload, the Hungarians are worried that they will no longer be able to buy full cream milk and we Czechs have been given reason to believe that curved cucumbers are not allowed on the common market.

Moreover, Christmas trees will have to be perfectly symmetrical and every ship sailing down the Vltava river will have to carry at least 200 condoms on board at all times. Also, fishermen will have to wear hair-nets. Though of course, this latter piece of information is causing the Poles more concern than us. Given their geographic location they have more sailors and will therefore need more hair-nets. And many more condoms. Bee hives must meet strict EU norms -completely different from our own and I believe there is also a guideline stating the ideal circumference of water melons. Czech farmers will have to give their pigs toys to play with - even if they have to take them away from their children- or face the wrath of Brussels. So - are we joining the European community or moving to a different planet? Commentators say that these wild, pre-accession rumours are perfectly normal. As is fear of change and loss of identity. Humour is a way of ventilating this, so they say. Only six years ago the British produced what is probably the best Euro myth of all -curved bananas are banned in the EU. Naturally, we got to hear about that as well. Well, we'll find out soon enough. Some time ago a radio talk show host asked me what would be the first thing I'd do when my country joined the EU. I was rather taken aback, having no immediate plans on accession. Now I know. I will head straight for the nearest market place and look around for a curved cucumber. Just to make sure - because you never know, do you?

10-04-2004