Some years ago I became Swiss, as well as staying British. I thought it would look good on my C.V. However, being Swiss is never easy. Take the recent 'voting Sunday'. For many of us Swiss that day, not to say the weeks before were ruined by having to make up our minds. These are never easy decisions to be taken lightly and can affect the future prosperity and very stability of Switzerland.

By contrast the British half of me has a very easy life. Every four to five years I vote by simply putting a cross in a box - or is it a tick? I forget, whichever it is, it is the opposite of what one does in boxes in Switzerland. Rather like the 'salt and pepper' rule. If you don't know the 'salt & pepper', take a look at the condiments next time you eat out. The holes are reversed - like 'y' and 'z' on keyboards. Funnz, heh?

So, this British cross (or tick) is to determine who of three or four candidates will make all the decisions for you. With luck, the candidate you voted for does not get elected at all. Then you can grumble about the useless government you have, adding that you didn't even vote for them.

This lack of voting pressure gives rise to the British carefree attitude to life, in stark contrast to the Swiss. Who even find saying 'hello' can be a minefield for the unwary. The first problem is that hello, which is Grüezi in my neighbourhood, is for strangers and folk you don't know very well. If you do know the person you are Grüezi-ing then you need to add their name after it. Worse still you need to remember if you are on first-name terms with them and if so, Grüezi is not a greeting, but an insult which says "I rate your importance so low that I forgot we are on first-names and am treating you like a stranger".

You may think that Grüezi-ing strangers is an easy matter, but first you must know where the Grüezigrenze is. This is an imaginary frontier and made-up word, so use it with care. Obviously, as you stroll the High Street or shopping mall you don't go Grüezi at strangers, although the rules about people you do know still apply here. As you move away from the shops and reach a residential area, you are suddenly aware that folk are saying Grüezi to you. Somewhere between your home and the supermarket, you crossed the invisible border where saying Gruetzi changes from being ridiculous to compulsory.

Maybe I’ll just stay indoors.