A great place to live

There’s a nice opinion piece in the Guardian this week, written by an Australian who thinks Britain is wonderful. I 100% agree and can relate to all the things she says. I love living here and can’t think of anywhere else on Earth I’d rather live.

The people are friendly and polite. They will apologise when you bump into them. Motorists always give way and the British know how to queue fairly and in an orderly fashion, better than any other nationality.

I wholeheartedly agree with the author’s sentiments about British TV. Why are people on American TV shows so fake-looking? I love that British actors are normal people and there’s a wide range of ages. Actors on American TV shows are all young and beautiful and not at all representative of the wider population.

I love that I can ride my bike without a helmet if I want to. Where I come from I’d be fined for doing this. I love that I can take the borrow-my-doggy dogs to the park near our house and let them run around off-lead. I could never do that with my own dogs in Australia or New Zealand unless it was at a special dog park or fenced-off area. I love that dogs can go into restaurants and on trains. I love that there is such a thing as Borrow my doggy.

I love the education system which is very child-centered and progressive. I love the NHS which is amazing, despite being under-funded. Imagine how great it would be if we funded it properly.

I love the diversity of the population and the tolerance for different religions or no religion at all.

I love that I don’t have to pay my bank anything just to have an account. That might sound strange to some but in Australia and New Zealand you have to pay your bank to give them your money. I also love that I will soon get fibre to the house and there’s no installation charge. The monthly fee is also very cheap.

Most of all, I love the climate. It’s never hot here but I think it’s so funny that when the thermometer reaches 20C people start complaining, myself included. I’ve been sleeping with the fan on at night but it’s still colder here than in Brisbane’s winter.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, this week I discovered these delicious fruity oat biscuits from Doves Farm.

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It’s so easy to be vegan in the UK. People are very understanding of veganism and don’t pick arguments with me about it. There are vegan restaurants now and more and more restaurants are introducing a vegan menu.

There are no cockroaches or scary spiders. No earthquakes or volcanoes. No sharks or deadly jellyfish.

Houses have central heating and double-glazing. There’s a good train network and investments are being made to improve it. We can live happily and easily without owning a car.

Not everything is perfect but could that be said about anywhere?

11 thoughts on “A great place to live

  1. Okay, you’ve convinced me. I’ll be packing my bags in the fall when my lease here is up.

    (Kidding. Just a little.)

    Seriously, I love British TV and the fact that the actors look like real human beings, instead of those glossy beautiful models who look like they all walked out of an LA spa or gym. It’s been a while since I was in the UK, but I remember people being reflexively polite and kind. (Drivers not so much: it’s one of those funny ironies that the more polite a people are face to face, the ruder they are as drivers.) Vegan and vegetarian food wasn’t a thing when I was there, though I remember the large number of Indian restaurants where I could get a delicious veggie dish anytime. In the States at that period, vegetarianism was for hippies.

    In the US commercial banks charge fees for almost everything—writing checks, using the ATMs, even for not keeping the balance in your account above a certain amount. I switched to a credit union, which rarely charges me for anything, as long as I have an active account with them. I never biked in the UK , but the public transit system was so good I could get anywhere without needing a car. It’s also a pedestrian paradise compared to California: you can actually walk to a supermarket from your house and get all of your shopping done without a car. Here, if you don’t have a car, you’ll either have to walk at least three miles to the nearest store, or take the bus, which runs so infrequently that if you miss one, you’ll have to wait another half hour to 40 minutes for the nest one. With my eyesight declining as it is, I’m thinking I’ll have to move someplace where they have decent public transportation.. I don’t want to be like some of my neighbors, who have to wait until a friend or relative offers them a ride to the maket.

    1. It’s such a shame about American TV because a lot of good writing comes out of the US but I wish there was more diversity in age for their actors and also have people who look normal.

      Being able to walk to all the places in your neighborhood is essential for good quality of life as far as I’m concerned. This was a big requirement for us when we moved to the UK because we struggled to have this in Auckland which is also a very car-centric urban sprawl. I wouldn’t want to be dependent on lifts from friends and family either.

  2. The article forgot to mention that british people love to complain about things that don’t matter 🙂 Great read though – both your post, and the article.

  3. Yes I appreciate all those things as well. People especially don’t appreciate the education system. You can’t beat a good British state school, although unfortunately there are some that aren’t good. The worst thing is that everyone is forced to be too academically focused, and there is no organised route from education into jobs for the non-academic, but hopefully the new OFSTED framework will improve that situation.

    1. It’s good to hear you sing the praises of the state school education system since I know you have inside information through your work. I have nothing but good experiences of it as a parent watching the kids go through.

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