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What is the brutal truth about living in the UK? …
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Posted by:
Greg Lance – Watkins
Greg_L-W

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LONDON MAP 01

Hi,

I have discovered in the decades I have lived in Britain, that it is not as bad as I had originally thought. Yes, public transport costs are higher than France, but petrol is now cheaper than France. I thought food was expensive in the UK, only to find that my beloved France costs a minimum of two and a half times more in the supermarket for the same food on a weekly shop.

London rental and purchase prices for housing (and I mean flats and housing) is about the same as Paris, but much less expensive than Munich. Edinburgh is also on a par with London.

The NHS -, yes everyone has to pay into it. It struggles, but the level of care is amazeballs. I recently went to the accident and emergency of my local hospital-ok, I had to wait for 4 hours after triage, but they did every test known to man, and sent me home, asking I kept them informed about my condition, which resolved itself quickly without surgical or medical intervention.

COMMUNITIES – every part of London is a small village, and everyone seems to know someone or someone who knows you. People are helpful, and all foreigners I meet are charming and charmed by the English and the English way of life.

SALARIES – what I do know is that the minimum living wage is higher than France, Belgium, Spain, Italy…and that the taxes are lower than France even including the compulsory national insurance scheme. Senior management is better paid than in France, and UK doctors are the highest paid in Europe.

SOCIAL MOBILITY – education at primary, secondary and tertiary levels is on a par with France, except that children go to school a year earlier than France. Uk universities are becoming more democratic, enabling students to go who would not have got in ten years ago, which enables people, especially young people to exceed their expectations. British society seems to be far more based on meritocracy than ever before.

CRIME – certain crimes have increased, but crime statistics compare very favourably with Germany and France…. And way below US stats.

FOOD – the UK had bad food in restaurants, 50 years ago, (hence the perpetual historic snub), but nowadays you can eat an excellent two course meal with a glass of wine for £15 in London! It is a question of looking for them amongst the myriads of tourist traps. London has its fair share of superlative Michelin starred restaurants and meals for all tastes at all prices. A good meal, for 3, including a bottle of wine, is about £30 per head inclusive of service, which means you don’t have to tip! And, by the way, England has, officially, more cheeses than France. English puddings are to die for, custard is a must, and there is nothing like a Sunday roast.

DEMOCRACY – Norway seems to have the highest quotient in the world, the UK is 4th, above France, which comes in at 6. The US is 12th, from memory.

I was brought up in France and was eventually sent to school in the UK despite my protestations that I was French, not English as my parents told me. I go back to my patrie every year for at least a month, sometimes straying to Spain and Italy, but my home is England.

I am, primarily, a social historian, having written for papers and magazines for many years, as well as writing books. My next, an opus, nearing completion, is a book on London seen through the eyes of Londoners and the French.

I am also helped by the fact that I speak French and Spanish like a native, Italian like an Italian, but I struggle to find some words. I also speak and write enough Russian to be accused of being from Moscow by a Russian in St Petersburg. I am now enjoying learning Arabic, and am also a genealogist.

To view the original article CLICK HERE

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Regards,
Greg_L-W.

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Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
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