Brighton-Hove, September 30th
We left our home base in Seattle in early April and have since lived in six different countries. Each place has it’s own charms. We’ve been in England since August 13. Here are a few of our favorite things about living in England.
Many kids call their mother,“Mummy.” Listening to the local accent makes us feel like we’re living in a Harry Potter movie. The kids are especially charming.
Dogs are welcome almost everywhere. It’s not uncommon to see dogs in restaurants or shops—as long as they’re well behaved. Reminds us of the same policy when we lived in Germany and could take our blonde cocker spaniel to the local gasthaus. They would supply her with a small water bowl and a biscuit as a treat. The picture from left is actually from a Glasgow pub where dogs are warned, “Three barks and you’re out.”
“Just Because” Bank Holidays. England refers to public holidays as “Bank Holidays.” Banks and many other businesses are closed or run on curtailed hours. In addition to standards such as New Year’s and Christmas Day, they have two Mondays in May and one in August that don’t commemorate anything—it’s just an excuse for a three-day weekend. Fun, until we showed up at the gym and found that they weren’t open, as they were on “Bank Holiday” hours.
Pound notes printed in other UK countries. Unlike the US, legal currency in the United Kingdom can be printed by eight different retail banks. And the notes for each bank can look different. When I tried to use a Northern Ireland pound note at a Chinese takeout restaurant in Glasgow the shopkeeper looked at it like I was trying to use monopoly money. Her middle school granddaughter came to my rescue and said it was okay–she had learned about it in school. Last weekend I used our final Bank of Scotland issued 20 pound note at a food fair. When she looked askance at it I jested that Scotland is still part of the United Kingdom. She laughed and took the note.
Public transportation. Other than a week and a half in Ireland, we haven’t rented a car on our adventure in Europe. And we’ve only used a taxi a handful of times. In England, Scotland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and France we’ve been able to depend on the bus, rail, and subway systems—supplemented by foot power—to get around.
Beer is not warm. Contrary to American mythology, English beer is not served room temperature. Some varieties are “cellar temperature,” but most are chilled. The craft beer revolution has arrived in force here. There are plenty of good options for a pint—or half pint.
Pound Land. The cost of living is high here but we’ve found the local equivalent of Dollar Tree: Pound Land. A pound is currently about $1.31 in value. We find a lot of bargains on name brand food and other supplies. Can’t get everything here, but if you keep your eyes out there are other bargain stores.
There are plenty of other reasons to love living here, but those are some of our favorites.