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You may have seen photos in the news about the ceramic poppies placed at the Tower of London in honor of the fallen soldiers of WWI. My family took a trip to the Tower this summer as the poppies were … Continue reading
One of the things I love about the UK is the quirky and eccentric sense of humor many (not all) of its citizens possess. (Though sometimes I don’t love it because it’s so understated and quietly sarcastic that you don’t know if you’re being made fun of or not.) So I wasn’t surprised when, browsing the online edition of The Guardian a few weeks ago, I found an article titled “What are your dull hobbies?”
Because of course. Yes, in the UK, there is, of all things, a Dull Men’s Club, which boasts 5,000 (5,000!) members. And they have released a sort of “pin-up” calendar featuring some of their dull members.
Mr. January, for example, travels the nation taking photos of roundabouts. Mr. April has collected over 20,000 milk bottles, and claimed that particular month in the calendar because it is when he gives his bottles their annual spring clean. Mr. July collects traffic cones and likes to swap them if he finds a rare one. (There are rare traffic cones?) Mr. October is a man after my own heart, for he is founder of the “Apostrophe Protection Society.”
(Though on investigating further I discovered that the Dull Men’s Club was first founded in New York in the 1980s. Sigh. Delusions shattered.)
Still. You can’t make this stuff up.
Photo courtesy of the Dull Men website.
But I don’t, not really.
The multinational British-based bank HSBC just released its annual survey of best places for expats to live in the world. (And yes, I’m bearing in mind Mark Twain’s quote about “lies, damned lies, and statistics.”) (Oh, and also: I got this from the Washington Post, and its headline reads: “The Best Places in the World to be a Rich Foreigner.” Must bear this in mind, as while some of us in this family are “foreigners,” some are not, but we are most definitely not rich.) Countries were ranked on quality of life, raising children, and salaries earned. Out of 34 countries, guess where Great Britain ranked? After Kuwait, India, China, and Bahrain?
33rd. 33rd out of 34 countries for quality of life.
Well color me depressed.
Graphic courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Why must it be nearly Halloween? Because of this guy:
This guy was on my kitchen threshhold just moments ago. Now he resides in my vacuum cleaner. Yes, yes, I know: we need spiders. (Non-poisonous) Spiders are our friends! All I have to say about that is:
Spiders are our friends outside. Not in my house.
Wow. Today marks the third anniversary of our move to England–and while I’m not sure where the time has gone, I also feel these have been three extraordinarily long years. I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned since we moved here, and thought I’d share some of it here:
1. Spiders win. Always. (I swear they reincarnate–within an hour of eliminating a spider and web in one spot, up crops another.)
2. It rains way too much here.
3. When the sun shines, it really is a most beautiful country.
4. Cream tea almost makes living here worth it.
5. When driving on a narrow country lane, bigger car wins. Smaller car backs up so large car can pass first. (I wish everyone obeyed this rule, but those who feel genetically or socially superior, or something, frequently won’t budge.)
6. Driving to Heathrow Airport is a nightmare of epic proportions. Having driven there twice in the past month, and about to head there again on Tuesday, it should be on a “1,000 Things NOT to Do Before You Die” list. It’s 64 miles of pure torture. On a good day, it should take 1.5 hours. On a bad day . . . and there only seem to be bad days . . . 3 hours of stop-start-stop wall-to-wall traffic.
A year ago at this time I was preparing to visit family in the States, and at the time I would have done anything to not return here. I considered every option multiple times but I reluctantly returned to give it another year. I’m renewing my option for another year, but I’m not in that same awful place I was a year ago. There’s not much that’s easy about moving countries, but there’s a little more brightness here than there was. I’m not going to judge any of it today, not going to chime in with the rest of the family’s views. We’re here, for better or worse, and in a year, we’ll see.