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England at its best!


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Just returned from 10 days in East Mids. The countryside, gardens, etc, were just stunning. No trafiic, no crowds, everybody polite, friendly, helpful- just so beautiful. And I kept thinking, where is this overcrowded, nasty, ugly Blighty so many Forum people write about? Everyday, as I drove and walked through miles and miles of pristine rolling views, lambs playing Kind of the Castle, lovely villages, brick, granit, ironstone, thatched or Collyweston/Swithland slate - canals + colourful boats, great pubs, good food, +++++

Stunning and quintessential England in May. Arghhhhhh

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This has really struck a chord. I come from the East Midlands and my daughter rings me up on a regular basis to tell me how wonderful the May blossom is in some sort of revenge for wishng she was here in France. I was trying to keep the 'wrong end of the Cotdswolds' bit a secret. For the same reason I never mention Northumberland - I don't want too many other people to know about it.



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We've been back in UK for 10 days so far, and it's very much as you say here in Berkshire. The weather has been fairly warm and sunny, gardens and countryside are lovely, and the dawn choruses are wonderful! We left Gard as the lilacs and horse chestnut candles were fading, and arrived in UK to see them just at their best here. Definitely like deja vu!

We don't spend half the year in France to escape UK weather or particular problems, just that we have loved France warts and all for many years - over 50 since my first visit, with almost non-existent French and dreadful sea-sickness that lasted for days - following a long, rough overnight crossing to my penpal's home. We don't personally see much where we live of the problems that do exist in many areas of UK (and also in France), but having taught in very 'challenging' schools in various problem areas around the UK for over 30 years, I know they do very much exist.

We return to France next week for a couple of months until the heat of the south drives us back to the UK, although the forecast is for a hot summer after 2 wet years - up to 30, I hear!


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I am off soon for a family visit in the Torbay area and also in Plymouth and I cannot wait. Although I live in France I would never slate England and I always look forward to my visits very much. We go several times a year and it is not just seeing family and all the new babies that have been born since we decided to live in France it is my UK fix that I need now and again. We love  living in France and have some really nice friends both English and French but England will always be my homeland, good or bad.
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65 million people in a country the third the size of France with a higher number of cars per family means that its is over crowded compared to France. The southeast has some beautiful uncrowded spots, but the roads are always stuffed bumper to bumper from May till October, plus every weekend, and every rush hour. The grass is always greener, but somehow in France it really is (if you can afford it)

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[quote user="krusty"]

Winston Churchill

Isambard Kingdom Brunell

The Beatles

The Spitfire



Dead for a long time (and son of a Frenchman anyway)

50% dead (of the other 2, only 1 is a musician,the other a drummer)

Finest hour nearly 70 years ago

Hmm, your choice says much about England in the 21st century


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So wot about things like Tamoxifen? World's best selling drug for recovery from breast cancer, with a huge success rate if the condition detected early enough. I think a lot of ladies - and their nearest & dearest - would say England did rather well there, too.......
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[quote user="Owens88"]

We live in the East Midlands (near Swithland) and the last few weeks have indeed been wonderful with nature's colours.

If only July and August were so reliable.








It's June you need to worry about.  Wimbledon equals Rain?


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[quote user="Gluestick"]

Try Balham.

[/quote]Actually, I (and Arthur Smith, amongst others) rather like Balham.  My father lived there and it really is a very "villagey" bit of London.  When he died, the crem' was packed with loads of people from the local shops, pubs and restaurants which he frequented, of many different races and backgrounds. 

Like the East Midlands, I guess it's easy to be rude about places you don't know very well.

Sorry, Gluey, that sounded a bit unpleasant, but honestly, I do like the place, it has a very nice atmosphere (and very convenient for quick access to central London, if that's your thing.)

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I used to (Please note the past tense), used to go to Balham and may parts of both East and South London quite a bit; on business. And North London too.

However this was nearly 30 years ago now.

I have during the past ten years travelled a little around most of the London suburbs, here and there, and, as each year has progressed have less and less inclination to do so: as I have little desire to "Go up West", despite the fact that I used to spend much time between the City and West End at one period of my business life.

During a bad train strike, many years ago, I "Borrowed" a flat from a friend who was in Australia and spent some time living in Walworth, a spit and a throw from the Elephant and Castle and indeed, it was like a small village - just. The elderly lady downstairs, a charming old Londoner typical of her type was clinging on to her flat, even though the local authority was doing its best to send her off to a tower block; and this gave her constant stress, as friends who had already been compulsorarily moved were effectively marooned by lifts going wrong all the time and isolation from that which they knew.

While streets had been emptied under Compulsory Purchase for "Redevelopment"; and then lack of money meant they stayed as they were: shuttered up with corrugated iron and barbed wire.

It is not the place I knew: any of it. Bear in mind, both my mother and father came from London; and from 1936 until he finally retired, circa 1970, my late father's business was in Walthamstow; and all my maternal family came mainly East London.

The East Midlands.

Well, I lived in Rushden, Northants for a couple of years, back in the war. And regularly used to go and stay with my dear "Aunty Hilda", a stout motherly lovely lady up until 1960, when she passed this mortal coil. She and her husband Albert, both worked "In't shoes": all of which many years ago.

I have a chum who lives on the outskirts of Peterborough (Which, according to many, is part of East Midlands): I'll pass your comment along; however, I won't repeat his comments as they would have me banned from the forum, instantly! And in all probability arrested by Brown's "Thought Police".

Since a major client was based at Humberside some years back, I regularly used to drive right up through the Wash to meet with them. I also know Lincolnshire pretty well, too.

There is also the odd racing circuit based in East Midlands too, remember, JE! And we always tried to have time to see some of the place the day before (Unofficial practice) and sometimes the day after.

A look at the main towns and some little knowledge of their post-industrial difficulties, perhaps, might aid empathy with my thinking.

For me, the callous and wholly indifferent Thatcher destruction of whole communities and failure to do anything much to resurrect their serious work potential provides a bit of a clue here. Again taking into account I am a slavish devotee of engineering and a Fred Dibner fan of great magnitude! Bless his memory.

Glasgow is a city of great contrast: and was when I first spent some time there in about 1971: driving or walking around Milngavie, for example, could cause one to eulogise. Wicki says it all for me: "Milngavie is a  commuter town, with much of its working population travelling to Glasgow to work...................."

One word: "Work".

Same with Edinburgh: another of my and Mrs Gluey's favourite British cities. Drive over the toll bridge into Dunfermline and one enters a new and lovely place (Not that the "Nice" bit of the city isn't: trouble is there are some really horrid bits too.).

I could take anyone (And have, foreign visitors in particular) to parts of Essex where they would fall about and fall in love simultaneously: such as Dedham, on the very edge of Suffolk and one can stand on one corner in the High Street (Just outside the Sun Inn in fact, pint of decent real beer in hand come to that!), and see the scene Constable painted for "The Hay Wain".

But then, I could take you to many towns and places in Essex, where you would wish to emulate Jacky Smith, wear body armour and enjoy being escorted by ten of the TFU guys, before you felt marginally safe!

And I would suggest that these were, in terms of population, predominant: and in terms of wealth pretty protoypical.

Rather like driving around the nicest bits of Cheshire and saying, "Isn't England a nice place!".

But then, I could also take you (Not that I would dare or want to offend or upset any nice person's aesthethetic soul!) on a whistle-stop tour of Noveau Chigwell, around Christmas; but would have to cadge a few dozen sick bags from an airline in order to preserve the upholstery on the old Beema![6]

Perhaps it can be best summed up as, "All is not gold........................................"





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