25 REFLECTIONS ON THE UK (PART 3 OF 3)

 

5. One more on cars. Parking is very funny in the UK. In North America, when you park on the street you must park in the direction of traffic in the appropriate designated area. In the UK, people park on either side of the road (direction is irrelevant) and often anywhere and everywhere. After all, parking wasn’t an issue hundreds of years ago so they really didn’t plan for it.

4. British people LOVE their dogs. We loved that they loved their dogs. Parks are full of dogs running around. The elderly (who seem healthier than North Americans) are always seen walking around with their dogs. Everywhere you go – dogs. On Wentworth, one of the more prestigious courses in the world, dogs are welcome. Our neighbour would golf every weekend with his lab running behind him. Amazing. We North American’s could learn something from the European’s in this regard – seeing a family with their small dog in the restaurant in Normandy was incredibly refreshing. That is a true ‘family’ out for dinner.

3. Everything has a cost and a benefit. I just realized, after 24 amazing months that one of my costs was that I never got to say good-bye to my dog, Bram. Ciao Bram.

2. It is all about people. England is a diverse culture and I am thankful to have worked with and met many amazing people who have a huge impact on my outlook on life and my character. In two years, I owe many people an enormous debt of thanks.

1. Life is about experiences, not things.

25 REFLECTIONS ON THE UK (PART 2 OF 3)

 

15. England is very old. Canada is very young. Two years later, driving by an old church or a pub that was built in the 1400s still amazes me. I could spend hours wandering a cemetery reading the inscriptions, history was made in the UK.

14. Stop signs should be banned in North America – long live the roundabout. North America should learn the lesson.

13. Spoiled food is good. In Canada, things don’t spoil quickly. In the UK they do. As an expat it is initially frustrating as you have to hit the store more often. However, you soon realize that quicker spoiling means less preservatives and definitely less salt. All organic is now the family motto. Oh yah, and I now detest chain store fast food – have been without it for 2 years and don’t miss it.

12. Male fashion is all about the brown shoes with the suit or jeans, and the French cuff shirt. Got it. Understood! But still don’t buy into the whole pink shirt thing. Sorry.

11. Parking in England is an adventure. Like everything else, the people building the homes and roads 1,000 years ago were just not thinking! I had a BMW 5 series estate. Parking with that car meant that every time that I got out of the car two things would happen: there would not be enough room so I would have to get out sideways and no matter how hard I tried, my door always touched the car beside me. The only car that actually had enough room to park was the Mini (which is why there are so many of them in England I suppose).  In the end, the UK has cars, but really isn’t made for cars. The UK was made for horses and walking.

10. The world is flat. Ten years ago, going international would have been a lot harder. Web cams, 1 hour phone calls for $1, email, digital photos and videos, cheap flights, social networking and XBOX LIVE keep you as connected .. as you want to be.

9. A Tom Tom GPS got me all around the UK, Washington, Scotland, Belgium, Paris and through Normandy. I cannot imagine doing this without a GPS. And I will never buy in car SATNAV again. Overpriced, hard to update and generally underperforms – mobile satnav for me please.

8. I have become a very proud Canadian. Canada is a great country, with a rich and varied culture (French, English and everyone else in the world) – with a proud link to Britain.

7. Customer service in the UK is a paradox. The milkman comes to the door 3 times a week (good), you can order groceries on the internet (good), Amazon lets you buy pretty much anything you can think of (books, DVDs, shoes, MP3 drm free downloads to filters for my Jura coffee maker) from one central place and have it delivered in 1 day (awesome). But the ‘convenience’ store on the corner closes at 6, the mall is closed at 6 on a Friday night, the 16 year old checkout boy at the counter sits down while checking me out and watches me pack my own bags, and on many occasions, because they thought we were American – they were downright rude.

6. The world owes the UK an enormous debt for their resolve during WWII. If it were not for this nations ability to hold out while the Americans made up their minds, the Germans would not have been stopped.

A SPIKE IN LONDON

If you look at this large pointy thing, sitting by a bridge in London, what would you think it is?

2008 May 28 45  _MG_9095 Our Day out for my 40th_

Your choices:

a) Over priced art the the city of London commissioned to make the city look ‘deep’.

b) A monument to mothers everywhere who have spent centuries yelling out ‘Don’t run with pointy things in your hands!’

c) A monument to medieval England and some rather unpleasant goings-on.

d) A giant sun dial.

The answer is a AND c. It is a spike meant to commemorate the location where traitors heads would be left on a pike to rot. Charming.

Tower bridge, however, is charming. Everyone thinks this is London Bridge, it is not.

2008 May 28 42  _MG_9092 Our Day out for my 40th_