I was in the barbers last week talking about a recent visit to the South of France. I was asked where I would most like to live. I said "not the South of France" - much too hot in summer nowadays, the beaches are skirted by major roads, the prices are too high. I said "I think here is the best place and that is why I live here". The barber seemed shocked, she had only really seen here and had a couple of Mediterranean holidays so had no idea that this was best.I have visited over 100 countries. I have walked up to Macchu Pichu, have sunbathed on the beaches of the Greek Islands, danced tango in Buenos Aires, have explored India and SE Asia repeatedly, criss crossed Europe and travelled the Silk Road. I have also taken my family around most of the British Isles in a camper van
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I have visited over 100 countries. I have walked up to Macchu Pichu, have sunbathed on the beaches of the Greek Islands, danced tango in Buenos Aires, have explored India and SE Asia repeatedly, criss crossed Europe and travelled the Silk Road. I have also taken my family around most of the British Isles in a camper van (mobile kennel). Yet here I am, living in the UK.
Why here? I am looking out at a sunny bay through golden leaves. It is warm enough to look forward to taking my dogs on a walk along the vast number of local footpaths. The land is green grass and fertile valleys. Locally crime is low and the roads in fair condition. If I become ill the treatment is free and my children could have been educated for free until 18. In the summer it is hot enough to sunbathe on the shore but not so hot that midday is a chore. In the winter the snow is an excitement every couple of years but not an annual nightmare. The towns have existed continuously for hundreds of years and contain venerable buildings in profusion, each of which would be the envy of most countries. The people are educated and malnutrition through lack of food is unknown.
The classism is a problem. My neighbours know this is the best place. Some are directors of multinationals who keep holiday homes here, knowing that when they retire in a few years they can return from the States or China and exploit our Health Service, having contributed nothing. Others live here whilst their husbands work abroad. Having generated millions in tax revenue for this country this irks me. The upper classes can do no wrong in their own eyes.
The friends of my adult children tell me that we should stay in the EU. When I tell them that the "Shared Competences" in the EU Treaties mean that most of the powers of government in the UK are delegated to it by the EU they shrug their shoulders. They believe that all that will happen is that we will eventually be in a region governed from Brussels rather than in a region governed from Westminster. I say "but who will care for this land?" and, not having seen other lands except on brief holidays they look at me uncomprehendingly.