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October 29, 2007


Edward Cunningham

You ask if anyone has a good word for the UK.

Well I have several for the land of my birth! I had the opportunity more than 30 years ago to go and live in Spain in a new home with a Spanish wife and daughter. The best laid plans... Etcetera... and I found myself back in the UK at the end of an Army career and also at the end of a marriage. Using the old familiar patterns, the UK and I then set ourselves up, and I quickly found a home, a new wife and a new job.
We here in sunny Northumberland have the glorious vistas of a huge national park ( Kielder) virtually on our doorstep and the biggest man made reservoir in the UK ensures that we do not ever have to put up with hosepipe bans like the rest of the UK during the occasional "Dry winter" Our temperature in Summer time rarely reaches above 28.C.but conversely the Winter levels are rarely below -5.C.

The much maligned NHS has been literally my life saver, prompt radical action to stop a potentially fatal arterial bleed from my upper nasal passage took 4 operations over 3 days. All "free at the point of contact"

As, was the triple CABG back in 1997, with the subsequent follow up of very expensive heart protective medication taken daily since... All free.

A few years ago my State pension kicked in, supplementing my Army and Company pensions. These are paid into my bank and qualify each year for the annual anti- inflationary rises

When I pass a building site in the UK I note that when the job is finished off the entire outside area is carefully tidied up and sometimes even landscaped. Not so in Spain where the areas around the many new constructions look like a desert / waste tip/ /rubbish dump for months if not years afterwards.

A recent trip by train to Cartagena from London brought me through what was probably the most disgusting entrance to any city. The environs of the ancient City of Murcia as displayed to the rail visitor are a disgrace and an indictment on the locals for their lack of civic pride.

I'm content in the UK. I like Spain and (most) of the Spanish people. I speak and understand Spanish to an acceptable level and rarely have any difficulty communicating whilst in Spain.

The UK is not perfect but we don't suffer from the regular extremes of red hot weather or torrential rains as I experienced in Spain.

Arpi Shively

Paco - thanks for your comment, but do you mean Padul or London?
Regards, Arpi


I have to say the same,
"but we wouldn't return (to live) there for anything!"
What a dirty awful place!

Arpi Shively

Thanks Lennox for reading and commenting on this post. Certainly true that going back to London gets more uncomfortable with each passing year. I try to say I'm going home,but there's so much I don't understand!

Your blog seems really interesting too, lots of strong opinions!

Thanks again,


For me, going to the UK is like going to some odd country like Sweden or something. I suddenly don't understand the money, looking left as I cross, paying (lots) as I order a drink and the rest of it. Eyes glaze in boredom if I talk about Spain and eyebrows raise in disbelief if I didn't know that the dustmen only come once a week or that the (much vaunted) health service is terrible. I went to London for a few days earlier this year for the first time in over twenty years. Jeebus! The bookshops were good though and I eventually found a nice Spanish place...

Arpi Shively

Thanks Dave. Yes, the mountains figure in several of our friends' accounts of returning here and feeling at home. It does beat the North Circular Road on a rainy drive from Gatwick. Still, I do sometimes visualise a cosy Cafe Nero and a GIANT Waterstones conveniently sited at one end of Lanjaron!
Regards, Arpi

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