‘Bloody brill back in Britain!’
So says Ben Barker, who’s a British expat in the USA and who has just returned to the States with loads of top banana things to say about the UK.
He’s so cheery and upbeat about Britain, I almost can’t wait to get on that plane this week and head on over myself.
(FYI: confession……I just watched the movie Night of the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and there are some great shots of London and when we saw it Harry and I were whispering to each other going ‘Ooooh, doesn’t London look faberooni!’) 😉
Anyway, enough Hollywooding of the UK, this is….
Ben’s Brilliant Britain 🙂
1. We British have humour as part of their DNA. I had light-hearted banter with shopkeepers, pub staff, strangers on the street and immigration officials – it’s just a way of life.
2. Britain loves history. Sitting in a pub dating to 1460…I could see the concept of time sinking in to my teenage kids. There’s nowhere like it for discovering your ‘place’ in history.
3. Who knew: British food is really good! Not just the traditional stuff, now there are cafes and restaurants cooking really good stuff with all kinds of international influences.
4. Public transportation in Britain is better than ever – clean, fast and generally on time – and people use it and trust it and love it.
5. It seems like there are ‘development’ and ‘projects’ and ‘schemes’ being invested in everywhere. The place seemed exciting and brimming with ideas on how to get things done!
6. Here’s an important one – the beer selection ‘on pull’ in pubs has really improved. The regional choices are varied and tasty.
7. I people-watched a lot and chatted whenever I could: the British public are diverse and interested and opinionated and knowledgeable and eccentric and different and concerned and charitable…and outward looking. I enjoyed every conversation.
8. The British countryside is still truly stunning. From coast to stream to farmland to moor to woodland to mountain it’ll still take your breath away.
9. I was struck by how ‘techy’ Britain is and how well ‘engineered’ everything is – from credit card systems to football stadium ticket scanners to hand dryers to sim cards to solar arrays to Sat Navs etc. Hi-tech is the norm.
10. Last, but not least, Britain remains a nation of dog lovers! They’re everywhere – all shapes and sizes. I used to think that a nation that watched the same TV shows at the same time always had something to talk about…or a nation obsessed with the weather always had something to chat about over the garden fence, but I now have to add the common bond of strangers discussing their fidos…and they do – a lot.
Now, I know Britain has problems (while I was there, there were headlines of inner city murder and child abuse cover ups and NHS emergency room waiting times and terrorist threats) – I’m not blind to those problems – but the good news is, no one in Britain is blind to them either. My sense is there is a normal, high level of work being done to fix the problems. The truth is I was interested to see what had changed to the Country I love and I am more than happy to report that what is fundamentally British hasn’t changed and may well have actually improved.
In short, Britain, in my opinion, is still brilliant and beautiful and this expat will try to get back as often as possible!
You can see more of Ben’s stuff about Britain, British pubs, pub banter and all sorts do with Britain stopping by his site BarkerBites 🙂
I’m super excited to get on over to Blighty now for that visit!