Saturday, 1 October 2011

Is it really so bad?

Is it really so bad? OK, so now it’s official: the UK is the worst place to live in Europe, well at least in the countries included in the uSwitch quality of life index. Apparently we have the worst weather, the second lowest hours of sunshine, the highest cost of living, the fourth highest retirement age and fewer days holiday than other places. (Once again, I have occasion to be glad to be born when I was and so to have been able to retire at 60. Phew, what a relief to be old enough to do these things.)

We even die sooner than the French do and our government spends less on health and education than many other places. We even come behind the Irish with all their current economic problems. And still we’re not out on the street protesting?

(At least we don’t live somewhere like Saudi Arabia where you can be punished for protesting, not just with time in a cell or a fine but with a number of lashes. Women are banned from driving because freedom of movement puts them in danger of sinning – just by giving them the opportunity to do so – and so they need protectin
g. Men of course don’t need such protection. Is it because they are all strong enough to resist temptation? A woman who protested by getting in her car and driving around was sentenced to 10 lashes. Her sentence was removed by order of the king who is described as “gently pushing for reform”. There has been no official confirmation of the ruling but it seems that Princess Amira al-Taweel, wife of the Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, tweeted: “Thank God, the lashing of Shaima is cancelled. Thanks to our beloved king. I am sure all Saudi women will be so happy. I know I am.” Maybe she should also get in a car and go for a drive instead of being so very grateful!!!)

Despite all the talk of how awful it is to live in the UK, it really doesn’t seem
so bad at the moment. The sun has been shining nicely all week. So what have I and all the other ladies on our row of houses done? Washed everything that wasn’t pinned down, of course. There’s nothing like a bit of good weather to get us filling those washing machines and pegging stuff on the line. It’s just as if it will stop you having to wash it all on dull, wet days.

But that’s not all I’ve done. We’ve been out and about, taking the kids to paddle in the sea last weekend – only the British paddle in September, I’m sure.

And yesterday we were off having lunch with friends in Manchester where we saw that the deck chairs were out so that the workers could catch some midday sun. Splendid.

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