6 Things I Like About England

I’ve spent a lot of time on this blog bitching about the UK so I thought I would try to show that I’m not ALWAYS so miserable. Here are 6 good things about England:

1. Organic milk and egg deliveries – this one is important to me because I have three small children and always run out of milk and eggs. It is wonderfully convenient and we have a very friendly milkman that I imagine used to happen in the States in the 50s. When I was living in New York and San Fran, you could get your food delivered but I don’t think there were milkmen like there are here. It’s just really nice to have that delicious, fresh-off-the-farm milk with that thick cream on top delivered to your door in old-fashioned milk bottles. I love it!

2. Eurostar to Paris – OK, so maybe this is more about Paris than London or England but it is fabulous to be in London at 10am and then Paris at noon. Not only that but I’m about 2 hours from most of Europe which is great for wonderful weekend breaks. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to take as much advantage of that in the last 3 years but that’s going to change now that the twins are just turning 2! Paris, here we come!

3. Public footpaths – In England walking/hiking is one of the most popular past times. Anywhere you go in the country, you will see signs on fields that say “public footpaths”. This means you are allowed to cross through privately owned farms and fields along the marked footpaths. So you could walk through a field of sheep or cows with no worries of being ‘shot for trespassing’ as in the US. I think that’s nice. And most people are quite respectful and make sure to close the gates and not litter. It makes for beautiful, long walks through rolling hills of fields and forests.

4.  Free healthcare for kids – normally I am not a fan of the NHS (National Health Service) but there are a couple of components that I think are great with regards to kids.  If your child has a serious illness I feel it would be MUCH better to have him/her treated in the US.  However, there are three things that they do well:  free prescriptions, free inoculations and monitoring, and free dentist care.  Anytime you need to get antibiotics or any other kind of prescription (including the expensive lactose-free prescription formula that I used for the twins for a year) it is free and easy to pickup.  I think that is very helpful and great for the poorest families.  The NHS also monitors your baby’s age and as he/she reaches certain months, they tell you when to go in for an immunization which you can do quickly and easily and of course without cost.  This is especially helpful when your child is 3 or 4 years old and it’s been a while since the last immunization and you are more prone to forget.  I also think that’s good for society as a whole, making sure all children are kept free of the worst diseases.  (I’m not sure how it’s done in America but I don’t think it is this organized).  And finally, the free dentist care.  The best part of this is that you don’t have to go to special NHS dentists which may be hard to find.  I go to a private dentist who is quite good and every time I bring Will for a checkup, it’s free.  I love that!  Should be especially useful when the big teeth come in and he starts getting cavities.

5.  Black cabs – In London, the cabbies drive what is known as black cabs.  They are wonderful taxis for several reasons.  First and foremost, they are spacious enough so you can roll your stroller right into the back and you don’t have to carry a car seat with you at all times.  It is so convenient especially when you have twins in a double stroller.  I can’t imagine what I would do if I lived in NYC.  Second, the cabbies are all quite friendly and extremely knowledgeable of London streets.  Unlike many New York taxis who might even ask you where Bleecker Street is, London cabbies know EVERY single street no matter how small and also know the quickest way there at various times of day.  It is quite impressive.  The test to become a cabbie is very competitive and involves a detailed test of London streets called “The Knowledge” which requires about 2 years of roaming the streets with a moped so you can learn everything.  Well done, London!  By the way, a survey just came out that listed London black cabs as the friendliest and best cabs in the world.  Guess who was last…..Parisian cabs!   Black cabs beat yellow taxis to be named best in the world | Mail Online.

6.  Pub culture – Pubs are truly a wonderful establishment.  People who don’t live in England might not understand the difference between a pub and a bar.  First of all, good pubs generally welcome patrons of any age, be it a 90-year-old grandmother or a 6 month old baby.  It’s great to see three generations of a family enjoying each other’s company on a regular basis.  Certainly there is drinking here but it’s not only about getting alcohol.  It’s a place to sit down, have a beer (or not) with friends and family, order some nice hearty food and enjoy a lively ambiance.  My husband and I use pubs as a family outing regularly.  Our local pub has a lovely enclosed garden where the kids can run wild while we enjoy a pint in the sunshine and order chips for the kids.  And there is no one rushing you out — you could sit there all day if you wanted to.

It’s a short list but these are really nice things.  I am sure that there are probably more things I like but I just can’t think of them right now.  🙂


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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I grew up with milk deliveries in NJ, and miss that they are no longer popular. The whole experience was a joy – from the sound of the milk bottles being placed in the metal cooler-container each morning to the taste of fresh milk at our table.

    So appreciate you taking the time to write a positive. Nice balance.
    P.S. Found you on the EPL B

    • Thanks for the comment Karen. I checked out your website. What a great career you have carved for yourself. Must be quite rewarding. My goal is to get back into teaching when the twins start school so I have somewhere to direct my energies and to exercise my muddled brain! 🙂

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