United Kingdom


 

In my home city of Gloucester in England today. Its a bank holiday just as it is in America and once a year they do this…

 

 

The hill they race down is steep as you’ll see and there are a lot of injuries from it. People come to compete from around the world. Heres the offical website that explains more Cheese Rolling 

 

Just wanted to share with you the Pavement drawings of Julian Beaver. An amazing talent as you’ll see below with his 3D chalk drawings on pavements around the world . Check his website above for more of his work and just in time for Christmas heres what happens when you drop your letter for Santa through the slit in the post box….

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We were just “little people” living in England. 2 little people with normal little jobs living in a normal little house doing normal little things.. you get what i’m trying to say here Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Living in a big city we were just “faces in the crowd” getting up, working long hours, getting home, having dinner, watch tv and then go to bed. Repeat this cycle 5 times a week. We were working to live and that was all as everything is so expensive there.

Heres a few facts..
In the UK there are 60m people and that figure is rising at a significant rate due to the EU (European Union) and all the member countries which mean that anyone pretty much right across the whole of Europe can come to UK and live.. and they do too.

60m people is about one fifth of the population of the USA but with America being as big as it is, you could fit the whole of the UK into an area the size of Maine, Vermont and about a third of New Hampshire!
1/5 of the whole population of the USA living in an area about 1/20 the size of America. Its crowded and shows no sign of changing any time soon

Its expensive to live there too.

Gas (petrol) in UK costs equal to around $8.20 a gall
Cars in UK that are also for sale in the USA cost approx twice the price in UK. As an example the Toyota RAV4 costs $28k in USA and in UK costs about £28k which equates to $56k. I tried this little cost exercise with 4 makes of car or truck and thats how it works out every time. My SUV would of cost me equal to £12.5k and you can’t even get a 3 wheel car for that in UK let alone a 3litre V6 SUV!

In UK you have to buy a licence for owning a TV once a year at a cost of equal to $300. Thats right, dog licence, drivers licence and a TV licence! You can have as many TV’s as you like for that $300 though but you have to have one otherwise the TV licencing police who drive around surburbia in the middle of the night with their detector vans looking to pick up radio waves coming from properties that the computers in the vans say are not registered as having a licence. If they come across a property like that they are within their rights to take you to court where you can actually be fined equal to about $2k or sent to prison for a few months! Yeah i know.. “big brothers” alive and well in the UK but thats how it is. The licence money goes to the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) for making programmes, paying the wages of employees and presenters etc as the BBC is the only group of channels that does not have commercials, but thats not the point as the licence fee is outdated and should be got rid of in my opinion.

This is how it used to be in the early days

Nowadays things are more high tech as the following articles show

The old days

How it is now

Terminology of devices requiring a licence

According to the definition of TV receiving apparatus, a licence must be obtained for any device which is “installed or used” for receiving television programme services. This covers:

  • Televisions
  • VCR’s
  • Set-top boxes
  • PC tuner cards capable of receiving broadcasts (and similar devices).

Heres more from Wikipedia on the TV Licence

 Like i said, big brothers alive and well in the UK which leads me on to the next topic nicely.

CCTV otherwise known as “Close Circuit TV” is everywhere in the UK. On average you are caught on camera about 300 times a day going about your normal everyday business. Where ever you go you are being watched whether its bars, shops, train stations or just walking up the road. The UK is the most watched country in the whole world and there are approx 1 camera for every 14 people in the country. Another way to look at it is that one fifth of the worlds CCTV cameras are in the UK!  George Orwell who wrote the book “1984″ would be rolling in his grave if he knew what was happening nowadays. This article  in the Daily Mail (UK Newspaper) shows how many cameras are positioned right  around Orwells old home in London. There are even cameras on poles in city centres where the CCTV operator can shout at you via a microphone to stop riding your bicycle, pick your litter up etc. Heres a couple of “You Tubes” on it

 

So other reasons America is better than UK

Sales Tax! 5 or 7% in Maine and 17.5% in UK. Known as VAT (Value Added Tax) its already added to the price you see on the ticket so you don’t have to work out the cost of something as you do here in America. The only downside here is that for us Brits we don’t know what the final price is till we  get to the cash desk. When we first got here we’d forget that the sales tax wasn’t added to the ticket and we’d count out the exact money trying to give as much as we could in spare change and then the cashier would tell us “you forgot the tax” so back into the wallet goes the coins and out comes another $20 note and in return we got more coins to add to what we had before. We’d try and count out the money before we were served so as not to hold other customers up at the cash desk by counting it all out when we were being served. At last after a few months we’re getting quicker at counting coins but there are still times when my wallet is weighted down with coins and when i can find a nice quite shop i utter the words that all shop keepers/ cashiers dread when i come in to see them, ”would you like some change?” Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Come to think of it, foods a lot cheaper here too whether your buying it from a shop or in a takeaway or restaurant where you get three times as much for half the price, free drink refills and doggy bags!

Homes are a lot more expensive in UK too. Our little 4 bed house sold for equal to about $377k and when we’d sold the house to fund the deposit for the Brewster Inn, we moved into a small one bed apartment that would probably fit into our living room now. The lady that owned it sold it when we had left for equal to about $300k and all it had was a bedroom, living room, kitchenette and very small bathroom that when you stood by the door you could touch all the walls of. It was a period property but thats still way too expensive hence a lot of people with good jobs just can’t afford to get on the property ladder in UK now

And i havn’t even got started on traffic light, speed and licence plate recognition cameras.. thats for some other day i think.

Are there any plus points about the UK you might be asking.. well its a nice place to visit, has plenty of history and lovely countryside but i really do prefer America. Its a great place to be