I haven't spent any "serious" time in "Great Britain" for over 40 years, but my last experience before leaving the shores of the "green and pleasant land" for good, back in 1969/70, was in selling our 2 bedroom appartment in a London suburb - Thornton Heath.
We had bought it in 1968 ready to serve as our base after Army services, for the princely sum of 3,500GBP.
The mortgage was given on a fixed interest basis by the Government, due to my status in the Army, was due to run over 25 (!) years, after which the leasehold of 99 years would be available to us.
It was a nice, comfortable place, in the style of Victorian "mansions" and at the time even had a "commissaire" in the large entry hall. If you've ever seen the TV series "Poirot" then you've seen the style.
Problem was that we never used it - we were in Germany permanently, so we tried "letting" it.
After 2 attempts, both unsuccessful because the other owners didn't like our choice of tenants (both with slightly "off-white" skin colour), we decided there was no point and I had to travel back to arrange the sale.
It was sold very quickly, and we even made a profit of around 500GBP - not bad for the length of time we had it!
Surprise, surprise - just one year later I had occasion to see the prices in an Army magazine (the Army having bought our Appartment as "local housing").
They had bought it for 4,000GBP and it was now on sale for...........11.500GBP! Almost 300% increase in just one year!
It was then that I realised something was foul in that land of "Dark, Satanic mills" and we started really planning our future after the Army and Germany.
It turned out that in fact everything, or almost everything, had already been planned - by others, but we didn't know that then!
Year in, year out, on odd occasions, we had some kind of news that filtered through, from times of abject misery when the GBP plummetted from around 11D-marks to just 2.60D-marks...through to periods where "Windfalls" and other strange things were being paid out to all and sundry - well, almost!
We, of course, never profited from any of this, being in Germany, and we noted that house prices were spiralling ever upwards - that appartment at 3.500 then at 4,000 then at 11,500 was now selling at 45,000GBP.....!
Frankly - the whole thing stank to high heaven, but we didn't live there, so it didn't interest us unduly.
Then we started seeing all types of British people turning up in Germany on holiday, and everywhere else we went on holiday. People who, traditionally, went to Butlins or Pontins at Weston-super-mer or Southport, even Brighton was too highly priced and classy to interest them. Now they were to be seen parading in their Marks and Spencer hush puppies and trousers, shorts, canvas shoes, "leisure" shirts etcetera...in Gstaad, Berchtesgarten, French and Spanish Rivieras, pockets full of money, bellies full of imported British Ale and fish & chips, topped up with the cheap local "vino" - just stopping occasionally to vomit in the street gutter. ..............
Money didn't seem to be a problem at all......in spite of prices at home...
So it went on for years and years, then some figures started filtering through...."every Britain, from "newly born" to "almost dead" owed staggering amounts on average in various credits, both personal and Governmental.
They were paying horrific sums every minute of every day, in interest % to someone, somewhere.
The essential message was - "We're busted, broke, no bread - but
- We're British, it'll all work out...."
Seen the news this morning...?
Once upon a time they used to say "join the Army, join the Civil Service - job security is worth more than high wages"......
Great - private sector jobs hardly exist any more, and now Public sector jobs are going to be slashed, hacked in pieces. So much for "job security"!
A "National Health System" which swallows up un-endless sums of money, for ever dwindling ressources and treatments.
Up till recently, many British "NHS" patients were sent to Hospitals in France and Germany - lack of space in Britain.
British citizens are obliged to wait endlessly for appointments, just to see a Specialist who then promises to arrange some tests - sometime or other!
Private "top-up" health insurance policies are almost unheard of - only for the rich, things like "BUPA" (if it still exists) - something which in mainland Europe is totally normal, and even supported financially to some extent by Governmental allowances.
And yet - the British STILL holler about "our great and wonderful NHS" - that is they do unless they happen to be one of the millions awaiting appointments....!
House prices peaked some time back, and - like the Banks...... crashed! Hundreds of thousands of people are now facing homelessness, life on the street, and yet Council flats are empty - all over the place! Houses for sale - everywhere!
"Great Britain" is PLEITE - KAPUTT - BANKRUPT - They just haven't realised it yet.....!
All in all, I think I'll just stay where I am.....even if it's not perfect!
iwmpop(mr le marquis) - Vauvert, France - Octobre 2010
weather at Vauvert, France
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