12 Little Things I Don’t Miss About Life In The UKIt’s not all Kings and Queens in the British Isles. By Tania Myles.
Part of the adventure of living on the other side of the world is adjusting to little everyday differences from home. When I was compiling my list of little loves and little loathes, it was much easier to think of the things I would miss over the things I wouldn’t. Nevertheless, no place is perfect and there are some things about my UK life that I won’t be sad to see the back of…
1. Poop n’ Spit
If you ask me what I saw in London over my two years, don’t be surprised if I say “not a lot really, mainly footpaths”. It seems like many Londoners have poo-pooed the concept of tissues; and speaking of poo-poo, many dog-owners have little regard for cleaning up after their furry friend. These two dirty habits caused me to constantly stare at the ground as I made my way through a minefield of gollies & poop.
2. News Coverage
As an Australian I’m used to watching a news bulletin where you get the news, sport and weather together. However British news reports are usually limited to a few domestic stories, and there is often no sport report at all (especially on breakfast TV)! Obviously weather gets a big focus because it’s a bit of an obsession, but as a sport lover, I found I had to seek out sport news, fixtures, results and details myself. This included big events like The Ashes, even when the Brits won!
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3. British Milk and Beef
I used to love milk in Oz. I could easily drink a big glass on its own. But I found full cream in the UK is thicker and creamier than Aussie whole milk, and semi-skimmed is too watery and just not nice. British beef (unless you go to a good restaurant like The Flat Iron in Soho) is just plain rubbish! Beef mince is awful and there’s basically no such thing as a beef sausage. The number one food I craved for my return home was beef sausages from our local butcher.
4. 6th vs 6th – Sixth [siksth]
The ordinal number for six; one of six parts. Why is this even an issue? Because British people don’t pronounce it properly! The correct phonetic spelling of 6th is siksth. That means you say six and then add th on the end, so six-th. It’s not sick-th!
5. Cool Drinks
Sure the UK is not the warmest of places, but when I buy a cold drink, I expect to see condensation trickling down the outside of the bottle because there’s nothing worse than a coolish coke. However drink fridges never have doors on them so cold drinks are only ever cool at best, especially unsatisfying on the odd occasion when it’s actually warm.
6. Good Weather Hype
When a lovely day became headline news and the main topic of conversation I realised how much I took sunshine and Sydney weather for granted. While it’s nice to get excited about great weather, I don’t miss that mentality; I’d rather just have nice weather more often.
7. Phone Reception
As soon as you enter many buildings you can say goodbye to that important call regarding your “room wanted” ad or job application. I’m pretty sure this wasn’t just my service provider because no one in our office ever got a good signal and my friends all had the same problems.
8. Monthly Pay
In Australia, a fortnightly pay cheque is the standard so I had to quickly get used to monthly pay. In my case it was the last Friday of the month. So first of all you have to be pretty good at budgeting to stretch your money evenly over 4 weeks. But then every few months, the pay period would be 5 weeks! Those were tough times.
9. Expensive Rent for a Death Trap
I love my homely little flat I shared with Kaitlin and Chloe, and prior to that my 6 bedroom house I shared with Cat, Tom, Naoko, Romena, Lin, Joe and Shelley… but for the extortionate rent which chewed up half of my wages there were plenty of things that annoyed all of us… like tiled bench-tops with all the grout missing, a washing machine that thought it was meant to be on the other side of the room, and random (supposed) handymen who had let themselves in to inspect or fix something giving you the fright of your life when you exited the bathroom in just a towel.
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10. Sunshine Hours in Winter
When it comes to the European winter it was less the temperature and more the sunlight hours I found harder to cope with. This is probably because buildings are well equipped for the cold so you were always warm inside. But the sun rises at about 8:30am and sets before 4pm which means that unless I went outside at lunch into the albeit bleak daylight I was constantly living in darkness. After a while this gets kinda depressing.
11. Hard Water
You often hear people talking about London water being quite hard. And I didn’t really understand, until I washed my hair. It didn’t cope well. It’s seemed really difficult to get clean. And it used to be super soft and dead straight, but ended up kinda frizzy if I didn’t straighten it.
12. The Doorbell at Work
This one is totally irrelevant to Britain but it drove me crazy. My office was part of two buildings – #14 & #15. Reception was at #15 where all visitors were to register. We however, had a doorbell (with our logo on it) for our own visitors. Numerous times every day the doorbell would ring, I’d get up to answer it and either no one was there (because after they rang the bell, they read the sign that said go to #15) OR someone was there (who didn’t read the sign at all) and asked for so&so from xyz. It was especially annoying when staff from #15 would come across and ring the doorbell because they were too lazy to take the internal route. It used to really infuriate me, probably more than I should have let it to be honest.
They’re all quite trivial really, and none of them made me want to pack up and leave. However, I did pack up and leave. Although that was mainly because my visa was up.
This article originally appeared on NomadHead Magazine Issue 10. Read Tania’s follow-up article, 12 Little Things I Miss About Life In The UK, in Issue 11 of NomadHead. Subscribe now and get the next issue delivered straight to your iPad or iPhone for free! Just click here.