OK, I promised I would eventually tell you what I most love about my country of origin. Marina and I have just spent a week in the UK, coming up with the following list (in no particular order!):
1. Help for people in wheelchairs. We were very impressed by how British Rail helped people in wheelchairs on and off trains, and by the number of ‘push here to open’ buttons set up for people in wheelchairs outside shops and offices. I think the UK does very well at helping people with disabilities, though no doubt there is still a long way to go.
2. Marmite, and bangers and mash.
3. International food in supermarkets. Herbs, spices, sauces and ingredients from a huge range of the world’s cuisine can be picked up in a decent-sized supermarket. Not the same in Spain.
4. The British countryside. The rural landscapes in Britain are as majestic, stunning and alluring as any you might find in the rest of the world, all year round. Even in winter, when leafless trees rise out of back-lit, mist-covered hillsides, Britain is astoundingly beautiful.
5. BBC Television and Radio. So what if you have to pay for it, I’m pretty sure it’s worth it.
6. The general standard of living is very high these days. Most people have comfortable houses, big TVs, decent food on the table, and long holidays.
7. The social security/benefits system seems to work. Single mothers with several kids and no work seem to get by one way or another. The NHS may be short of hospital beds but at least all healthcare is free.
8. Loo paper is softer and longer (than that found in Spain).
9. The police are approachable and seem like a decent bunch. One policeman we talked to while waiting for a crashed car to be pulled off an icy road was a thoroughly nice chap. (Spanish police often seem a touch arrogant and uninterested by comparison, but that is a vast generalisation of course).
10. What would you put for number 10?