Bad, I’ll tell ya how bad they are…
Not that bad.
Now this may also come as a shock to you. There are actually some very nice places in England. There are also some very nice people.
I can honestly say that I have been very fortunate to have spent a reasonable amount of time in England, both as a resident and also while on business. On the whole it is not a bad place.
I would just like to take the time to highlight some of my personal favourite things about England, as a Scotsman.
- Proper Sunday lunch in a good country pub. Nothing too extravagant, just some thick slices of beef with an overload of veg. Roasties and nice crisp Yorkshire poods. Not being able to move while someone brings you another beer.
- Organised sport. Not some council run ned exercise scheme. Rowing club, squash, badminton, cricket, sunday league football. People actually turning up with the right kit and making an effort to do it properly. Not getting slagged off if you’re rubbish.
- Real ale. Not too heavy, not too light, not in any way fizzy. It is not the beer but the variety and there is simple entertainment in finding one you actually like. Buckfast it is not.
- Beer gardens. Sitting out in the sun in a pair of shorts and glasses and just soaking it up. Lager in hand.
- Canal boat holidays. Going on a wander with the family. Tiller in hand, pipe at the ready, each night a new home. Pub dinners, friendly lock chats and sleeping with the roof open looking at the stars.
- Girls in dresses. Short ones, long ones, often with cleavage. Some even have tans.
From Cornwall and Bristol, to Liverpool, Manchester via Newcastle to Colchester I have encountered friendly folk who just get on with life. If you treat them fairly I have often found that they will treat you the same way back. They may get a bit patriotic at times and they certainly have an unrealistic view of their lofty position in world football but on the whole they are really not a bad sort. Not all of them vote Tory or UKIP.
The old Scottish adage that if you are good enough to drink with me then I am good enough to drink with you runs true. Just don’t go signing anything with the words “ownership” and “country” on it.
One small exception…
There is one small exception to this rule. It is called London.
London, despite its overwhelming size, is a microcosm, an ecosystem. Never judge the Englishman on the behaviour of a Londoner.
At its most primal it is simply a case of too many people competing for too little resource. Everyone is on the take and no-one has any time for anyone else. Don’t ever try driving there.
Couple this with the overarching arrogance of the minority elite and the place is quite toxic. A fun place to be for a while if you have the money but the thrill of the metropolis begins to wane all too quickly.
The good news is that pretty much all of the rest of England shares this view as well so my advice is to stay clear of London and just visit the nice bits.
Now remember, no cheering when they get humpted at football and it may not be a bad thing if you learn to speak a little bit more slowly.