Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Things England does well

I wanted to do this as a side by side comparison of things England does and things America does, but I guess it'll do as a stand alone (since I have no formatting skills) - anyway, this way I can talk more about some items if I want to.

So, after a year of living here, this is my list of things that England has got right.

Public bathrooms. (This may come as a surprise if you have read Dave Barry's travel guide, and it takes some getting used to, but...) Not every store has a toilet, but nearly every town does - often at the parking lots - and they are actually open to the public (though some do charge a fee). The coolest thing is that the stall doors actually overlap the door frame, so there isn't the 1-inch gap that people walk by and look at you through. The doors also come down almost to the floor.

Roundabouts. Except for on major highways, roundabouts are very efficient at moving traffic.

Front-load washers as standard. They are quiet, small, efficient, and gentler on clothes.

Fireplaces. Most houses have one, and they are small enough to not be drafty.

Radiators. In my opinion this is a nice way to heat a room - non drying, no blast of cold air when the heater kicks on, and each room can be set to a different temperature.

Pedestrian areas. Every city has a pedestrian zone where you walk from shop to shop. It's personal, healthy, more fun and interactive.

Mail. The Royal post is efficient (I keep using that word...). Mail is delivered the day after it's sent. Packages are sent quite cheaply.

Home delivery. Groceries ordered online (or bought in the store) can be delivered to your door when you like for a small fee.

Organics. Organic produce and dairy aren't much more expensive than "regular" stuff.

Farming. Small, local farms are highly encouraged, and people actually go to the farms and buy directly from them. All the animals I've seen around here are "free range."

Boot sales. Sort of a flea market/garage sale where one sells from the boot of one's car (or laid out on a tarp). Prices are usually terrific and they are held nearly every weekend all summer.

Churches. With one standard denomination, every village has a church and it is part of the village. Most churches are open for people to just walk in, and many of them have an honor-system book store in the back corner. Also, churches have graveyards.

Not such a good ending point, but I think my list is getting long enough for now.


Ganeida said...

Yes, Though I can't compare to America never having been there & we have lots of the same things having remained under British dominaion into the more recent past, but yes, the Brits are efficient. Guess that's how they built an empire. Anf the loos are clean! Have you tried France's public loos? My recommendation would be never, ever, not under any circumstances. 'Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

All sounds good expect the church one, not sure about that. jc

Melody Plainview said...

I had to chuckle about this post. We're in the U.S., and my son is a British enthusiast. That is, he's a U.S. citizen who's enthusiastic about all things British. He's going to get a kick when I tell him about these neat facts you've shared. Radiators, huh? Perfect for our house! Mr. Plainview and I are in constant battle over the thermostat!