A Few Things That Irritate Me About Britain. (Part One...Maybe)

Comfort? Hey, that's for Posh and Becks!

A British bathroom, one meter square!
A British bathroom, one meter square!
What they really are!
What they really are!

Britain's Great...For a Visit!

Having lived back in my birth country for some 7 years, I woke up this morning and began to ponder on what really got on my nerves about the place - apart from the climate!

It's hard to compose a list from the top of your head; articles like this should be worked on slowly as the nuggets present themselves to the conscious mind, but anyhow, I shall try. As there is easily enough material for a book - if not a set - here, I will have to do this in parts.

Where to start? There is so much wrong here you wouldn't believe it, unless you are a fellow sufferer.

Well, let's start in the bathroom where I usually begin the day anyway, straining for a different sort of inspiration.

The shower. The British have never learned how to manufacture a proper shower like they do in the 'States. The stall is too small for my 250 pound self, and attempting amor in it is a dispiriting affair with her head jammed under the soap dish and my arse up against the cold shower curtain. There is not enough water pressure for some reason, because the mains are adequate, but the force doesn't come out of the shower head here, I know not why.

I gaze blearily into the mirror on the bathroom cabinet. I need a shave. I can't have one, because Nanny Britain doesn't - or didn’t - allow builders to install power points in the bathrooms in case its idiot citizens electrocute themselves while trying to shave or dry their hair...isn't that stupid!?

I leave in high dudgeon (a British trait) but miss the light switch three times because the switch is a pendulum, a long piece of string which is as elusive as a cockroach on the cheese. (Well, you think of an analogy, I'm busy!). I finally catch it, jerk it viciously, causing the little wooden toggle to strike me painfully on the ear as it rebounds. This, too, saves the citizen-dolts from becoming too positively charged from a normal light switch.

That about does the bathroom, except to mention that many houses here don't even have a shower! You have to lie in warm water, partially covered if you are my size, miserably contemplating a hair-covered, fleshy mountain, meanwhile washing your hair, your Johnson-and-two, your crack and underarms and then lying in the sudsy (etc!) effluent reading until you can summon the energy to escape. Horrid! To avoid all of the above and enjoy conditions the ordinary family has in North America (and most other civilized places these days) you have to be checked into a 5-star London hotel, or very wealthy...I expect Posh and Becks, or Brad and Angie when visiting, do a bit better.

The bedroom. What is it about the British that allows them to charge as much as a decent used car for a mattress well below international standards of comfort? How nostalgic I feel when I think of those mattresses on US hotel beds, practically everywhere, that are hard and soft at the same time, weigh about one ton each and are about 8 feet across. You cannot buy a new mattress here for less than $500 dollars that will give you anything like a decent night's sleep. They rave about a product called "Tempura" that involves setting up a second mortgage to purchase and is really only what the Mexicans call "Mattress foam," a sort of foam rubber which offers the ultimate in sleeping pleasure. Well, maybe: I have never been in the position to pay about $1500 or more to own one. I did buy one of the Mexican manufactured mattresses some years ago that cost me about $15: hard foam below glued onto a softer level above. It was fine. Probably it's what the Tempura mob buy there and jack the price up many hundreds of percent in RIB, (Rip Off Britain, the catch-phrase on everyone's lips here).

The rest of the house is OK, I guess, we have modern kitchens and double glazing, etc., these days and you can have the furniture you can afford: (Flat pack...that miserable crap!)

Speed Cameras. Have you ever heard anything so duplicitous and factually inaccurate as the government’s defence of these tiny tax-gatherers? They do absolutely zero for road safety at all! Because all the drivers stand on their brakes just before coming into the camera’s field of view, de-accelerating from 60, to 30, or 40, then immediately speeding up again as they exit the danger zone. So one and all obey the speed limit (as per the camera) for all of 50 yards! Of course, many are caught out, to the tune of probably a billion dollars a year in fines, so the government have defended them for some years, meanwhile installing them by the thousands, but their days are numbered now that no one is fooled any more, and they are gradually dying. They seem to be planning another gadget to install in cars at the point of manufacture that will actually fine and report us when we break the speed limit. Maybe a little Nipponese voice will say, “Banzai!! Naughty, naughty, your inboard computer has just assessed your penalty at one thousand pounds for doing 40 miles over the limit, talking on your cell phone, forgetting to put on your seatbelt, and throwing a marijuana doobie out of the window and trying to kill me with a screwdriver.” I kid you not, it’s coming and I for one will buy a horse! (Horse crap on street, penalty, 50 pounds!).

Meanwhile, we have the world’s most expensive petrol (gas), bar a couple of places in Europe like Lickyourstein, or Mynacker, where all the people are millionaires anyway and probably get extra money from our government to publish inflated fuel prices so our mob can say, “See! Britain is not the most expensive.” Believe me, motorists here are just about finding it cheaper to tip single malt whisky into their tanks in lieu of higher priced Arab-juice. And they are still adding more tax in April! Unbelievable.

The British don’t listen. They really don’t. They will be quite happy to force you into politely listening while they cackle on about some boring and inconsequential happening in their dull little lives, but as soon as you try to relate how you slept the night with Angelina Jolie, (you slept?), or spent a year in the Huntsville prison’s death cells, they gaze at each other and make “we have to go” noises. (One, they don’t believe you, two, they wanted the experience for themselves and are jealous, three, they could care less about you, your life or whether you live or die. It’s sad but true).

And a Brit. will never call you to come round and have a coffee with him or visit his house! Well, maybe once on a sunny day (like a blue moon here). The Englishman’s home is his castle and gawd knows what he gets up to in it in the little shower, on the lumpy mattress or two abreast in the tiny bath. Harrumph!!

Part two will follow if I get any interest in this morbid subject!

Oh, and, no, I don’t speak from affection and really love the crazy little island and all its faults...In your dreams!!!

 

 

 

 

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Comments 31 comments

medor profile image

medor 5 years ago from Michigan, USA

I love it... spent over 3 years in Britain, some in Scotland, the rest as a traveler...

Lived on Loch Eck in a converted forestry cabin... we had gravity fed water and only lasted a year.

I hated British food... fried everything but the desserts and Tea was great.

I love your writing... more more more...


diogenese 5 years ago

Thanks medor. The UK is fine for US visitors, 'cause they know they have return tickets! Thanks for pleasant comment...Bob


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

lol Ya, I think the British are still a little too high on themselves even after many years of the sun not always shining on them. ("I don't make the stereotypes - I just point them out.")

I think their ignorance, their laziness and arrogance is just part of the character. Oscar Wilde portrayed the society best in his plays and in the "Picture of Dorian Gray".

All the best. I enjoyed this blog as well.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I knew there were reasons I never wanted to live in England. Thanks for the list. I much prefer Texas even if the prison system is horrible. I hope never to visit there again (as a visitor, not as you did from the inside).

I haven't taken a "bath" in over 20 years! Hurray for showers!


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

My Happy: I lived for many years in Oz, the US and Mexico. To come back as a mature writer and see all this swinish self-aggrandisment and "uppah clawse" tits still the same as ever is hard to swallow. Bob

Austinstar: Thanks, Queen Vic, you must be ripe! Any American wanting to live here must be a serial masochist or getting too much money...Bob


BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 5 years ago from New York

Sounds interesting. I've never lived there but I know a couple who do and one lives on disability and he lives pretty high on the hog so benefits for disability must be pretty good there compared to the U.S. He owns a boat and a pretty nice house on the ocean. Great hub.


Dr. Amilia profile image

Dr. Amilia 5 years ago

Interesting stuff.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Cheers, Doc....Bob


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

I love your style of writing and had a good laugh. Be honest, BOB, you love everything really hahaha You just don't want to say so lol. Especially now with those twits in there. Are they stupid or drunk or both? Anybody, even with no brain, would do all these things.

Looking forward to your third hub - singing all about the glory of Britain.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Hi Hanna...Never happen, sorry....Bob


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

Oh, Bob, I am disappointed. lol. Seriously, Britain was a great country and the people till they opened the borders and that damn EU. They really spoilt not only you country but mine as well and the rest of Europe. The wuicker they close that EU down the better it is. Daily Express is running a campaign and I hope they succeed


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

We have been nothing really since we allowed the British Empire to disintergrate, Hanna. We are just too small and have few resources for a population this large and growing. Plus so many bad choices: allowing manufacturing to wither and decay, closing all the railways, loosing our fabulous shipyards, joining the EU (Yes, a huge mistake for Britain). It's impossible to keep secure borders, especially with a long coast line. And then we are so top-heavy with the greedy bankers and establishment wanting more and more...Bob


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

I agree with you in every word. The British Empire had to come that was inevitable. The banks, railways, shipyards, coalmines and all the great manufacturing were thanks to old Mags. I'll never understand that they came into again after managed to have five million unemployed. I often wonder whether that voting is what is supposed to be or is there a fiddle too. I wouldn't surprise me in the least. As for EU, every country should get out of it asap. Take care. Hanna


Doc Wordinger profile image

Doc Wordinger 5 years ago from Manchester, UK

Modern buildings have erased the head-banging misery of the wood-on-a-string bathroom light switch by cunningly placing the switch by the door outside. This way you can electrocute yourself in the hallway rather than the bathroom itself.

I like the way that sat-nav systems annouce when you are nearing a speed camera. They would be even better if they ordered you to put your foot hard on the accelerator immediately after you've passed it.

I can see you're an admirer of the British Empire so I'll side-step that topic to avoid an argument.

Great hub. I'll be back for part two.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Admirer? No, doc, not really. Being born British is about the worst thing that can happen to a beleagured Homo sapiens! Thanks for interest....Bob


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

It would not be so bad if you were a little more ignorant Mr. Diogenes! lol

"Everyone wants to be an Indian. Nobody wants to live like one." (Native American saying)


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

I totally disagree with both your statements.

1) Why would being more ignorant be an advantage to me?

2) Indians wanted to live like Indians for hundreds of years - it was white man's greed which made this impossible.

I might add that everyone is ignorant today in relation to the total sum of human knowlege..I think it behooves us to become aware; ignorance leaves one defenceless in today's world, not blissful...Bob (But what do I know!)

I may have misinterpreted your comment....


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

No worries ... I was goofing around thus, it's my bad.

Ignorant people don't know much and therefore, they don't stress about things as one who is more knowledgeable would. They do say that ignorance is bliss, no? Of course I don't think it is good in the long run; living your life in the Matrix is not something I would go for. Many people do live that sheep life though and it seems that they do have less worries.

Now, on the Native American saying. As a kid I had plastic soldier toys. I had some army guys, with guns and all but I had Indians too, with bows, horses, etc. I always had the Indians win ... I liked the Indians for some reason more than the other toy soldiers.

Many people fantasize about Native American lifestyle, when in truth they live in deplorable conditions. We like their costumes, their music ... but to live in the degrading conditions they live in nowadays, that we do not like.

Maybe I cleared up my comment a little. It is frustrating when I mess it up ...


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Some Native Americans live in deplorable conditions, but others do not. We even have a N.A. Congressperson and I know many N.A.'s (myself included) that have gone to universities and become worthwhile members of modern society with doctorates and everything.

I personally hate the word "Indians" when it refers to Native Americans. Indians are from India.

Some tribes have been kept poor and uneducated, but they are also responsible for continuing that lifestyle. Let's not stereotype them and maybe they'll get up off their butts and get to work.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Hi Mr Happy...no bad, just discussion. We might be helpless to a great extent in whether we accumulate knowledge or not. Genes and all that. Plus what mum and dad wanted. Yes, re the Indians: we could sense their clothing, etc., visually, but could not feel the suffering the privation and cruelty in their lives, (plus crapping under a tree). I don't think many would want to give up their modern conveniences to live in a wigwam...but a few would, I suppose...Bob

I don't live in the US (I wish) but we hear of bingo casinos and all the rest. Perhaps even the Indians aren't really "Indians" any more. Sorry, Native Americans.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

So you're a Red Indian, Austinstar!? Sorry, a red NA (I know you're a bit left wing!). Do they really say "How?" and "White man speak with forked tongue?" Don't tell me the cinema lied all these years. Quite right, "Indian" doesn't apply here - I don't even think they are good at cricket or running out-of-touch service centers for the UK phone company. Bob


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

well well, this is teh best chuckle I've had in a while... I must keep coming back... and send it to a few of my more "posh" british friends... (they will never forgive me!) I love this!


cathylynn99 profile image

cathylynn99 5 years ago from northeastern US

no electrical outlets in the bathroom is going too far. i had no idea. all in all very funny.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

It's ridiculous, cathylynn. The nanny state with all the jobsworthies passing more and more petty laws to protect us from ourselves. Thanks for dropping in...Bob


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Whoops, Rebecca, nearly missed ya...please pass it on to all the Oxbridge Lord Haws Haws...Bob


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

bob-- many thanks, gave a few "omg" froma few friends, who are "utterly mortified" and a few"great one yeah for a few good chuckles" from others.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands

Oh dear (:

Well, we have kettles!

And we are not likely to have a drought or a famine!

And, in spite of the fact that I sometimes complain about 'the police state', we do have a fair amount of freedoms compared to a number of other countries.

And we don't have the death penalty, or guns in every home.

The weather's not great, but we can easily travel to the continent.

Oh, and the reason for the lack of power in the shower is a little item deliberately placed inside the shower head to save water! (It can be removed.)


diogenes 5 years ago

Trish...doesn't the gizmo in the shower-head sum up Britain in a nutshell? Just about the wettest place in Europe and we have to stick gadgets in the showers to save water! How small-minded. Maybe it's true they put alum in the cocoa in the prisons to stop prisoners wanking: the only consolation the poor mopes have! Thanks for interesting comment, fellow-sufferer, but you'll never sell me this place! Bob


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands

There are plenty of much worse places to live. I'd like a longer, dryer, warmer summer, but otherwise I think it's ok here :)


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

So do many people, Trish...I have always been a misfit, I'm afraid. I used to think Britain was OK in the 60's when I left for Oz, but after many years as an ex-pat, the country pales in comparison...I understand, of course, that you take yourself everywhere you go and often the problems are internal. Thanks for comments Bob


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands

Thanks :)

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