Surprises for an Englishman in China looking back over recent British politics

 NotBritish

This is MY blog so I’m going to have a rant!

Ever been so angry you’re spitting blood?

Well that’s precisely how I feel at the moment after the most gigantic constitutional cock-up in modern times in the UK.

I’m angry at almost every section of the community I can think of.

Angry at Cameron for playing poker with the constitution in order to ‘bring into line’ his right wing UKIP leaners.

Angry with Labour for not making sure that the terms of the referendum were adequate. If a golf club wants to allow women members it has to have a 2/3 majority in favour before it can go ahead. Isn’t it at least reasonable that 60% should have been originally required before a major change in the constitution could be made?

Angry with the Brexit leaders who conveniently went back on all their promises within a few hours of the result being announced. And angry that the yellowbellies promptly resigned and refused to face up to the consequences of their actions.

Angry with Labour for being so pre-occupied with their own internal politics that they forgot to slam the Tories.

Angry with so many Leavers that they appeared to ignore the facts and the experts in favour of a ‘myth’ perpetuated by the right-wing red-tops over the last 20 or 30 years.

Angry at the disgusting racism and xenophobia that have been exhibited following the Brexit result.

Angry that this Brexit result has probably put an end to the UK as we know it. I’m sure Scotland will push ever harder now for independence. And the North of Ireland?

Angry that the people least affected by immigration (the biggest argument for Brexit) were most pro-Brexit and vice-versa. My old area of north London has a huge and divergent community of immigrants (Turkish, Greek, Polish, West Indian etc etc) and it voted 75% to Remain.

Angry with the young who failed to turn out in the numbers that could have made a difference.

Angry with the old for being so insular (and I note that there were several ‘vets’ from WWII who were vociferous Remainers).

Angry with hypocritical business people (like James Dyson who was very happy to take EU money for development but then went and moved his factory to Malaysia at the expense of British jobs AND called for Brexit)!

Angry that the Brexit result has caused major financial upheavals right across the globe.

Angry with the government who set up an ‘advisory’ referendum but then refuses to allow the House of Commons to vote and choose the legal course of action.

And personally angry that the dive in the exchange rates has caused a huge drop in my pension. Who knows what will happen to my pension ‘pot’ with the huge slump in the stock market.

And a few things to be happier about?

Happy that people who have come to the defence of the victims of racism; those that contributed £1,000’s to enable a fire-bombed bakery to get back on it’s feet; those who have stood up to the numbsculls who verbally abuse minorities on public transport.

Happy that Sadiq Khan and Mervin Rees (mayors of London and Bristol) who have come out and given statesman-like callings for the different communities to pull together and to care for each other (but why haven’t the party leaders been doing this? – OK Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland has been doing a fine job).

Happy that a Brexiter foresaw a small majority result and set up a petition calling for a 60% majority requirement for a second referendum. I know he’s not happy since he never thought Brexit would win and that Remainers would be signing his petition. But his concept was correct.

Happy for personal life: my wife; my cats; my friends; my home; my health; that I’m not homeless, on the street or suffering from addictions.

And I have one more prayer

The USA, are you listening? The British have been extremely stupid over the last couple of months. Can you learn something from us? PLEASE come to your senses and reject Trump. [Edit 2016-11-11. America! What have you done?]

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Spoilt or What?

When sitting on my favourite spot for contemplation I considered that I was becoming spoilt! Our new house has a combination toilet in the en-suite shower-room which has a heated loo-seat. Yesterday I took a bath (in the spare bathroom) and was ‘shocked’ when I came to sit on the traditional loo. Aaagggghhhh, it’s COLD!

Yes we’re one of the few households with these new combination loos (toilet and bidet in one).

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Isn’t it interesting how quickly a technological development can become an ‘essential’ for modern living! Remember the old Bakelite telephones hard-wired to the junction box in the hallway compared to the latest smartphone, or the 12 inch B&W set we grew up with (bought to watch QEII’s coronation in 1953) compared to todays’ large HD screens, or ‘push-bikes’ with a single gear compared to lightweight index-geared quick-released wheel jobs so widely available today (OK, if you live in Amsterdam or some other places, old ‘bone-shakers’ are still the norm).

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For now I guess I’ll have to accept that I’m spoilt as it’ll take a long time, if ever, for combo toilets to become the norm.

And why have a bidet in the first place? – DON’T ask!!

10 Surprises for an Englishman in China: Delightful Signs Album

This gallery contains 10 photos.

“Happy is the tender grass when here your feet do not trespass!” Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi’an A great sign for those with artificial hips! Saving your mobile phone allowance “Green grassland nourishes my heart”   “A small step forward, a big step for civilisation!” Guess where! Wisdom “Don’t climb up becauful”… of the spelling police???

10 Surprises for an Englishman in China visiting Europe

  1. Courtesy (for example, saying ‘hello’ to the bus driver – AND getting a reply!) varies from city to city, country to country. Bristol seems to have the friendliest bus drivers! In China a young person will always offer his/her seat on the bus to an elderly person. In the UK, the elderly are invisible to young people!

    ElderlyInvisible

 2. You don’t have to go to New England to get a glorious autumn display


IMG_6302(Westonbirt Arboretum) Autumn in the UK: https://www.flickr.com/gp/willnewcomb/2w2C4v)

 3. The ‘shock’ of using a knife and a fork everyday and not seeing kuaizi (chopsticks) for a whole 3 months!


IMG_0835A delicious meal at the exceedingly friendly highest pub in England (Tan Hill Inn) http://tanhillinn.com/

4. Italy has the best ice-cream (we indulged ourselves with a gelato at least once a day in Rome), so how come Italians in the UK don’t make decent ice-cream?


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 5. Weatherspoons did a decent haggis, tatties and neeps in the week leading up to Burns night.


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6. The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam was a big disappointment! I was hoping for a better selection of Rembrandt’s. Hardly any of his etchings, mainly held in the Rembrandt house; I’ll head there next time. Loved the Frans Hals works


Frans_Hals_002_OBNP2009-Y02946
Amsterdam: https://www.flickr.com/gp/willnewcomb/09ib56

7. Surprised by the early works of Van Gogh and Picasso. Gave me a new appreciation of the depth of their abilities.


HeadOfFisherman1883Head of Fisherman with a Sou’-wester 1883, VVG Van Gogh Museum http://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/en

8. The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona was the most moving church building I’ve ever visited. The storytelling of the scriptures in the sculptures were large enough to read (unlike most stained glass in British cathedrals). I was on the verge of tears by the end of our tour. I hope I’m alive and mobile enough to visit it again when it’s completed (mainly the exterior).


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Barcelona: https://www.flickr.com/gp/willnewcomb/vg7Y9c

9. The discount Roma Card wasn’t really worth it! Still had to pay separately for a tour (and entrance) of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St Peters. Hardly used the buses. and only wanted the Forum and Capitoline museum entries. Could have saved some for extra gelato, while other things like the Trevi Fountain are free!


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Rome: https://www.flickr.com/gp/willnewcomb/2Zg7YP

10. Visiting the Anne Frank house was probably the most moving event of the 3 month visit. So many lessons to learn for today about refugees fleeing for their lives.


anne-frank
Anne Frank Museum http://www.annefrank.org/en/Museum/

Edinburgh Trip 

  

Enjoyed a wonderful 8 days driving up to Edinburgh 25 Nov – 2 Dec. The biggest disappointment was forgetting to take photos of everyone we visited!

Caught some wonderful places along the way: Durham Cathedral, Tan Hill Inn, Ambleside, Hadrian’s Wall, Lockerbie Memorial, Edinburgh Castle, Holy Island, Angel of the North, Fountains Abbey.

Mike and Cheryl Nimz  

 
Colin and Rosie Patterson

(Sarah Aicher and Paul Freeman, RIP) 

 

Simon Barrow and Carla Roth 

 
Richard and Janet Scott 

 
Simon and Kathy Kew

Dick and Alison Fitt

Andrew Francis, Janice and Caroline Heath

https://flickr.com/photos/45249835@N02/sets/72157661794529312

10 ‘Misc’ Surprises for an Englishman in China

1. At the theatre or a concert you might find that you are the only one applauding. Everyone else has rushed out the door before the final curtain call. And while we’re about it, no-one watches the credits at the end of a movie. In fact it’s usually stopped before the last credit because everyone has gone home.

 

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2. Thinking of mailing something to/from China using Air Mail? Don’t bother. The chances are it’ll never arrive, and if it does it’ll take at least 6 weeks. Courier mail works but allow 5 days – the same as bank transfers! To send ‘snail-mail’ to the UK try an electronic printing/mailing service. Email a pdf to it and it’ll be printed and delivered by 1st class mail. Quite reasonable price!

 

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3. Chinese dogs happily trot along the residential service roads unaccompanied and seem to be very relaxed and happy animals. I’ve yet to come across an ‘up-tight’ aggressive dog! Chinese love poodles!

 

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4. Almost everyone uses WeiXin/WeChat app for txt/images/videos. Sort of like WhatsApp, but better!

 

WeChat-v5-update

 

5. Everyone goes for ‘a short walk’ in the evening (often accompanied by their dog) and you’ll find the parks FULL at night time. There also appear to be ‘dog meet-up locations’ where fellow owners can chat about their ‘pooches’ and the pooches can enjoy sniffing somewhere else!!! And you’ll also come across many groups doing Chinese square dancing in any open space around 8 p.m.

 

 jjim_white_in_china_786294c(OK this was not the sort of ‘short walk’ I was meaning to convey!)

 

6. Often big stores are open late in the evening. Not so many shops close at 5 or 6 p.m.

 

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 7. The Metro/Underground has airport style security at every station. Bag and body scanners are standard.

 

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8. In summer when it’s hot, quite a lot of men on the street roll their shirts up to expose their tummies. Not good!

 

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9. QR codes are EVERYWHERE, even stitched into the fabric on the backs of theatre seats.

 

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10. There are no local GPs in China. If you want medical attention you go to hospital. You don’t need to make an appointment, you just turn up and take your turn. A fully annual health check (something unheard of in the UK) will cost about £50. Very thorough.

 

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(Several images in this blog are not my own but came from Google searches)