The pilot informed us as we approached London Heathrow that the weather was about the same as in Boston: 65 degrees with no rain.
We thought that was a bit overly generous. It had been 65 degrees when we left at 8am in Boston. And in Boston, ‘no rain’ meant clear blue sunshiney skies. We descended through a minute or two of thick cloud cover before landing in the UK. But hey! no rain.
We managed to catch an early bus, but the driver had just settled in to his seat and was about to shut the door when we ran up. More than miffed, he huffed down and took our bags over to the storage doors, and then yelled at us after we didn’t help him lift the bags into the hold.
I couldn’t help a wry smile as we pulled away from the airport. Welcome to Britain! We have No Rain and No Customer Service!
But to give England a break, in all honesty the Philosopher and I spent a bit of time during our US vacation considering the pros and cons of both countries It’s true, objectively we think, that the UK has an over-obsession with health and safety at the expense of the customer (or perhaps a legalistic-obsession with not lifting a finger over and above job descriptions). And of course the skies have constant catarrh.
But the US doesn’t stand above scrutiny either. Americans have problems handling dangerous machinery responsibly: of conspicuous note are guns and cars. If you’re wondering about the latter, just come and drive in Europe to learn a bit more about lane discipline and the appropriate distance between vehicles on the motorway. Americans also have a pretty serious (as in ‘intense’ and ‘of grave consequence’) addiction: media. 24-hour news cycles, inflationary reporting styles and a complete lack of political neutrality…it sort of makes one sick. The US also has an eternally frustrating (broken?) democracy in which nothing significant ever gets done (except war, and I mean to speak neither in favor or against by saying that. These things are too complicated to speak categorically on most of the time, I think.) Within 6 months of living in the UK, our taxes went up twice! For some fun on UK tax law and the importance of cake to eat with our tea… read this.)
The things we love about both countries are too boring and numerous to go into, and embarrassingly mostly revolve around foodstuffs, so instead I’ll leave you a couple of photos.