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HOME or AWAY

   I live in a town called Widnes which is just outside the city of Liverpool in the North-West of England. In many ways it’s a great place to live.

   The price of property is much cheaper here than it is down south. My brother lives in London and it is often a struggle even for well-educated professionals to find basic accommodation. His ex-girlfriend paid £250, 000 ($500, 000) for a one-bedroomed flat! Indeed, the average British home is smaller than those of our neighbours on the continent where people are craving for more space, not less. According to the European Union’s monetary experts property in Britain is greatly over-valued. The main reason for this is the emphasis here on owning one’s own home rather than living in the rental sector.
   There are many distinct cultural and socio-economic differences between the north and the south of England. The main difference was generally considered to be the industrial north and the rural south, though this gives rise to many misleading misnomers if taken too literally. The north has many natural beauty spots, just as the south has plenty of urban slums. Northerners are regarded as being much more open and friendlier than their southern neighbours. On the whole, I would agree with this assumption. It is certainly true in the case of major cities such as London where one often feels reduced to the size of a Lilliputian. Some writers and artists can produce work which is ‘culturally specific’ and lack broad appeal or understanding. It has been remarked that for the Englishman and the Frenchman everything is in London or Paris, whereas in the USA New York is the financial centre, Washington is the political heart and California - the cultural home. To some extent, this is true but, for example, there are plenty of great galleries outside London. To be sure, they will not be as well-funded or well-stocked but they are there to be visited and enjoyed nonetheless.

   My home town rugby league team has just been readmitted into the Super League. It has caused much excitement in the town and evoked fond memories of former glories when the club won many cups and trophies. The shopping centre seems to be under a state of constant redevelopment bringing in visitors from neighbouring towns and cities. Although we now have a Marks and Spencers, I like to attend the flea market held here every Wednesday where one can grab a bargain! I have heard reports of that the Stone Roses concert held here at Spike Island in the 80’s is to be the subject of a new movie. The singer-songwriter Paul Simon wrote his famous song ‘Homebound Bound’ whilst sitting at Widnes train station. Whether what he made of his stay here can be inferred from the lyrics....I cannot say!

   I was actually born in the USA but raised in the UK. My father is American and my mother is English meaning that I have dual nationality but I must confess that not only do I feel more English than American, I also feel more English than most Englishmen! There are many aspects of American life and the American mentality which I like but equally many more which I find deeply unpleasant; not least of which is the absence of socialised medicine which I personally regard as the hallmark of a civilised society. I also prefer the milder climes of Northern Europe and found the scorching summer heat in the USA insufferable the last time I was there.

   My ex-fiance is German and I was considering emigrating to Germany at one point. I liked life in her native Bavaria and found it much more similar to that in England than I found Alabama whilst in the USA. By curious coincidence Saint George is the Patron Saint of both England and Bavaria. The fact that our languages are also similar helped enormously , though German is much closer grammatically to medieval English than our contemporary tongue. No wonder many Germans say Shakespeare sounds better in German than English! Getting back to what I was saying, whether I would have been happy and content living in Germany is a question I often ask myself but have never been able to answer to my satisfaction.

   I have always had a keen interest in World history and culture and would love to be able to travel the globe. No doubt I would be enriched by such an adventure and enjoy practically every second of it but would I wish to return home? I couldn’t answer with any degree of certainty but my gut feeling is that I would wish to return to the green, green grass of home. Whilst I would love to stand in Moscow’s Red Square, climb the Eiffel Tower, ride a gondola in Venice, view the Pyramids.... I think I would miss hearing my fellow Englishman moan about the weather whilst drinking cold tea or warm beer!


                         written by Jason Williams



Source: http://Widnes
Category: ISSUE #3 | Added by: Guzeliya (15-May-2011) | Author: Jason Williams
Views: 543 | Comments: 4 | Tags: americans, England, Englishman, the USA | Rating: 5.0/7
Total comments: 4
4  
I'd love to explore GB! And we have a plan how to do that!

3  
i enjoyed reading:)

2  
As for me, I 'd love to see different places in GB not just London, because I'm sure the real English life and real English people are there:)

1  
I'd agree with the author about lots of different places that are worth visiting in GB,but still people tend to go and visit London first thing and then maybe some more well-known places like Stratford-upon-Avon wher Shakespesre was born...

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