Expat Diaries

10 Things I Miss About England

2020-03-22

Believe me, there are more than 10 things I miss about England, but I’m trying to write something a little light-hearted for these strange times. Despite the awful mess that is Brexit, I really do miss my beautiful little country. Here are some reasons why:

Convenience

A lot of big supermarkets are open 24 hours on weekdays. If they’re not, then they are at least open until 10 pm. Every supermarket is open 7 days a week. There are small stores within almost every large housing estate. Sometimes, it’s nice that here in Bavaria, Sunday’s are still treated as very much a family or religious day. It’s not so nice when you run out of flour or butter in the middle of cooking lunch, or when PMS hits and you need chocolate and sanitary towels ASAP…

Cheap all-in-one Gyms

Most gyms in my beloved Hereford offered it all – group exercise classes (incl. Spinning/indoor cycling), a gym full of equipment, and long opening hours (some 24/7) to workout at your own convenience. Most of these also cost under £40 per month.

Perhaps it is because I live in a more ‘rural’ part of Germany, but here, the few local-ish gyms available either do not open until 9 am and will close early at 8 or 9 pm, do not run group exercise classes and do not offer Spinning. Those that do cost over €60 per month.

There’s one local chain gym that has a “beginners area” you have to use until you have completed one month’s membership…what a way to make people feel safe and included in the gym space…

Takeaways

Don’t get me wrong, fast food is thriving in Germany. But there is something about a British takeaway that makes it feel special to Britain – probably the 8 inches of oil everything is fried in.

I have also found a lack of choice here. The population of the town I now live in is not far off the population of Hereford, but the town itself is much, much smaller. I just really miss a greasy, salty Indian okay?

British Humour

The Germans DO have a sense of humour, contrary to popular belief. However, British humour is a very specific thing that I think only comes from being a British native. It is probably the thing I miss most about Britain.

Linda McCartney

Not the actual Linda. Her food. Without a doubt the best vegetarian meat substitute in the world. I can’t even find Quorn here!

Gin

Gin is available here but isn’t as big as it is in the UK.

I specifically miss 2 brands of gin that I cannot find anywhere: Chase Gin (a home gin from Herefordshire, but famous all over the UK) and Whitley Neill. Both UK brands, both delicious flavours.

Baked Beans

Much like gin, you can buy baked beans here. Heinz is even stocked in most supermarkets! However, there are 2 very big problems:

1) I am convinced they change the recipe for the European market because they absolutely do not taste the same

2) they are extortionately expensive.

In the UK, own-brand beans can be found for 50p and under, Heinz can usually be sourced for less than £1. Here, you pay at least €1,80 for the privilege of Heinz and it is impossible to find own brand beans. I feel very strongly about baked bean inflation.

Being Held Up By Animals

Very specific to rural Britain. Gone are the days when I would be 15 minutes late for work because the farmer was walking the cows to a different field. Or the pheasant family would be casually taking a walk in front of your car. Or the sheep had escaped. I miss it, man, I really do.

The NHS

Where do I even start with this? I’m lucky, I have not needed the NHS too many times in my life. When I have, they have been nothing short of spectacular with me. Sure, there have been times when I was landed with an isolated case of ‘dickhead Doctor’ (shoutout to that one Doctor about 10 years ago who told me all my problems were because I was fat, you really helped me lol), but in general, I have always had a good experience with them.

God bless the NHS and their FREE healthcare.

Yorkshire Tea + fresh milk

It’s a problem. A big problem. I haven’t had a decent cuppa for 6 months. The water here is so hard and it is near impossible to find decent fresh milk. Sure, the coffee is good and the choice of herbal teas is fantastic, but sometimes you just need a builders tea ok?


A small note: what strange times we are living in. I would just like to take the time to encourage everyone to take the necessary precautions where they can, to stay safe, and to stay hopeful. We’re all in this together.

  • Reply
    Hayley
    2020-03-23 at 10:49 am

    You need to be able to set up a monthly GB food parcel to cover off essentials ❤

    • Reply
      adventuresofsteffi
      2020-03-25 at 4:17 pm

      Oh my gosh yes this would be amazing! There is a website you can order non-perishables and cleaning products through, but I’m not sure about alcohol.

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