Clearly and obviously because they’re not in England

Why does NOWHERE in Wales or Scotland or Northern Ireland make it into the top 50 places to live in UK?

This does of course only move the conundrum one iteration back. Is it because we English took all the nice places to live leaving the Celts with the shit or is it because those places we English didn’t take are still infested with Celts and are therefore shit?

Examining, say, Merthyr Tydfil could lead you to either conclusion. Difficult one really…..

38 thoughts on “Clearly and obviously because they’re not in England”

  1. This stuff is a bit the wrong way around. Why does Hartley Wintney score high for health? Because if you were in poor health, maybe retired or disabled and incapable of working, you wouldn’t live in Hartley Wintney, which is a nice place near where the work is. All the places that score highly are Faux Bucolic Rural Idylls, sort of places you don’t stay when health affects your earnings.

    And I note earnings is in there, but no mention of the amount of that you lose in rent. 30% higher earnings in Hook sounds great, but the prices of houses around there are pretty steep.

  2. Rob: you beat me to it about Edinburgh. Or if you want somewhere smaller then North Berwick, Gifford, or some other pleasant East Lothian town. Some nice places in the Borders as well.

  3. Galloway and Perthshire also have nice spots. Edinburgh must have been, when I lived there, the best place in Britain for a lively middle class existence for people with ordinary earnings. We moved to Cambridge, which was then a slightly woebegone market town where the shops closed at 5.00 p.m. but the “late night chemist” stayed open till 6.00, and the only decent restaurant was beyond the pocket of the those who weren’t eating on someone else’s dime. Christ! London just drained too much life out of the place.

  4. Lots of great places in Scotland and Wales.

    Trouble is, they’re either really expensive (Edinburgh, Aberdeen) or nowhere near good employment opportunities (rural North Wales, the Highlands).

    Unfortunately the natives are quite excitable. But if you loudly explain that you’re an Englishman and won’t stand for any of their drunken Caledonian prattle or primitive Cambrian aircraft-pointery, they’ll probably be impressed and offer to make you their king.

  5. The most common words I hear from colleagues who have moved from London to Edinburgh are “I should have done this years ago; what was I doing living in London?”

  6. As I noted when these lists of “most desirable cities to live in the world” come out with, inevitably, Melbourne, Vancouver, Perth, and Calgary at the top with either Copenhagen or Berlin thrown in, the lists reflect the people compiling them more than anything else. They are less “the best cities in the world” than “the best cities for white, Middle Class English families to live provided hubby has a well-paid job in one of a handful of professions and wifey doesn’t need to learn another language, much less a new culture, to kick back and enjoy coffee mornings”. Living in Paris isn’t easy, but it is damned good. Melbourne was easy but dull and expensive.

    I suspect these best cities in the UK start with the premise that one simply must be earning a London salary to pay for the brats’ private school fees.

  7. ” by their definition Hatfield and Luton are better than, say, Pembrokeshire.”

    Pembs is only better than Hatfield or Luton if you come from the latter and have the wealth and income that go with it. Then its very nice. If you actually live and need to make a living there, not so good. Your options are 1) work for the State, 2) work at Milford Haven in some oil/gas related job or 3) Agricultural work.

    I have friends in Haverfordwest and spend a bit of time down there, so can see the difference from living in England. Nice to visit, ok to retire to as long as you have a good pension, not very good for working in.

  8. “Your options are 1) work for the State, 2) work at Milford Haven in some oil/gas related job or 3) Agricultural work.”

    Plus tourism, obviously.

  9. Your options are 1) work for the State, 2) work at Milford Haven in some oil/gas related job or 3) Agricultural work.

    Or solicitor, as my dad was in Pembroke for years. You’re quite correct though, there is no work down there to speak of and even he ended up moving to Cardiff and eventually London for a better job. But in the mid 1970s it represented a half-decent place to live at a fraction of the cost of Sussex, where my parents were living before they moved. There was almost no serious crime, lovely place to grow up – until you hit 15 or so.

  10. Let’s assume the “nice places to live” are equally spread out all over the UK. People live in places where people live. Scotland has 7% the population of the UK, so out of 50 places I wouldn’t expect Scotland to have more than 2-4 of those places. A statisitcal fluke would easily get to zero.

  11. On our first trip to Ireland I asked the guide why we weren’t stopping in Limerick. They answer? “It’s called Stab City for a reason.” That was followed by multiple bus drivers in Dublin pretending to “not understand our American accents” so they could accidently pass our stops.

    On our first trip to Scotland (Edinburgh) we were berated as “English people” by a thoroughly drunken Scot the first night. The second night we had to step over passed out Scots in the lobby of our hotel (one of the best, and most expensive, in the city) after attending a play. They’d been dragged out of the bar and simply left to sleep it off on the lobby floor by staff.

    I can only imagine what the shitty parts of the islands are like…

  12. Time for one of my pro-Welsh stories. I was on a bus in Swansea and tried to pay my fare with a Scottish pound note. The odious Welsh conductor refused it, the only time I have ever been refused use of a Scottish note (no, not even in East Anglia).

    But the heroic Welsh passengers told him off loudly and had a whip-round to pay my fare. Since the passengers outnumbered the conductor, I reckon that yarn does credit to the Welsh.

    Come to think of it, Swansea didn’t look too bad a place to live, if you like facing south over the beach to the sea, and an attractive stretch of coastline. NSW isn’t called New South Wales for nothing.

  13. @ dearieme
    Cambridge market is full of rip-off merchants – if you moved to Cambridge for the market you must be nearly as ill-informed on markets as you are on religion.
    “The only decent restaurant” – blimey, what a snob! “Decent” doesn’t mean The Savoy Grill or Simpson’s in The Strand, it means a generally acceptable standard and the first time I dined in Cambridge The Blue Boar met that definition. The last time I had supper in Cambridge (I’ve forgotten the name of the restaurant) the fish more than met the definition of “decent” (so I left a tip exceeding the standards 10% by enough to notice).

  14. @ Dennis
    The guide might have been lying to you.
    Secondly Hel is the Norse goddess reigning over those who did not qualify for Valhalla – her queendom is one of ice and snow so every day day is a cold day in Hell.
    Or, perhaps, you mean Gehenna?

  15. Poor Merthyr Tydfil. It’s in the shadow of the shittest national park in Wales on my semi-official rankings. Any enterprise planned there raises objections from the preserve-it-in-vinegar pro-farm-subsidy lobby. Witness the objection to the building of a Motor Racing track in Merthyr because although it was outside the park boundary, someone inside the park boundary might see it.

  16. Bloke in North Dorset

    “If Haverfordwest is your thing, there is always 14 Sigs. Really good high tech stuff”

    Bit of a come down compared to Celle when I was with 14SR in the early 80s, although the kaserne at Scheuen were dire.

  17. But the heroic Welsh passengers told him off loudly and had a whip-round to pay my fare.

    Harry Secombe’s Welsh Fargo is a superb commentary on the south Walians, probably from a similar era. It is hilarious.

  18. I took some visitors from London area through and around Merthyr in the mid to late 80’s at their request. One of them was actually in tears at one point.
    Swansea sounds ok on paper, but really I think you mean the gower in general and maybe mumbles, most of it is to be avoided, used to be they’d steal your hubcaps while you were stopped at the lights. Mind you its been a long time since I staggered the mumbles mile.
    Funnily enough Vancouver (the area not the city) also has a Guilford, not sure I’d want to live in either one.

  19. Poor Merthyr Tydfil. It’s in the shadow of the shittest national park in Wales on my semi-official rankings.

    The Brecon Beacons are not meant for beauty, they’re meant for making soldiers cold, wet, and miserable and, occasionally, killing them.

  20. @Tim Newman
    Rubbish – the Brecon Beacons are beautiful, even if I once suffered heat exhaustion when I got back to the Youth Hostel after walking up two of them in one day. Some years later I took #1 son up Brecon Beacon when he was 5 (wifelet took #2 son farther up foothill to meet us on th way down than we had expected).

  21. Rubbish – the Brecon Beacons are beautiful,

    I wouldn’t really know, I couldn’t see through the cloud/fog/rain/sleet. I used to go there a fair bit, pal was doing his SBS R-troop selection training and I came along sans bergen. It was gopping.

  22. If you think Merthyr is bad, go up top to Dowlais. The grimmest place I have been in the British Isles, and it was a clear sunny day.

    The Beacons have their moments but on balance are just too soggy. Most of it is almost impassable in winter, being bogs and peat based. A shame.

    Still, judging Wales by Merthyr Tydfil is like judging London by Deptford.

  23. There’s a big bias towards the South in that list. If Ilkley or Hebden Bridge aren’t on it it’s bollocks.

  24. the Brecon Beacons are beautiful

    No they are not. For one, and I speak as a jock, bogs are supposed to be in the valleys, not lurking triumphantly on hill tops.

  25. Someone had the bright idea of running training courses for companies using some of the army setup in Brecon, I went on one and it was great fun, though sleeping outdoors in September in Brecon with nothing but tarpaulin isn’t entirely fun. Our first night they threw us some gutted rabbits and said you want to eat sort out a fire skin them and make some stew, when someone complained they pointed out we were lucky they caught and gutted them. Overall a great week hiking and doing puzzles/exercises including live guns and nighttime land rover driving with low light googles. My colleague who also went broke their nose on the nighttime assault course where they were throwing flash bangs to enliven the experience

  26. “If you think Merthyr is bad, go up top to Dowlais. The grimmest place I have been in the British Isles, and it was a clear sunny day.”

    There’s no lack of competition for that particular honour. Peterlee in County Durham is an obvious nominee. At least at Dowlais you can see the mountains.

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