Research by the UK's Institute for Public Policy Research shows that a strong pound and booming house prices are helping Brits live their dream of moving overseas - and that most of us don't leave because the country's gone to the dogs.
"Since I returned from Abu Dhabi, only slightly trimmer and more toned, I have managed to put on around six kilos in weight. Not surprising. I eat more in the winter and exercise less than I did in AD. But despite a campaign of regular exercise combined with sensible eating and drinking for a whole year, I have not lost even a pound and my waist is as wide as ever." Miranda Irving thinks life just ain't fair sometimes...
"I think many of us are blinded by the prospect of getting something without actually having to pay for it up front. Of course, there's nothing wrong with making the odd large purchase in this way. But the problem comes when people start to rely on credit too much." Miranda Irving muses on the consumer credit boom - and growing indebtedness - in Britain.
"I'm really not looking forward to this Halloween. I realise that I may be being unnecessarily curmudgeonly here – Halloween is meant to be a bit of fun. But I blame it on the season. Though there are things to enjoy at this time of year - the autumn leaves, conkers and (occasional) crisp bright mornings - there is no getting away from it, winter is drawing in." With all the hassles of dressing up kids for trick-or-treating, and trying to ration the resulting pile of sweets, Halloween is not Miranda Irving's favourite festival.
"Parking is one of those 'Don't get me started' topics. Everyone has a story and everyone, but everyone, has an opinion whether it's the cost, the evil nature of traffic wardens, the lack of free spaces, the insidious spread of parking meters into residential and suburban streets, or the fact that machines will never give change..." Miranda Irving on the frustrations of parking your car in Britain.