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British Expat Newsletter:
13 July 2005

Hello, and welcome to those who have joined up since our last newsletter.

In this issue

  • This week: Still in Blighty
  • Virtual Snacks
  • Bizarre Searches
  • Joke and quotation

This week

Last time we wrote, we said that it might be the last newsletter for a couple of weeks as we were heading back to the UK to take care of various bits of business. That was two months ago and in some ways we’re no further forward. Having eventually managed to get our home back via the courts, we’re now in the position of having to do it up before selling it. It’s a hassle, but on the plus side it gives us more empathy with the would-be expats amongst our members. There’s so many things to do before moving abroad permanently, or at least for the indefinite future. Once the dust settles we hope to create a new section on the website with information about selling up prior to moving overseas. We already have some property-related articles on the site – many by Mark Wilkins and Joe Lopez of the Rights Group, eg their very handy checklist for a move to Spain.

We’ve learned quite a bit from our own mistakes. The main thing we’ve learned is to factor in delays like this when preparing your house for sale. Things seem to take such a long time to achieve in the UK. You can’t just decide you want something, new curtains or a new kitchen, say, and expect to get it any time soon. It’s four to six weeks minimum for anything – and even if you’re willing to DIY, sometimes you have to wait just as long for the raw materials to be delivered. In Thailand we’re used to things being done or delivered within days. So don’t be like us and spend three weeks decorating various other rooms and then decide to replace the kitchen. We should’ve done our planning upfront. As it is, we may finish everything else and be twiddling our thumbs for a couple of weeks while we await deliveries. Twiddling our thumbs? Fat chance! There’s always stuff to do on the website.

The UK experience has come as a shock to the system and has brought home to us that reverse culture shock on repatriation is very real. (Not that we’re actually planning to repatriate, of course – we’re glad that this is just temporary.) I’m not talking about simple things like the introduction of Freeview digital TV boxes, or chip-and-PIN credit cards (which the French have had for years already). No, this is much more deeply ingrained in the British way of doing things. I suppose it’s a consequence of living overseas that it opens your eyes to the fact that British isn’t always best after all. Even though it’s usually more expensive.

Whilst we often mention what we’re up to if it’s relevant to British expats, we don’t normally use the BE newsletter for personal announcements. I hope you’ll forgive this exception. After three years of hard slog I passed my MSc e-Business with distinction (distance learning with The Robert Gordon University, Scotland). I’ll be graduating in absentia tomorrow. Whew! I did it. If anyone is interested in reading my dissertation about website usability it’s at: http://www.flowtheory.com

Getting back to the subject of property sales, we’re thinking of trying to do it ourselves without using an estate agent. Do any of you have any experiences of selling houses which you’d like to share with us? If so, why not tell us about your experiences?

Virtual Snacks

Here’s an interesting article from the BBC which confirms what many of us have suspected for a long time: the level of service provided by some estate agents falls way below what we expect of them. Worryingly, regulation of the industry seems to be well nigh absent.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3664703.stm

One thing we miss about Thailand is the birdlife – with all kinds of exotic birds pitching up on a regular basis. However, it’s nice to see the old British favourites too. (A pair of blackbirds regularly visit our garden.) If you’re nostalgic for British birds, why not check out the RSPB‘s website?
http://www.rspb.org.uk/

And on the subject of birds, the RSPB have been closely involved in combating the catastrophic decline in vultures in India. Here’s a link to our article about the project: Vulture Recovery Programme

Bizarre Searches

Some strange search terms which have led people to visit British Expat recently:

  • sex pitchers
  • good charlotte muick
  • re-home ex-race horse
  • war king bombo and king little shipwrecked sailor
  • the holy registry
  • british counsel
  • female athletes chastity belt
  • history prostitute birth control
  • explain big easy
  • help i m a fish parole
  • bad british rock stars
  • what s even sadder grammar

Till next time…
Happy surfing!

Kay
Editor
British Expat Magazine

Quotation

“A man builds a fine house; and now he has a master, and a task for life: he is to furnish, watch, show it, and keep it in repair, the rest of his days.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82), Society and Solitude

Joke

An estate agent parks his brand new Porsche in front of the office to show it off to his colleagues. As he is getting out of the car, a lorry comes speeding along too close to the kerb and takes off the door before speeding off. The estate agent grabs his mobile phone and calls the police.

Five minutes later, the police arrive. Before the policeman has a chance to ask any questions, the agent screams hysterically: “My Porsche, my beautiful silver Porsche is ruined!”

The policeman shakes his head in disgust: “I can’t believe how bloody materialistic you estate agents are. You’re so focussed on your possessions, you don’t notice anything else in your life.”

The agent retorts: “How can you say that, at a time like this?”

The policeman replies: “Didn’t you realise that your right arm had been torn from your body when the truck hit you?”

The estate agent looks down in absolute horror ….

“Oh no,” he screams. “My Rolex, my gorgeous gold Rolex!”

PG Author: Kay McMahon

Kay has been an expat for nearly 30 years. She set up the British Expat website back in early 2000, whilst living in London and missing the expat life. These days she spends much of her time lugging computers and cameras around the world. (Dave gets to deal with all the really heavy stuff.)

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