annwfyn: (mood - dandelion thoughts)
[personal profile] annwfyn
Random post of the day, because I was thinking about this. Sometimes I'm moderately snarky about the claims that Scotland is some kind of Utopia and I think I wind up misrepresenting myself as a result.

So, as a spontaneous one off, five things I love about this country. Because Scotland has, overall, been exceptionally kind to me and I do love it here. I just compulsively argue with people when I think they're not quite right. It's a curse. I need help.

1) Housing. And not just the fact that you can actually afford a nice house on a normal salary here. Note - this is maybe a Glasgow thing more than a Scotland thing. But one of the things I love about living up here is the scale that a lot of houses and flats are built on. Ceilings tend to be higher, windows are bigger, the buildings are taller but slightly more nicely laid out and the whole city feels full of light as a result. We may make jokes about Glasgow being grey and rainy, but I actually think I get more sunshine here than I ever did in London. And I love how the buildings are often made of red sandstone which just brightens up the whole city.

2) Commutes. Scots, in my experience, do not commute like people in the South do. This is, of course, not universal and I know one of you will pop up to say "I live in London and work ten minutes from my front door" and another Scot will appear to say "I live in Aberdeen and commute to Fort William daily by bicycle" but in general, the average commute here is so much shorter and I think that has an awesome knock on effect on the rest of your life. Having that extra time, that slightly different work-life balance, that extra daylight, just makes everything feel better. I also have a vague theory that the knock on effect of this means that there's a bit more of a sense of community here, but I have no proof of this and also accept it's all very random and it might just be I've found a community I feel integrated with. Even if I do sometimes grumble about Scottish nationalism and get the odd comment on my hideous Englishness.

3) Bureaucracy works better up here. I don't view this as any sign of some kind of deep seated Scottish morality. I think it's just the way it's worked out. But holy crap, there are a lot of small things up here which just make it slightly easier to get by day to day, and which seem to make life cheaper, nicer and a bit smoother. This includes letting agencies not being allowed to charge eleventy billion pounds of bullshit charges when you rent a flat (deposit, rent, and yay! House!), their house buying system is so much smoother and features no stupid gazumping, and while I do get frustrated with elements of the Scottish NHS (yes, Riverside CMHT, I'm talking about you), and the lack of prescription charges is really nice and means that you never need to worry about whether you can afford your basic medical requirements.

4) The landscape. This does not apply to Fife. I've been to Fife repeatedly lately. YOU DO NOT HAVE NICE LANDSCAPE, FIFE! YOU ARE FLAT AND YELLOW AND I DO NOT LIKE YOU. Ahem. But the rest of Scotland - this applies to you. Scotland basically has some beautiful outdoor space. And it's right fricking there. I can be at Loch Lomond in under an hour. I can get to the Highlands in a couple of hours. And everything is big and clean and wild and rugged and so bloody beautiful. It's an amazing space.

5) Space in general. I always feel like there's room to breathe up here. You get more physical room on the tube, on buses, and sure as hell on the streets. If you're claustrophobic at all, this place is heaven. I'm told Glasgow is worse than Edinburgh, but it sure as fuck is about a million times better than London.
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September 2017

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