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moving back from USA to UK - any regrets?

moving back from USA to UK - any regrets?

Old Aug 22nd 2023, 12:00 pm
  #76  
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Default Re: moving back from USA to UK - any regrets?

Originally Posted by getoutofbritainquick
We live in Looe, Cornwall. There are issues with healthcare. We have had a Tory government for 13 or so years and they have been hopeless. They don’t seem to have done anything of any good other than self interests. I can honestly say I cannot think of one thing they have achieved. It looks like we will have a change of government coming up at the next election but who knows if they will be any better. I must say I wasn’t impressed with Canadian politicians either. I thought Harper was good when we first arrived in Canada but it rapidly went downhill when Trudeau got into power.
There are long waiting lists but I can say we haven’t experienced any problems. We got a doctor without any issues but getting a NHS dentist is almost impossible. Be prepared to pay for a private dentist! Having lived in Canada we were fortunate to get good benefits as we did when I worked in the UK many years ago.
What you will find is food was is cheaper and more varied compared to Canada, as is beer and wine. Car insurance is at least half of what we paid in Canada and property and contents insurance is far cheaper. Energy is more expensive but is starting to come down. There are areas of the UK I wouldn’t go near due to over population and crime especially my home town in Kent. The other big plus here is you don’t always need a car to get anywhere. We have excellent public transit compared to Canada. Both my grown up kids don’t drive here no does my wife. You can get by without a vehicle.
I think the topic healthcare always comes up and in reality there are issues in every country. Although I'm in Ireland, I still have family and friends in Germany and even there the differences are huge, although some media outlets claim they have excellent healthcare. You can go to the most modern clinic with brand new equipment and then the doctor treating you is not better than your local GP in a tiny rural village.
Even my mother who visited from Germany needed treatment here in Ireland and was impressed how good everything was. The public hospital wasn't the most modern, but staff were excellent and they found out that the doctor in Germany prescribed the wrong medication.


There will be plenty of folk who complain here and I have health insurance with Laya, but it doesn't cost the world and can't say anything bad really.
Sometimes it's luck and I always say the treatment is more important than the actual system. I'd also agree with crime and having lived in Ashford Kent, I can imagine that Looe Cornwall is like being in a different country. I wouldn't feel safe in any larger city and luckily the location within the country makes the difference.
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Old Aug 22nd 2023, 12:14 pm
  #77  
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Default Re: moving back from USA to UK - any regrets?

Originally Posted by Moses2013
I think the topic healthcare always comes up and in reality there are issues in every country. Although I'm in Ireland, I still have family and friends in Germany and even there the differences are huge, although some media outlets claim they have excellent healthcare. You can go to the most modern clinic with brand new equipment and then the doctor treating you is not better than your local GP in a tiny rural village.
Even my mother who visited from Germany needed treatment here in Ireland and was impressed how good everything was. The public hospital wasn't the most modern, but staff were excellent and they found out that the doctor in Germany prescribed the wrong medication.


There will be plenty of folk who complain here and I have health insurance with Laya, but it doesn't cost the world and can't say anything bad really.
Sometimes it's luck and I always say the treatment is more important than the actual system. I'd also agree with crime and having lived in Ashford Kent, I can imagine that Looe Cornwall is like being in a different country. I wouldn't feel safe in any larger city and luckily the location within the country makes the difference.
I agree, living in Cornwall is like living in another world. It’s so nice not having the stress of city living. My daughter has just joined us from Victoria and she was hesitant at first, now she says it’s one of the best places she has lived. At least it’s easier to get to meet people. It’s also so nice not looking at ugly construction all around you. I found that so depressing on VI watching all the forests being destroyed.
I think one of the biggest issues Canada faces is that it didn’t use it resource wealth to build good transport links and infrastructure. Looking forward the Canadian taxpayer is on the hook for billions trying to upgrade. You just can’t keep building without infrastructure improvements.
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Old Aug 22nd 2023, 12:46 pm
  #78  
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Default Re: moving back from USA to UK - any regrets?

Looe sounds lovely.

I sincerely wish the problems with getting access to healthcare were wildly exaggerated but I have too many friends with elderly parents in different parts of the UK and they’re all telling me the same story.
I went with my mother recently for a private consultation about getting her a hip replacement. The average wait for a hip replacement on the NHS in Belfast was over 4 years.
I’ve stopped talking about healthcare in Strasbourg to my family because it’s just embarrassing. Two friends had hip replacements recently: they waited four weeks.
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Old Aug 22nd 2023, 12:47 pm
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Default Re: moving back from USA to UK - any regrets?

Healthcare is still very much a post-code lottery. A few weeks ago a good friend of ours here had a knee replacement after only 2 months on the waiting list - actually it was 2 weeks shorter than that because they called to say they had a cancellation slot if she was interested. Our best friend was referred to an orthopedic specialist a couple of weeks after his x-ray showed he likely needed a new hip. He met with him and was put on a waiting list, told 2 months, and a week ago got 2 letters, one for a pre-op appointment and the other for the date of the hip replacement early October, so that also looks like it is only going to be 2 months on the waiting list.

In both cases the surgeries were/will be done at private local hospitals that don’t have A&E facilities so no bed blocking likely. Our local NHS Trust is paying for it all, and is their way to try to get through the backlog. The hospital where our friend will have his hip replacement is only a few hundreds of yards away from our main regional hospital, was only opened 5 years ago and includes orthopedic surgery on knees and hips, replacements and repairs like torn cartilages along with various other treatments. A Ramsey Healthcare facility - not heard of those before.

https://www.ramsayhealth.co.uk/

Last edited by durham_lad; Aug 22nd 2023 at 12:54 pm.
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Old Aug 22nd 2023, 2:42 pm
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Default Re: moving back from USA to UK - any regrets?

Originally Posted by Helen1964
Looe sounds lovely.

I sincerely wish the problems with getting access to healthcare were wildly exaggerated but I have too many friends with elderly parents in different parts of the UK and they’re all telling me the same story.
I went with my mother recently for a private consultation about getting her a hip replacement. The average wait for a hip replacement on the NHS in Belfast was over 4 years.
I’ve stopped talking about healthcare in Strasbourg to my family because it’s just embarrassing. Two friends had hip replacements recently: they waited four weeks.
Would they not have been able to use the cross border scheme. It was extended in Northern Ireland but maybe too late now for Republic but what about other UK hospitals?
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/n.../41802015.html

My uncle needed surgery on his knee and just went to Dublin instead of Galway, better to drive 2 hours than wait months.

https://www2.hse.ie/services/schemes...-waiting-list/
We also work with the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) and our hospitals on ways to help people get treated quicker.

The NTPF offers outpatient and, in most cases, follow-on treatment in a number of areas. These include cataract and varicose vein treatments and hip replacements.
NTPF list of treatment

In most cases the hospital or the NTPF will contact you with an appointment if:
  • your treatment is one on the NTPF list
  • you are waiting longer than 3 months
  • you are clinically suitable
Contact your hospital or your referring clinician if:
  • you are waiting more than 3 months for one of the treatments above
  • have any questions or wish to be referred to NTPF
A referring clinician could be your GP or hospital consultant.
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Old Aug 22nd 2023, 3:12 pm
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Default Re: moving back from USA to UK - any regrets?

Originally Posted by Helen1964
Looe sounds lovely.

I sincerely wish the problems with getting access to healthcare were wildly exaggerated but I have too many friends with elderly parents in different parts of the UK and they’re all telling me the same story.
I went with my mother recently for a private consultation about getting her a hip replacement. The average wait for a hip replacement on the NHS in Belfast was over 4 years.
I’ve stopped talking about healthcare in Strasbourg to my family because it’s just embarrassing. Two friends had hip replacements recently: they waited four weeks.
Another thing and there are bad ratings too, still seem to be 1 or 2 public hospitals that have good reviews. Not all doom and gloom on the island:-)




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Old Aug 22nd 2023, 3:33 pm
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Default Re: moving back from USA to UK - any regrets?

Sorry but I’m not convinced. Maybe things work differently in ROI.

As I’m sure you know, the GP in the UK is the gatekeeper to everything else and Mum - and many of my friends’ parents - have terrible problems even getting an appointment to see them.
Then months and months to see a specialist.

The idea of moving from a country where I can make an appointment myself online with a dermatologist to have say, a suspect lesion checked out within a few weeks to one where you’re at the mercy of a GP you can’t even get through to on the phone is, frankly, scary.

My niece is a young A&E doctor in Belfast. Many of those who graduated with her seem to have decamped to Australia.

I’m really not bashing the UK, by the way. I would love to move back.
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Old Aug 22nd 2023, 4:40 pm
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Default Re: moving back from USA to UK - any regrets?

Originally Posted by Helen1964
Sorry but I’m not convinced. Maybe things work differently in ROI.

As I’m sure you know, the GP in the UK is the gatekeeper to everything else and Mum - and many of my friends’ parents - have terrible problems even getting an appointment to see them.
Then months and months to see a specialist.

The idea of moving from a country where I can make an appointment myself online with a dermatologist to have say, a suspect lesion checked out within a few weeks to one where you’re at the mercy of a GP you can’t even get through to on the phone is, frankly, scary.

My niece is a young A&E doctor in Belfast. Many of those who graduated with her seem to have decamped to Australia.

I’m really not bashing the UK, by the way. I would love to move back.
Of course every young nurse is moving to Australia because of weather and salary, that was even the case 20 years ago. It's a bit like Spain for pensioners and even over there reality kicks in.

No data for NSW but seems to be bad for patients in Victoria
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-04-...list/102232032

https://www.skynews.com.au/australia...9bbcbebc176057

I used to work with a guy who was from Brazil and his sister is a nurse here in the Republic of Ireland. Apparently the young Irish were complaining all the time and were stressed, she said having worked in other countries they didn't seem to know how good they had it and most of the time they were never busy.

I suppose everyone will have a different opinion and the best GP can move away or retire, be it Australia, France UK etc. It really is a lottery and you could go to the best clinic and get surgery in less than 2 weeks. If unlucky the surgeon has a cold and is off sick, so the trainee surgeon does his first op..

Some people move to a country for good healthcare and never need it, then they go on holiday to Greece and break their leg.
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Old Oct 5th 2023, 1:00 pm
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Default Re: moving back from USA to UK - any regrets?

Hi there,
I read your post and thought for a minute that I had written it. I, too, live in PA and have been here many years. I am now seriously considering moving back. My partner is much older than me and although my mum is now dying and I have limited contact with family, I do not want to live in the US the rest of my life especially not after my partner passes. What did you do? How are you managing?
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Old Oct 7th 2023, 10:19 pm
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Default Re: moving back from USA to UK - any regrets?

Originally Posted by Helen1964
Sorry but I’m not convinced. Maybe things work differently in ROI.

As I’m sure you know, the GP in the UK is the gatekeeper to everything else and Mum - and many of my friends’ parents - have terrible problems even getting an appointment to see them.
Then months and months to see a specialist.

The idea of moving from a country where I can make an appointment myself online with a dermatologist to have say, a suspect lesion checked out within a few weeks to one where you’re at the mercy of a GP you can’t even get through to on the phone is, frankly, scary.

My niece is a young A&E doctor in Belfast. Many of those who graduated with her seem to have decamped to Australia.

I’m really not bashing the UK, by the way. I would love to move back.
I found a dodgy mole, saw my GP the same day got referred to a dermatologist. Biopsied within two weeks. The path report took a few weeks though and I've had to go back for more surgery. We've had a similar good response for my husband's stuff. There's a long wait for cardiology appointments for this area though. Nowhere is perfect and I certainly wouldn't want insurance lead healthcare.
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Old Oct 8th 2023, 6:20 am
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Default Re: moving back from USA to UK - any regrets?

That’s good to hear you were able to get treated so quickly.
Do you mind me asking in roughly which part of the UK you’ve settled?

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Old Oct 9th 2023, 10:41 am
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Default Re: moving back from USA to UK - any regrets?

Originally Posted by Pulaski
I think you are already concerned about the only pattern I recall noticing among people who returned to the UK and expressed regrets at having done so (which may, or may not had led to them leaving the UK a second time), specifically that on returning to the UK to "spend more time with family and friends" they find that the family and friends have moved on with their lives (moved, got married, changed their hobbies/ interests, etc.) and that it just isn't possible to pick up with personal relationships where you left off when you left the UK years earlier.

Before anyone replies to say otherwise, this isn't true for everyone, but a significant proportion of people who expressed regrets here on BE after returning to the UK mentioned this disconnect with family and previous friends as a factor.
Hi, We looked at our return to the UK as “another phase in our lives” we knew we wanted to live “away” from family but a drive if needed, so we moved different area to live and we also went with the mindset that if our old friends and also our family were wanting to be in our lives and our new move then that would be a bonus but we did not return solely for that so we knew it would not be a heartbreaker if that did not happen, we had also “changed as well”. You have to go anywhere with an opened mind, none of us can go back in time we just have to make things work in the here and now if we really want to make our lives work for the best.
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Old Nov 23rd 2023, 11:11 pm
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Default Re: moving back from USA to UK - any regrets?

Originally Posted by Helen1964
Sorry but I’m not convinced. Maybe things work differently in ROI.

As I’m sure you know, the GP in the UK is the gatekeeper to everything else and Mum - and many of my friends’ parents - have terrible problems even getting an appointment to see them.
Then months and months to see a specialist.

The idea of moving from a country where I can make an appointment myself online with a dermatologist to have say, a suspect lesion checked out within a few weeks to one where you’re at the mercy of a GP you can’t even get through to on the phone is, frankly, scary.

My niece is a young A&E doctor in Belfast. Many of those who graduated with her seem to have decamped to Australia.

I’m really not bashing the UK, by the way. I would love to move back.
My experience of the NHS is pretty dire - but it is supposedly a postcode lottery so doubtless some people somewhere are getting a good service.

Recently my GP cancelled a medication I take (that started in the USA) for a permanent illness - I went to order my usual quarterly meds on the app and it wasn't there - no conversation about my symptoms (the med is one of two replacing an organ I no longer have), no blood tests, nothing - no conversation at all. When I complained at the surgery I got a letter saying that it was for my "safety" - ignoring the previous six years they had been prescribing it and of course it is an entirely safe drug that millions of people around the world use but ....... it is expensive (we're talking a few hundred £ a year, not millions) and I suspect they were looking to cut corners.

My friend who already had an ACL tear had a semi-fall and bad pain episode in his knee and had to go to A&E on a Sunday afternoon around 6pm. By 2am the next morning he decided he didn't want to wait any longer and headed home.

I would far, far rather have the private medical I had in the US. Since I've been back in the UK my "NHS tax" has actually been a lot more than I paid in health insurance premiums and co-pays etc in the US.
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Old Nov 26th 2023, 1:48 pm
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Default Re: moving back from USA to UK - any regrets?

Looks like this is a fairly old thread, but as I am now (semi-) retired and 17 years post-return to the UK, I thought my experience and reflections might be helpful to someone.

My background: I left the UK in 1983 to take up a teaching position in the Bahamas. After several years, I moved to the US to first of all train (masters, then PhD) and then teach and do research, living in Massachusetts, Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina in the process. I moved back to the UK twice - in 2000, for one year, and in 2006, permanently. I retired in 2017 following something of a life-changing event.

The thread is titled, "Any regrets?" and the simple answer is "Yes, many" But I think any major life change would carry regrets - and I think if I had stayed in the US I would eventually have had regrets about that decision, also. However, having said that, I had very few, if any, regrets about my move overseas in 1983, and the 23 years spent teaching, learning, and doing research. It was the most engaging, rewarding, enriching period of my life.

In brief, my main regrets about MBTTUK were:
(1) Huge professional culture shock. My job has always been a large part of my life, and I found US students engaging, likable (mostly!) and eager to learn. I found my US colleagues likable (mostly!) and eager to pursue ideas - the US is very much a Can Do culture and the positivity was refreshing. In contrast, I found my UK professional culture preoccupied with bureaucracy, almost to the point of obsession, and not open to new ideas. Although I found much to like about teaching UK students, they just simply weren't anywhere near as engaged as US students. Attendance was expected, but not required, for example, and for about 2 years I was frustrated by the effects of student non-attendance on my workload (I teach a difficult subject, which didn't help). I had a light bulb moment about 2 years in, though, that changed everything. I realised all my emotional energy was being put into the non-attenders, rather than the students who did turn up. Things changed drastically after that moment, although the very laissez-faire attitude to attendance continued to bug me until the moment I retired. That's just one example of the professional culture that gave me regrets about moving; there were plenty of others.
(2) Huge personal culture shock. Having lived overseas for 23 years, I felt almost like a stranger in my own country. Although not strictly cultural, the much worse weather patterns here in the UK stifled my very busy outdoor activities (largely cycling). The personal culture shock did pass more quickly, although there is much about the US lifestyle that I still miss.
(3) Ridiculously high house prices, compared to where I lived in the US. This, along with other things like the dreadful exchange rate when I moved back, put me in a very tight financial situation for quite a while.

Since 2006, these regrets have been counterbalanced by a couple of things:
(1) A more stable financial situation. Ironically, the financial crisis of 2009-2010 helped me, in that the interest rate plummeted. This enabled me to plough every spare penny into paying off my mortgage, into AVCs (added years pension) at work, and into a SIPP. Although I ended up not having much choice about when I had to retire, these factors plus a very frugal lifestyle have put me in a stable, pretty comfortable financial position in retirement. I still live frugally, but can take cycling holidays whenever I want, I've bought two new bikes (though I'm still driving a 12-year-old car!), and paying the bills each month is not a worry like it is for some people.
(2) In my retirement, I can now reflect on the "What if?" question. If I had stayed in the US, I would either (a) be retired in a college town, where many of my friends and colleagues would "go back home" (to their home state) upon their retirement, or (b) moving back to the UK after retirement, possibly to an area where I didn't know anyone, learning all over again how to be a UK resident and citizen. I might also be subject to US taxes, if I'd had a green card or US citizenship, of course! In the US,. I also would be burdened potentially by health care costs and the possibility of a health scare bankrupting me. I'm luckily generally in good health, mostly due to my own efforts, but I know that the UK has a better safety net - regardless of current issues with the NHS, at least it is free at point of service - and private health care is always an option if I'm in a hurry.

So all in all, at the time I MBTTUK, I had plenty of regrets. At the time I was moving from a great life to a pretty frustrating, financially-strapped life. But now, 17 years later, I'd say that I don't have many regrets, and can recognise if I hadn't made the move I would probably have ended up in a more difficult situation in retirement.
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Old Nov 27th 2023, 11:00 am
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Default Re: moving back from USA to UK - any regrets?

Originally Posted by dunroving
Looks like this is a fairly old thread, but as I am now (semi-) retired and 17 years post-return to the UK, I thought my experience and reflections might be helpful to someone.

My background: I left the UK in 1983 to take up a teaching position in the Bahamas. After several years, I moved to the US to first of all train (masters, then PhD) and then teach and do research, living in Massachusetts, Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina in the process. I moved back to the UK twice - in 2000, for one year, and in 2006, permanently. I retired in 2017 following something of a life-changing event.

The thread is titled, "Any regrets?" and the simple answer is "Yes, many" But I think any major life change would carry regrets - and I think if I had stayed in the US I would eventually have had regrets about that decision, also. However, having said that, I had very few, if any, regrets about my move overseas in 1983, and the 23 years spent teaching, learning, and doing research. It was the most engaging, rewarding, enriching period of my life.

In brief, my main regrets about MBTTUK were:
(1) Huge professional culture shock. My job has always been a large part of my life, and I found US students engaging, likable (mostly!) and eager to learn. I found my US colleagues likable (mostly!) and eager to pursue ideas - the US is very much a Can Do culture and the positivity was refreshing. In contrast, I found my UK professional culture preoccupied with bureaucracy, almost to the point of obsession, and not open to new ideas. Although I found much to like about teaching UK students, they just simply weren't anywhere near as engaged as US students. Attendance was expected, but not required, for example, and for about 2 years I was frustrated by the effects of student non-attendance on my workload (I teach a difficult subject, which didn't help). I had a light bulb moment about 2 years in, though, that changed everything. I realised all my emotional energy was being put into the non-attenders, rather than the students who did turn up. Things changed drastically after that moment, although the very laissez-faire attitude to attendance continued to bug me until the moment I retired. That's just one example of the professional culture that gave me regrets about moving; there were plenty of others.
(2) Huge personal culture shock. Having lived overseas for 23 years, I felt almost like a stranger in my own country. Although not strictly cultural, the much worse weather patterns here in the UK stifled my very busy outdoor activities (largely cycling). The personal culture shock did pass more quickly, although there is much about the US lifestyle that I still miss.
(3) Ridiculously high house prices, compared to where I lived in the US. This, along with other things like the dreadful exchange rate when I moved back, put me in a very tight financial situation for quite a while.

Since 2006, these regrets have been counterbalanced by a couple of things:
(1) A more stable financial situation. Ironically, the financial crisis of 2009-2010 helped me, in that the interest rate plummeted. This enabled me to plough every spare penny into paying off my mortgage, into AVCs (added years pension) at work, and into a SIPP. Although I ended up not having much choice about when I had to retire, these factors plus a very frugal lifestyle have put me in a stable, pretty comfortable financial position in retirement. I still live frugally, but can take cycling holidays whenever I want, I've bought two new bikes (though I'm still driving a 12-year-old car!), and paying the bills each month is not a worry like it is for some people.
(2) In my retirement, I can now reflect on the "What if?" question. If I had stayed in the US, I would either (a) be retired in a college town, where many of my friends and colleagues would "go back home" (to their home state) upon their retirement, or (b) moving back to the UK after retirement, possibly to an area where I didn't know anyone, learning all over again how to be a UK resident and citizen. I might also be subject to US taxes, if I'd had a green card or US citizenship, of course! In the US,. I also would be burdened potentially by health care costs and the possibility of a health scare bankrupting me. I'm luckily generally in good health, mostly due to my own efforts, but I know that the UK has a better safety net - regardless of current issues with the NHS, at least it is free at point of service - and private health care is always an option if I'm in a hurry.

So all in all, at the time I MBTTUK, I had plenty of regrets. At the time I was moving from a great life to a pretty frustrating, financially-strapped life. But now, 17 years later, I'd say that I don't have many regrets, and can recognise if I hadn't made the move I would probably have ended up in a more difficult situation in retirement.
Wonderful post.
To pick up on your mention of cycling, did you manage to adapt to the climate and continue cycling anyway?
My husband and I are both very keen cyclists so I'm wondering whether you've come across any parts of England that are particularly well suited to cyclists - in terms not just of weather but also access to quiet roads. Robin has already told me that Norfolk is good but we wouldn't mind a few hills. I love Devon but those deepset lanes would be lethal for traffic. Somerset, maybe?

Have just been watching Sex Education on Netflix and it's probably a sign of my age that I was far more excited by the glimpses of people cycling in the Wye Valley and the Forest of Dean than by anything else that was happening on screen.





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