Lessons in the "Britain" Category

Want a mortgage in Britain?

Want a mortgage in Britain? If you apply for one now you are likely to be asked some new bizarre questions! This is because the UK property market is overheating. There is a ‘super bubble’ in the London area.

The tsunami like effect is rippling outwards, right across the South East of Britain. Its effect is pushing property prices up. London has seen prices increase in the last year by approximately 17%. Year-on-year prices rose across the UK by an average of 8%. Prices are expected to increase another 10%.

Category: Economic / House Prices / Mortgages

British banks cut thousands of jobs and hundreds of banking branches

British banks are to cut thousands of jobs and close hundreds of bank branches. The huge shake up is a result of them being allowed to get too big. The devastating 2008 financial crisis saw two of the biggest UK banks taken over by the government because of the losses they incurred.

The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS), that is 81% owned by the government, is expected to axe 30,000 jobs this year. The bank will withdraw from risky business and severely cut its international division. Its new Chief Executive Ross McEwan aims to decrease the RBS Group headcount by a quarter over the next 3-5 years.

Category: Business / Economics / Banking

Death of the British High Street

If you are considering a visit to Britain you might like to do some shopping. Where better to do this than in a small quaint market town. Visitors however, might be surprised by what they see…

Gone are the days of seeing a typical British High Street bustling with shoppers. Today people visit out-of-town shopping centres and supermarkets. The result has caused the gradual death of the typical British High Street.

Category: Britain / High Streets / Shopping

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

This year The Queen celebrates 60 years on the throne. The British Monarch will be celebrating her Diamond Jubilee at the beginning of June. Special celebrations will take place across Britain between 2-6 June.

The Queen came to the throne on 6th February 1952. Her coronation took place on the 2nd June 1953. She celebrated her Silver Jubilee (25 years) in 1977 and her Golden Jubilee (50 years) in 2002. The only other Monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee was Queen Victoria in 1897.

Communities around the country will be celebrating the specially extended bank holiday weekend between the 2-5 June. During this particular weekend The Queen will be at several events including the Epson Derby on Saturday 2nd June. Sunday 3rd June will see the fourth annual Big Lunch (street parties countrywide) take place. Anyone who wants to celebrate this can do so on this day.

Category: Britain / The Queen / Diamond Jubilee

Solar power mushrooms in Britain

Solar power in Britain over the past few years has mushroomed, especially during the six weeks before December 12th 2011. This is when the British government tried to close a gap in a solar power scheme the previous government created. The reason ‘it seems’ is that the deal was too good to be true!

Homeowners who installed solar panels could receive a tariff rate of 43.3p per kilowatt-hour with returns predicted at 18% per annum on one initial investment over 25 years. In October 2011 the British government announced it would reduce this figure to 21p from December 12th.

This was challenged by the Friends of the Earth in court. On January 25th the Court of Appeal released its verdict on the government’s appeal. The judges agreed it was unlawful to change the feed in rate to 21p before March 3rd 2012. The British government immediately launched an appeal but this was immediately rejected. Homeowners have until March 3rd to get a completed system registered at the 43.3p receivable tariff rate.

Category: Business / Technology / Solar Energy

Irritating British Bedtime Habits

You have just got off to sleep when suddenly your partner decides to tuck the duvet around them and roll away from you. This ‘tuck and roll’, as it’s called, is one of a number of irritating bedtime habits that have been revealed in a recent survey of British couples - according to Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Another is the ‘midnight shuffle’ where one sleeper moves away from the other and is slowly followed across the bed by their partner. Eventually, the creeper forces the other to hang on precipitously off the edge of the bed until they are woken up and crossly sent back from where they came. Nearly a fifth (19%) of respondents aged 25-50 complained about the problem.

The survey of 1,000 people by Debenhams, the British department store, revealed some other interesting habits, for example, snoring, talking and fidgeting and the grinding of teeth. Surprisingly flatulence under the covers only accounts for one per cent of complaints!

Category: Survey / Britain / Bedtime Habits

Great British Dishes

Food is always a good talking point in any conversation. So today, let’s talk about some great British food dishes. Britain has some fabulous mouth watering choices. So what are they?

Well, let’s start with one of the most popular – freshly bought fish and chips from the fish and chip shop. In England, cod is the favourite fish in the south; haddock in the north. The chips are sprinkled with salt and vinegar. Northerners like mushy peas with theirs.

Another British dish is Steak and Kidney Pudding or Pie. The former is made with suet, the latter with pastry. Both are filled with succulent cutup pieces of British beef and ox kidney. They are delicious with potatoes and English vegetables and some Lea & Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce.

A similar traditional pub meal is pie and mash. These days pie is made with beef. More than 50 years ago however, Londoners from the East End made this pie with jellied eels, as eels were then cheaper than beef.

Category: Great Britain / Food / British Dishes