The Yays and Nays of UK (V Spain, of course!)

Last weekend, when I should have been attending the wonderful idea-forming WABAS conference in Antequera, we instead flew to Wet Wales to visit Uni-based son in Bangor. The clash of dates occurred due to uni reading week, in fact the same problem as I had last year.

I don’t often ‘go home’, which is, of course, Dublin. We lived in Wales prior to upping sticks to our Spanish mountain, and despite various old neighbours and friends visiting US, I have not returned to Wales in almost 10 years.  Bangor has been the boy’s choice of home for over a year now, so I thought I had better make the effort and see where he has chosen to study. Hmm, Study. Loose term, that 🙂


So with flights booked, car hire arranged, Travelodges paid, dog-sitter cajoled, off we set last week, stopping for the night in Nerja at possibly the best value hostel in the world 🙂 If Carlsberg made hostels, well, here are the details of Hostal Abril if you wish to see for yourself.

hostal abril

The weekend went swimmingly, no delays, no problems, the Boy is doing great because he’s happy and has a great bunch of totally mad and lovely mates. But, I did that old expat thing of asking myself whether I could/would ever live there again. I’ve come up with a few Yays and a smatter of Nays, do you agree?

Yay! 🙂

Sunday papers

Specifically, the Times, and the supplements to provide us with loo and bed reading for the rest of the week. I really miss Sunday Morning in bed with AA Gill.


Autumn Colours

A leafy, tree-lined lane with the smell of rain, and woolly mittens grasping the dog lead. The views of North Wales are unbeatable. Well, if it wasn’t for THAT entry on the Nay list.

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Remember Noddy Holder “Save your thank(es), I’ll have a pit of Banks(es) “? No? Well, we were living in Wolverhampton at the time. Nothing like a decent pint, in a warm pub, with convivial company and no blasted strip lights, bullfights on telly, or Pipa mountains to trip over.

Thirsty?  Here’s a list of 24 cracking Welsh breweries to sample as soon as you can.

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Greggs Sausage Rolls

Yeah, council house trash, me. But really, you have to admit – they are the best 🙂 And Boy would simply not survive without them.


Polite service industry

Yes please, Thank you, No problem. Friendly, smiley people at Hertz Liverpool, Llandudno and Bangor Travelodge, shops, pubs, restaurants.  Zara need to send their staff over to Blighty for a weekend’s Smile Course.

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It’s that common gene again. I cannot help it. Fill your boots.

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Drivers who know what to do at a roundabout.  Folk giving way and waving. Using a Zebra crossing without risk of immediate death.


Happy dogs

I’m not saying they’re aren’t any, but I didn’t see one miserable looking starved canine all weekend.

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Nay 😦

It’s bloody filthy

I’m no Martha Stewart, in fact I’m a bit of a slob, and prefer dog hair and comfort to Febreze-ing the casa any day, but by God sticky tables and carpets seem to breed in the UK. Wet weather and carpets do not go together. The streets, public loos, the airport, they all need a power wash.



More bouncers than clientèle in Wetherspoons these days. Everyone seems to like a fight to wash down their Speckled Hen. And where are kids after Gin O’Clock?  They’re all banished to make way for the gunfight at the local OK Corral. Odd.



Yep, the UK needs a Tapas revolution. Mucho throwing back and throwing up – seems to be something of a weekend thing. As is wearing as little as possible on a night out. Oh hang on, I did that once.


Yeah, well, the Weather

Horizontal rain, wind, ALL the time gets a little bit boring. Those attractive leaves aren’t so great when they’re slippery and soggy, blocked drains and puddles, and view-spoilers are a big no-no for me. Hate to be so boring and regular about it, but yes, I prefer walking on sunshine. I mean, if I cannot wear Flipflops in November there’s just no point.



As in attitude towards day to day stuff.  Do it for me, click a button, have it delivered. NHS, Banks, even shopping. Is it because we have to do everything the long and tiresome way here in Spain that it was so obvious to me? The British tourists ‘stranded’ in Sharm el-Sheikh as a prime example. Whining and whinging over the media about having to stay a few extra days in what is now, probably, the safest place on earth. You chose a cheap holiday in what is essentially a guarded compound between war zones – so accept the risks. Don’t engage in the media sport of destroying their tourist industry just because your fortnight was cut short.  You all have it a bit easy in the UK – you should appreciate what you have and harden up a little.

Apologies for the rant, kind of slipped in. So…What’s on your Yay/Nay list? 🙂

10 thoughts on “The Yays and Nays of UK (V Spain, of course!)

  1. Another lovely article Carol, rant excused!
    Totally agree on driving and beer. Other ‘Yays’ – when we go back to our Scottish base I have to be careful not to overdose on square sausage, jock pies and craft beers, of which there are now loads to chose from.
    Can’t agree on the autumn leaves Carol, the Alpujarra and Serrania de Ronda are magnificent at the moment.
    ‘Nays’ – agree on the weather and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else at the moment or for the next few months. Although UK drivers are generally better than Spanish drivers, there’s just TOO MUCH traffic in the UK and it seems like you spend a good part of your life stopped at traffic lights. There are no traffic lights in Salobrena – you have to drive to Motril or Almunecar to find some.
    The pace of life in Blighty leaves me breathless, everybody’s running around as if their lives depend on it……chill out…..and talk to each other!

  2. Totally agree with all of that – but not just the Sunday papers, all of them. Poundland definitely, autumn leaves, and 100 shades of green in spring and summer. Although the Brits know how to drive on roundabouts, I hate all the traffic over there. It’s quite intimidating. And while shop staff may smile, and don’t have their ears glued to the phone, people in general tend to have long faces most of the time. Great article, Carol – rant excused. x

  3. Guess what? In Alicante we have a shop called Dealz- equivalent of Poundland/Poundstretcher. Everything is 1,50€- boxes of Malteasers, Bisto gravy granules, Walker’s crisps ….. Spent 50€ the other day- dangerously transported back to UK.

  4. Great article Carol. I really do miss a gregg’s pasty at times. Love to see the Autumn leaves, but hate the busy roads. We were over in Lancashire in June and roads so scary. Absolutely love November in Spain

  5. Really enjoyed this, Carol, and agree with most, although not a fan of sausage rolls by anyone myself. Beg to differ on one thing, but it seems to be confined to Malaga city: customer service is amazing. Nothing’s too much trouble and all with a smile. That was a big surprise to us used to grumpy, off-handed Marbellíes and Granaínos (the world champions at that). And can recommend El País on a Sunday 🙂
    And love Wales – holidays and uni memories…

    • I do buy El País when we’re close enough to buy one on Sundays, and yes, Málaga provides superb service, agreed. Living in Malafollá-land must have got to me 🙂 No sausage rolls? Lordy.

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