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November 8, 2010

Welsh Mountains My husband and I talked of our move from South Florida to Wales for a long time.  There were advantages galore and a few major disadvantages.  Leaving my daughter and her family, including two cuddly grandsons, was the wall put up in front of me that could have prevented this move.  But I was determined to help myself, and as a result, I would be in a better position to help them.

So, here we are, actually Living Dibley (the fictional town where the comedienne Dawn French reigns as the local Vicar).  The view from our patio is incredible.  The mountains (yes, hills and mountains dot the landscape) are lush and green.  The weather is perfect for a jacket or sweater.  And the rain is – well – ever present!  But somehow, even with the rain, a blue sky manages to break through at least once every day.

Living in the UK is like breathing fresh air.  Actually, it IS breathing fresh air.  There isn’t any smog in my community here in the Usk Valley.  A river runs through it — The River Usk.  Salmon and fresh water fish are plentiful.  Organic food is the norm not the exception.  And water runs cold and sweet from the tap.

Everywhere we go, people are friendly and helpful.  I went to my local Asda (think WalMart) and couldn’t find vanilla for cooking.  When I asked the girl stocking shelves where I could find it, she not only told me where it was, but actually walked me to the aisle, the shelf, and then wanted to know if there was anything else I needed help with!  This isn’t just something that happened once.  Store personnel actually apologize if they are busy helping someone else and CAN’T take you to the exact product you’re looking for! Every market where I’ve shopped, the help has gone out of its way to do just that – help.  Take note, Publix. 

No one asks me if I want the instructions in Spanish.

Cars stop at red lights.

Good manners are fundamental.  Even the street signs say “please”.

There are no commercials on BBC broadcasts.

No politicians trash other politicians on television ads.

You won’t find drug manufacturers touting their side effects on tv.

Ambulance-chasing attorneys are being banned from advertising.

Radio as we knew it as children is alive and well.  Stories, talk shows, soaps, mysteries – all can be tuned into every day.

Home delivery is offered as a service, usually at no charge.

Sheep rule!

I’m am totally at home here in Wales.  Perhaps it’s my age and where I am in life.  But sitting here at my desk (real Victorian mahogany purchased at a local shop for not much money), looking out the window and across the meadow to the gently rolling mountains beyond, I know I’ve been given a chance to stop and smell the heather.  I’ve dreamed of Living Dibley.  Now I’m doing it!

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