Before I get started on this post properly, I want to make a couple of things completely clear.
First of all, this is not some jingoistic, politically fuelled post.
Second, it is not a boastful post where I am saying where I live is perfect compared to everywhere else.
After the last few days where home life has been in complete uproar, and not in a positive way, it has purely got me thinking about what I am truly grateful for.
Why I am grateful to live where I live.
I’ve seen posts before about being grateful for things and in all honesty, I’ve skimmed through them. It’s not until things happen to you personally that it makes you stop still and think about what you have.
So here is a post dedicated to things I am most grateful about in terms of where I live.
I know for many it seems an obvious one, but to live in a country where you can turn up at a hospital and be treated cost-free at the point of need is incredible. This particularly plays a critical role in my case with my Epilepsy.
And as of last Sunday morning, it played a huge part when my husband collapsed whilst running a half marathon not far from where we live. The paramedic care was brilliant and he was surrounded by a medical team within minutes of him collapsing. He spent nearly five days in hospital where he was given heart scans, ECGs, blood tests all on a regular 24 hour basis. His kidney trauma was treated and I am thrilled to say he made a full recovery and is now home. There were no costs or charges thrown in to cause extra stress. Or the worry that he might not even be treated.
Compulsory education for all children has been in place since the Victorian times. How fortunate that we have the ability to educate children from young child to adulthood. In fact, education does not stop. For those who want it, learning doesn’t stop. Albeit Universities have fees, at least we still have the choice.
3. Royal Family
I am not ashamed to admit that I really love having a Royal Family. I find their history fascinating and appreciate the hard work that they do. Many of our royals seem not to put a foot wrong, ever. And of course, if special occasions arise that enable more Bank Holidays then who am I to argue?!
It appeals to me that I live in a country where we experience four different seasons. Granted at times they can be very blurred, and often it seems summer takes forever to come round and then disappears a week later. That said, I love the seasonal changes in terms of trees, clothes shops and even the TV adverts are tuned to the yearly changes.
As much as I love digging out the flip flops and make leg shaving more of a routinely activity, I do still love wrapping in eight layers to watch the fireworks. Walks in the freezing cold air whilst dressed in a huge coats, scarves and funky hats are just as special as hazy Summer evenings with the smell of barbequed food wafting around the neighbourhood.
Rain will always be there of course!
Ultimately though, I love the variety and think we are lucky to experience them all. Even if it happens on the same day! I once took my class to a swimming lesson and we had all weather systems in one trip. Bearing in mind it is a ten/fifteen minute walk there, we had: rain as we left, followed by huge gusts of wind. The sun literally popped out for about a minute. More clouds came over. And I kid you not; it hailed. Hard.
All in fifteen minutes.
If that’s not variety (and bad luck!), I don’t know what is!
5. London and its Buildings
I don’t think I’ve met someone yet who doesn’t like/love London.
There is so much to see and so much to do. There are some cities we’ve visited where all the monuments, cultural highlights and places of interest are exhausted within a day or two. But compare that to here; I’ve lived no more than fifteen minutes away from London my entire life and even I haven’t seen or done it all yet!
I’ve seen many changes; developing skylines, added transport links etc. Every time we get a train into town, Sam says how he loves the fact that there’s a new crane or two compared to the last time we went. (Honestly, every time. I can pre-empt it!) To my parents, who used to work in/from London, some parts are completely unrecognisable.
But every inch of London oozes history. It’s survived plagues, bombings, fire, industrial change, and so much more.
And that’s what’s so fascinating and special about it.
I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of it.
6. Parks and Green Spaces
This is so important. We are lucky that even in our capital city, there are lots of buildings but also plenty of parks and green spaces that can be accessed. There are many built up cities across the world and yet, we get the best of both. It’s possible to be in a bustling metropolis one moment, and then five minutes of walking later and you feel completely at calm in parkland.
We once went on a transport-themed day out in London to celebrate my Dad’s birthday. Over the course of the day we went on a bus, tram, train, tube, taxi and boat. We even went on the London Eye to say we’d flown too! The relatively recent addition of the Emirates Skyline has increased our options too. It’s great living in such a well-connected part of the world, and where transport is (compared to some places) quick and affordable.
I am lucky in that where I live, I can be in the centre of London within fifteen minutes, and London Gatwick Airport in thirty minutes.
8. A Day Out For Everyone
You want a day at the sea? No problem.
You fancy a walk in the countryside to have a picnic? You got it!
You want to go climb a mountain? Sure thing!
You want to shop till you drop? Absolutely!
No matter what you feel like doing, you can do it.
Admittedly some might take more planning than others but ultimately there is a day out for everyone. We’re helped of course that so many lovely locations for days out are well preserved by charities and organisations whose sole purpose is to look after these places for our and future generations.
In fact I could do three out of those four things and I wouldn’t even have to travel beyond thirty minutes.
9. Convenience When Needed
I discussed this one with Sam earlier, and I couldn’t believe, when I thought about it, just how many things now we can get delivered right to our doorstep. I am one of those who absolutely adore Amazon Prime. When it first came out I was sceptical and thought to myself, how will I need something so urgent that it turns up the next day, or even the same day?!
It didn’t take me long to fall into the ‘I need such and such and I need it within the next 14 hours and 33 seconds’. Often, when I’ve forgotten the birthday of someone special, I need something even sooner!
And then of course there is groceries delivered to the door as well. Which I must admit, is definitely a plus in stressful situations. Or when life just doesn’t allow a visit to the supermarket. Similarly, take-away food services can be a little treat for the end of the week, or a better solution when the kitchen is just that bit further away from the phone, or when you’ve run out of dishwasher tablets. (First-world problems…!)
Whatever the reason, conveniences such as home delivery, whatever it may be, is something that I have and will continue to utilise. Not for everything of course- I do love a mooch around the supermarket and the shops, and would always want that to exist.
But it’s good to know that in certain situations, such conveniences are there for you.
It just makes life that little bit easier.
So there you have it.
Actually, on reflection, there are many things I am grateful for about both the country and locality I live in.
What makes you grateful about where you live?