When you check out the relative size of Britain on any honest map it’s kind of hard to imagine how this tiny island once took over most of the known world. Not only that but the musicians, writers and general influence exerted on world culture seems pretty disproportionate to what you’d expect from a place this small.
One theory is that the cold countries always take over the world because it’s so miserable to just stay at home. Whether the British were sacking Jerusalem or bleeding the colonies in India to death, anywhere was better than trying to get a tan in an British summer.
A more expensive country you’ll only find if you head into Scandinavia. A pint of beer is around $5-6 and just taking buses and trains around the country can leave you broke inside a week. On the other hand it’s a great place to go and make money.
The country gets poorer and cheaper as you head into north England and Scotland, traditionally the industrial backbone with factories, mines and steelworks turning the air black. Times are changing of course but still there’s a feeling that those down south are a bit soft while the northerners are loud and uncouth.
The weather is famously awful most of the year round though long summer evenings and sunny autumn days have their charms. Especially as you head north, the sky can stay so grey for days on end that it’s hard to find motivation to get out of bed in the morning.
Britain is the collective name for the union of England, Wales and Scotland, though everyone living there feels these are very separate countries indeed. ‘Great’ Britian refers to the inclusion of Northern Island in the economic union but that’s really a stretch of the imagination. Each of the countries has their own language and a revival in nationalism means that there are even people who speak it.
Britain was once a force to be feared through the globe. WIth the sheer power of audacity (‘move aside, now, British Empire, don’t you know, tea at 4 o’clock) and the policy of divide-and-rule, Britain grew rich at the expense of its many colonies. As an inverse result of this immigrants from those colonies now make up a substantial part of the population. Indians, Pakistanis and Jamacians are the majority in many places and the upshot of this is that it’s finally possible to eat well in Britain.