The ten things I will and won't miss about living in the UK

2968670187 8b2b63871e o The ten things I will and won't miss about living in the UKToday sadly is my last full day in the UK before I leave to travel home to Sydney, Australia. I am genuinely sad to be leaving London. A short two and a half year stint doesn’t feel long enough to do this city justice, but I am not sure that ten years would. London is an amazing city filled with interesting things to see, people to be inspired by and opportunities that few other places can afford. Yet it is sooo far from family and the life I grew up with. So with many mixed feelings Elizabeth and I will board a plane tomorrow  to start an extended tour home.

We will be back without a doubt, but will it be for an extended stay again? Difficulty to say, life has a habit of spoiling long term plans, but I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if one of my future locals sold warm beer.

In the tradition of my English friend, Alan, who has recently returned to the UK after spending three and a half years living in Sydney, I will list the ten things I will miss about the UK and the ten things I definitely won’t miss.

Like Alan, the miss column was populated much more easily than the won’t miss one.


  1. Warm beer – almost sacrilegious for an Aussie to say, but I have grown rather partial to an English ale
  2. The BBC – worth every single penny of the TV licence charge
  3. British creativity – there is a certain braveness and confidence that Brits have in forging ahead with a locally sourced solution that Aussies could learn a lot from
  4. Proximity to Europe – a two hour flight from Sydney might land you in Bathurst, which is a nice enough spot, but it is hardly Rome
  5. Northern hemisphere – things just make much more sense when you reside in the northern hemisphere, not least Santa’s attire
  6. London Underground – people who complain about the tube obviously have no idea how bad public transport is everywhere else
  7. Wit – they may not be good looking, they may not be the fittest, but by god English blokes are funny
  8. British postcodes – weird I know, but it makes locating something so very easy
  9. Twilight – having light until 10.30 pm in Summer is bloody brilliant, worth the darkness in Winter? Not sure, but perhaps
  10. Flamin Hot Monster Munch – strange I know, childish without a doubt, but oh so tasty

Won’t miss:

  1. Bureaucracy – getting things done in this country can often times be tough, hampered in no small part by cost cutting measures that have meant you deal with people half a world away, rewarded on quick call times rather than providing a customer satisfactory solution
  2. A spade is a shovel, or a pick axe isn’t it? – a spade is a spade peoples, be a bit more direct with your communication and you might find people understand what you are after
  3. The stiff upper lip – may have meant something in the past, but tends to mean moaning about things without trying to fix them today
  4. Victorian plumbing – though in all fairness Australia could benefit from the reduced water wasted with minimal water pressure
  5. Summer – it really should last longer than a weekend
  6. Daily Mail – a scary, scary newspaper made scarier when you understand the influence and readership it commands
  7. No surf – it isn’t much fun for a die hard surfer to be living in a city without a decent break
  8. Aussies in London – there are a lot of young Aussies here that seem to have come with no other purpose than to tell the English how shit their weather is and how bad they are at sport – I apologise on behalf of all of them
  9. Boozing – British pubs have a siren call that can grab you any night of the week regardless of your other good intentions
  10. Misplaced sentimentality – the enormous outpouring of public emotion after the Cutty Sark burnt down or when Woolworths shut its door were really a bit too much – there are much more important things to mourn the passing of

And so with that I will bid you farewell London. Next post will be from Istanbul Turkey.

The image at the top was stolen from Bellyanz1 here.

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  • Kat Hannaford

    Still can't believe you're leaving us Matthew *sniff*

    But don't worry, I will carry on apologising for other Australians on your behalf – it's the least I can do ;)

    It's been great to meet with you the half-dozen times or so, looking forward to seeing a healthy amount of tweets and blog posts after you return. But not too many about how wonderful life in Australia is – I might get ideas!

  • Matt

    'may not be good looking, may not be the fittest'…?

    Fuck you, Gain, and the horse you rode in on. I am an Adonis.

    (you forgot to mention the teeth)

    Take care on the long trip back – look forward to reading about it here

  • digiwedo

    A bloody good list mate. I think I agree with every single one of them. Well, maybe the new Fish & Chip flavour crisps/chips from Walkers would edge out the Monster Munch……but it's a close one. All the best matey and sorry we never ended up having that warm beer. Say hello to the old crew and make sure you sink an ice cold James Squire's Pils for me!

  • PsiMonk

    So long and thanks for all the fish…

    As to this list… really?

    On the plus side, you list our postcode system as one of the ten best things about Britain?! How about multiculturalism? Tolerance to drunk Aussies? All-year-round mountain biking in mud up to your ankles? Pies? Our music scene? The beautiful countryside – did you make it to the Lakes, Scotland, Wales, anywhere outside the M25?

    On the minus side comes our stiff upper lip?! You obviously didn't spend much time east of Oxford Street, mate! And as to our supposed misplaced sentimentality – for every flower that was laid for Lady Di, there were about thirty sick jokes doing the rounds. Again, it depends on where you hang out and with whom.

    Anyway, good luck wherever you wash up next. Meanwhile, if you're ever in London again… you'll need to get away from the PR pack and the obvious haunts a bit more!

  • Jess


    Will miss you guys. Glad we got a brief cross-over though.

    Eternally grateful for your hospitality in my first week, for introducing me to some lovely people, and for taking me to some rad spots.

    Also thanks for the gumboots and bits and bobs. Somewhat pissed we didn't get away with the sailor outfits though. If a certain box goes missing enroute to Sydney, don't blame Charlie and I.


  • Stephen

    Safe journey, all the best and catch you on Twitter!

  • Ruby Pseudo




  • matthewgain

    Thank you all for the lovely comments.

    Matt you are an Adonis, though you are also half Italian! ;-)

    Simon, it was a list of some of the things I will and won't miss. Despite having been well outside of the M25, east of Oxford Street and to those places you have mentioned, mountain biking in mud up to my ankles has never been my thing wherever it may be. Mountain biking is your passion remember. Though if you want to compile a list of your own I will be sure t0 link to it…

  • PsiMonk

    Blimey – now my cheeky comments have been picked up by a tech PR gossip site (theworldsleading). Sorry Matthew, was only meant to be in jest! Have a grand old time back in Oz.

    Si M

  • Victoria Hughes

    Only just found this mate – made me smile, thanks. I agree with number 7 :O)

  • Victoria Hughes

    Only just found this mate – made me smile, thanks. I agree with number 7 :O)

  • Victoria Hughes

    Only just found this mate – made me smile, thanks. I agree with number 7 :O)

  • Diego Kast

    Fantastic analysis , Apropos , others are interested in a UK EEA4 , my business saw a fillable form here