Back in the UK after 14 years

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dtaai-maai
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Back in the UK after 14 years

Post by dtaai-maai » Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:27 am

I returned to the UK in May after nearly 14 years in Thailand. The reasons are many and varied – finance, health, PTSD (Prolonged Thailand Stay Disorder), family, and others. I have no assets and no debts in the UK. Rental is my only option. I chose Retford, a small town in the east Midlands, because it’s near my daughter and her family. I’m a classic southerner, London/Kent/Sussex, and I hadn’t realised how close together everything is up here – I’m on the border of Notts, Derbyshire and Sth Yorkshire and within easy reach of Nottingham, Doncaster, Derby, Sheffield, Leeds: not very far from anywhere, really, except perhaps the Orkneys.

Accommodation was the immediate priority, as my daughter and her partner have 5 kids between them, so staying with them was only a short-term option! I was lucky to find the perfect place within a week and moved in 9 days after arriving – a 2-bed ground floor flat in a quiet modern development alongside the River Idle (ironically said to be one of the fastest flowing stretches of river in England…), half a mile from the town centre. £450 per month (c. 19.5k THB). I furnished it from charity shops, pleasantly surprised by the quality and prices on offer.

So many changes since I left the UK. The use of technology is one of the biggies. Banks have only one or two staff on view, and in some mini-branches at shopping centres none at all; all transactions are computerised. Debit/credit cards are used almost everywhere, quickly and efficiently (once you get used to it!). You can get cashback in most major stores. Utilities, council tax, driving licence, tv licence, etc. – everything done on line.

Having relied on my kindle for the last several years, one of the first things I did was join the local library. Oh joy. Again, everything is computerised.

The NHS gets a bad press, but my own experience is good so far. I found myself a GP and had a much-needed check-up. High cholesterol and glucose, borderline diabetic. Not a surprise. I was slightly disconcerted when the GP put the data into a computer program and informed me that I had a 26% chance of heart problems in the next 10 years (disconcerted by the method, not the info). I chose not to point out that that meant I had a 74% chance of no heart problems, as I didn’t want him to think I was being flippant…

I went to Specsavers for an eye test – boy, have they changed! The optician was concerned by the deterioration in my right eye and said she wanted a specialist to see me before giving me specs. When I got home I had a phone call from Doncaster Royal Infirmary with an appointment for the next morning! I didn’t know whether to be impressed or worried… Another story, but suffice to say I now have new glasses. 1 pair for long distance, sunglasses with the same prescription, and 1 pair for computer work - £220 (c. 9500 THB, cheaper than in Hua Hin).

I’ve just turned 60, so I was looking forward to enjoying my free bus pass. Fat chance. You now get that when you get your pension, so I have to wait another 6 years.

The weather, hmmm. Moving on…

People are so friendly and helpful here, and service standards are generally very high. What a pleasant change! The quality of service is not strained. Butchers and bakers everywhere. Bliss. Fish & chips, kebabs, pizza, hot sausage rolls (as you can see, I am on a strict regime…). Oh, and Wetherspoons. My limited experience of Wetherspoons around the Millennium was cheap and loud, and full of students. Well, that’s changed! They do a steak night (Tuesdays if you’re interested!) – quality steak and chips plus a drink for £6.70 (290 THB). Since a pint of Guinness is about £3, that makes the steak around 160 THB!! They also have curry, chicken and fish nights at the same cost, as well as a decent standard menu.

Booze? (Let’s get our priorities right!) 179 THB for 4x440 ml cans of Boddingtons and 700 THB for 1 litre of Grants or Bells, a drinkable bottle of plonk for 170-260 THB, so even on a budget, I don’t have to go without. I’m not a great shopper, so I can’t compare prices, but suffice to say that I’m not shocked by much and I can manage quite comfortably so far. My first trip to the supermarket was a tad surreal – the choices! I was wandering around in a daze, and my sister had to lead me by the hand.

I miss my 365Sport access to everything I could possibly want to watch, but then I gather that option’s gone down the drain now anyway. I think I’m going to have to try a Fire TV stick with Kodi to get my fix. As far as general tv is concerned, my TV (which doubles as my 2nd PC monitor) came with Freeview, and between that, the main UK channels and iPlayer and the other hubs, there’s more than enough to satisfy my simple needs.

There are many other things that will occur to me after I post this, but suffice to say this has been a very positive experience, particularly being near to my daughter and grandchildren and seeing them on a regular basis. I hadn’t realised quite how much of a rut I’d got into in Thailand, and the move back to the UK has given me a new lease of life. Whether that feeling will survive a British winter remains to be seen…
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Re: Back in the UK after 14 years

Post by HHTel » Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:50 am

Nice one DM. Glad it all went ok. I've often thought about returning but having moved my pensions into a QROPS some time ago, returning would incur some severe penalties. My son (GLCQuantum) has been in the UK (Harogate) for almost a year and is loving it. Constantly posting pictures of the countryside! My daughter has been in London for about the same time and her view is the same. Don't forget the forum. You'll leave a big hole here.
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Re: Back in the UK after 14 years

Post by PeteC » Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:51 pm

I'm happy it's going well for you DTM. Don't forget this place and go ahead and join this year's IKTS if not already. All the best to you. :thumb: Pete :cheers:
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Re: Back in the UK after 14 years

Post by lindosfan1 » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:56 pm

Good to hear, you are settling in, I moved back 6 years ago and moved to the south coast, a place I have always loved.Everything the same as you apart from the rent £800 a month for a 2 bedroomed bungalow. I cannot understand the grumps about the NHS. i also still enjoy the forum and plan a visit in the next couple of years.
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Re: Back in the UK after 14 years

Post by migrant » Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:23 pm

Glad it's working out! Please keep posting!
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Re: Back in the UK after 14 years

Post by Vital Spark » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:29 pm

Great to hear that your move has been a positive experience, DM. Sounds like you're settling in nicely. When we were in Blighty for our 'duty trip' a couple of months ago I was surprised how cheap things were if you shopped around a bit, and took advantage of the special offers.

You moved the right time of the year, and it'll be interesting to hear how you cope with the winter months. The cold weather is something that I really can't tolerate now - drizzly Scotland in June was more than I could bear. Mind you if you've got a cozy little flat, you'll probably be able to stave off the frostbite. You could always get a cat to keep your lap warm. ;)

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Re: Back in the UK after 14 years

Post by hhfarang » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:48 pm

Congrats DM, I hope that you, like me, are still very happy with your decision after 3 years.
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Re: Back in the UK after 14 years

Post by buksida » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:49 pm

Great post DM, reminds me of my first trip back last year after 18 years out.

Agree with most of your observations, especially the prices of groceries and drink which are on a par with what you'd pay in Hua Hin despite how much those on here will argue how cheap Thailand is!

You rapidly get used to the automation of things, I find a lot of things far more efficient than Thailand where you have to actually visit offices in different cities in person, wait in queues for hours, and carry around wads of paper!

In an ideal world I’d love to have half the year in the UK and half in Thailand to prevent getting too browned off with either place.
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Re: Back in the UK after 14 years

Post by STEVE G » Tue Aug 08, 2017 1:40 am

I enjoy going back to the UK for a couple of days, several times a year but there is one big problem with living there permanently and that is the price of property. We have 1,600m of garden in Hua Hin and to buy something like that anywhere nice in the UK would cost way more than I have and I'm getting too old to get a mortgage for that sort of money.

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Re: Back in the UK after 14 years

Post by aragon » Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:03 am

With the exception of a 7 year stretch from '84-'91 and 10 months in '02, I have been an expat since '79 but go back to the UK every year at least once and for the most part always enjoy it. I ways back in Feb. & Jun. this year and couldn't help but be very happy about the prices of just about everything in the shops and in the pubs, especially when compared to the prices in Bahrain.

I don't know if we will end up back in the UK, but we do still have a house there (one of my best financial investments), so that makes it a lot easier and with the house in HH there is the possibility of splitting time in both locations. IMHO things in HH were cheap when the exchange rate was £1 = THB72+, however every time we visit now things just seem to be getting more and more expensive, to the point where the UK is not bad in comparison, aside from the weather of course :lach:
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Re: Back in the UK after 14 years

Post by dtaai-maai » Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:28 am

HHTel wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:50 am
My son (GLCQuantum) has been in the UK (Harogate) for almost a year and is loving it. Constantly posting pictures of the countryside!
Yes, that's one thing I should have mentioned. The British countryside is beautiful - and accessible. I won't compare it with Thailand other than to say it's much greener here, and there are fewer discarded plastic bags...
lindosfan1 wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:56 pm
Everything the same as you apart from the rent £800 a month for a 2 bedroomed bungalow.
STEVE G wrote:
Tue Aug 08, 2017 1:40 am
I enjoy going back to the UK for a couple of days, several times a year but there is one big problem with living there permanently and that is the price of property. We have 1,600m of garden in Hua Hin and to buy something like that anywhere nice in the UK would cost way more than I have and I'm getting too old to get a mortgage for that sort of money.
Yes, property prices, whether you rent or buy, are one major difference between the two countries. On the other hand, so are the legal guarantees and infrastructure.
Vital Spark wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:29 pm
When we were in Blighty for our 'duty trip' a couple of months ago I was surprised how cheap things were if you shopped around a bit, and took advantage of the special offers.
buksida wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:49 pm
Agree with most of your observations, especially the prices of groceries and drink which are on a par with what you'd pay in Hua Hin despite how much those on here will argue how cheap Thailand is!
Yes indeed. Eating out is generally cheaper in HH (apart from Wetherspoon's of course!), but in my experience there's not much in it in terms of general shopping, unless you're prepared to eat Thai-style all the time. As I mentioned earlier, I'm not a great shopper. No offence to the numerous price-watchers on this forum, but if I ever get to the point where I'm taking notes on prices and going to half a dozen different stores to save a couple of quid, please smother me with a cheap Thai pillow.

For me, the most valid comparison is not between the UK (or any other country) and Thailand, but between Thailand now (and particularly HH) and Thailand 12+ years ago.
hhfarang wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:48 pm
Congrats DM, I hope that you, like me, are still very happy with your decision after 3 years.
As I wrote the OP, I noted some parallels between my situation and yours, HHF. For some years I've spent far too much of my time in an air-conditioned room!
Vital Spark wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:29 pm
The cold weather is something that I really can't tolerate now - drizzly Scotland in June was more than I could bear. Mind you if you've got a cozy little flat, you'll probably be able to stave off the frostbite. You could always get a cat to keep your lap warm. ;)
The forecast for today is no sun, with occasional rain and drizzle. Max temp 14C :shock: . Not par for the course, admittedly, but this is high summer FFS!
Having said that, I'd long since passed the stage where I enjoyed the constant heat.
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Re: Back in the UK after 14 years

Post by pharvey » Tue Aug 08, 2017 3:34 pm

Great to hear all's going well on your return to the UK - aside from the fact you've forgotten that the British summer only lasts 48-72 hrs!! :D I'd get some "Long John's" for the winter in the Midlands!! :wink: [EDIT] Up in North Yorkshire at the moment with the LHG for a week's break...... and it's absolutely pi$$ing it down :( :roll: :banghead: Although, must admit the local pub is dry :wink:

I returned around 4 years back after being based in Asia for nigh on 20 years - although obviously still travelling extensively overseas, it's great to have a base "back home". I'd fully agree with your comments re: the benefits of being back in the UK, although my experience would be far more related to China than it is in HH/Thailand (although I've spent several years working there). :thumb:

As many have said, property prices are a downside in the UK, but I was fortunate in the fact that I'd managed to keep a property in the UK which was leased out whilst I was overseas. Obviously, already being on the "Property Ladder" was a great help......... My other b!tch is the utilities price(s) - absolutely extortionate in my opinion.

Anywho, hope all continues to go well, keep posting & hope to meet you for a pint or 3 one day!!

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Re: Back in the UK after 14 years

Post by dtaai-maai » Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:12 pm

pharvey wrote:
Tue Aug 08, 2017 3:34 pm
Anywho, hope all continues to go well, keep posting & hope to meet you for a pint or 3 one day! :cheers: :cheers:
Tsk, I can't afford that kind of extravagance!!

Although there's a rather nice local pub called the Galway that will be showing all the England v Wales games... :wink: :laugh: :cheers:
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Re: Back in the UK after 14 years

Post by pharvey » Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:33 pm

dtaai-maai wrote:
Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:12 pm
Although there's a rather nice local pub called the Galway that will be showing all the England v Wales games... :wink: :laugh: :cheers:
I'll keep that in mind. Hint: - I won't be the one in an England top!! :wink:
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Re: Back in the UK after 14 years

Post by dtaai-maai » Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:08 pm

pharvey wrote:
Tue Aug 08, 2017 3:34 pm
I'd get some "Long John's" for the winter in the Midlands!! :wink:
I might have to get some anyway. I can't afford to run a car at the moment, but I want to have an independent form of transport for a radius of 10-20 miles or so, and I'm preparing to buy one of these pretty little 125cc scooters at around 39k THB.
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