This time two years ago, we were living in the UK in Yorkshire surrounded by boxes, a lot of the furniture had been dismantled and packed ready to be transported to the Netherlands. We still had nowhere to stay at that point. What a nightmare it was. I feel nauseous even thinking about what a huge risk we took. We had the family looking for places to rent in the Netherlands, one in Zwolle was too good to be true and if it’s too good to be true it’s always too good to be true. A scam, bastards! I was frantically ringing banks, utility companies and government departments asking them what to do when we had emigrated. I mean, how many times do you do that in your life? How are you supposed to know? I don’t want to think about it much as it was traumatic, stressful and at times upsetting.
Our future is here, together me and Astrid, now!
I thought at one time I’d end up in Ireland. My heart was never in England. Yorkshire is a wonderful county, it has everything, a coastline, ports, harbours, cliffs, hills, valleys, wildlife, farming, fishing, industry, infrastructure and everything to make it self-sufficient from the rest of the UK, but I always envisaged a future elsewhere. You can become institutionalised in one place.
When we went to Australia, theoretically we could have emigrated there, we didn’t have the cash on the bank to guarantee Medicare (Aus$40,000) but I was offered a job, albeit driving a forklift truck because the Aussie kids want instant money and easy jobs, according to my mates Brett and Craig. We were told we could get accommodation until we found a home. We had many friends, people who would help us, nice genuine people.
Our house in the UK was worth about £150k and at that time we’d have got Aus$320k, we saw some decent houses around the south Brisbane area at around the Aus$250 mark and up in the mountains they were the same but with several acres of land. It was just a dream in the clouds, literally, as one of the places I checked out was near a place called Tamborine Mountain which we visited once and had to wait for a huge lizard to cross the road right in front of the car, clouds in the trees, wonderful forested mountains, raging rivers and crashing waterfalls. The cloud was so low and dense that the chance of seeing a koala was nil but we were told they were in that area.
It was this that got me looking and believing. I began looking at German house prices and they were very affordable especially near the Dutch-German border. Dutch property by this time had begun to edge upwards in price. At the time we would have got €190k on the exchange rate and that would have bought us a fairly decent house in Almelo or Enschede, 2, 3 or 4 bedroom, semi or terraced. You can almost double that now for a similar property plus we would get 20% less exchange for the £ thanks to the ineptitude of the Tory government, supposedly the self proclaimed best party to look after the British economy. This has proved to be totally the opposite, as the UK is run down and under funded in almost every department except banking, which is sucking the oxygen and lifeblood from the battered and covid ravaged bodies of the British people.
Of course Brexit was going to trash freedom of movement so I had to decide whether I wanted Irish, German or Dutch residency once we’d totally ruled out Australia due to the huge distances away from our families and inevitable logistical problems. Prior to stupid Brexit we could have lived in Germany and if we didn’t settle down, could have moved to Belgium, France or Nederland, Italy, Luxemburg, Spain, Portugal, etc etc due to reciprocal freedom of movement within the EU. What the hell were people thinking when they voted Brexit? Don’t Brexiters ever want to leave Britain or their kids to have overseas educations to widen their knowledge and experience? Apparently not. I’m sure the shit covered previously blue flag beaches are all that their kids need, that and the lager and ale that awaits them in their youth. That’s fine for the Europeans, the English language is not as important as the English think it is anymore.
During the so called ‘covid time’ (which hasn’t gone away by the way), cities like Amsterdam, Prague, Paris and Dublin were happy not to have stag parties and hen parties of Brits entirely intent on getting pissed as rats, pursuing an obsession with what they see as an attractive albeit novelty drug culture, leading inevitably to puking, fighting and pissing everywhere. It has largely remained that way and has led to more tourists from other countries filling the void albeit without the puke, piss and fights. Amsterdam was quite pleasant last time we went.