“The Special One”

 

Hey and hi. Here I go again with my limited knowledge of ‘the beautiful game’. So as you may or may not know, Jose Mourinho is about to be named manager for Manchester United. There have been a few glitches though. Yikes. I hate glitches. You see, apparently,  image rights negotiations are delaying Mourinho’s appointment as Manchester United Manager. As it has emerged that Chelsea still own his name as a trademark and could demand a six-figure sum from United before any deal is concluded. But really, this issue will not scupper his appointment at Old Trafford. Thank goodness. Mourinho is expected to be named as Louis Van Gaal’s replacement after the Dutchman was sacked on Monday DESPITE winning the FA Cup. Football is crazy. I don’t even watch it and I know very little about it. But you wouldn’t know it. Hah.

Oh, I nearly forgot why I even started this blog post. Ok, let’s do this. They call Jose Mourinho ‘The Special One.’ Yes. Why? Please give me a break. Is he really that special? While I was not looking-has he found a cure for breast cancer, the Zika virus and Lyme disease? Am guessing, no. What has he done that is so spectacularly wonderful? Please enlighten me. Please and thanks.

Well, believe it or not, Mourinho gave himself that name/moniker. Yes, yes he did. I could have told you he was arrogant (and I have done so in previous posts). When Mourinho moved to Chelsea in June 2004, he held a press conference upon joining the club and said, “Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m the special one.” Can you believe he said that? So, the media has dubbed him “The Special One.” I would like to give Mourinho the benefit of the doubt here-I mean, his first language is Portuguese and English is not his native tongue. But sorry, most Portuguese speak English perfectly well. I don’t think there were translation issues here. The guy is just arrogant. Yes, yes he is. But anyway, Good luck to him. I may not like the guy but I don’t have any ill will towards him. So yeah, that is why he is called ‘The Special One.’ And knowledge, is power, people.

Cheers

 

 

University Fees (UK)

Female graduates

Salutations. University Fees. Uggh. The end. But seriously, everyone bemoans University Fees-both here and in the US. Tuition is WAY too high. In fact, I had a cousin who recently graduated from Princeton University. And while Princeton is a great school, its tuition fees are eye-wateringly diabolically high. In fact, if my cousin were to rob a bank, lets say that I would not be that surprised. For real.

Here in the UK, University Fees have had an interesting history. Tuition fees in the UK were INTRODUCED across the entire UK in 1998 under the Labour government as a means of funding tuition to undergraduate and postgraduate students at universities. Yes. Please read that again. Later on, tuition fee caps rose with the Higher Education Act 2004-under the Act, Universities in England could begin to charge variable fees of up to £3000 a year for students enrolling on courses as from the academic year of 2006-7. Wow. Then when University fees rose to 5K people began to loose their minds. I found it amazing. I thought those people should have been grateful to only pay 5K. But then again, if one was never expected to pay tuition then had to commence paying tuition, then I can see why they got mad. I get it. I don’t understand it, but I get it.

Current situation

Universities in England will now be able to increase tuition fees above £9000 from Autumn 2017. Yes, ‘Autumn’-they don’t say ‘Fall’ here. Anyway, it is believed that the increased tuition will ensure high-quality teaching. Further, the plans aim to encourage more competition and better consumer value for students. The government will announce in 2016-2017 which Universities are allowed to increase their fees. Sorana Vieru, vice president of the National Union of Students, said students would be “outraged” at the prospect of tuition fees being increased. Well I suppose so. Better not apply to ANY American Universities then. Don’t even think about Princeton.

That being said, maintenance grants/loans are available for students. Of course, you have to repay your student loans. Duh. One last thing, if there are any American college bound students looking to study abroad for F-R-E-E well then, Germany is your best bet. Look into it, I would if I were you. That is all.

Cheers.

 

 

 

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Devizes

Greetings. When you visit London Town (and I hope you do) why not stop and visit Devizes? Oh, you are not familiar with it? Allow me to wax lyrical about this beautiful place located in Wiltshire. Devizes is a market town and civil parish in the heart of Wiltshire, England. Pictured below is Wiltshire- a county in South West England.

Devizes serves as a centre for banks, solicitors and shops and also has an open market place where a market is held once a week. In addition, it has nearly 500 listed buildings (a listed building, in the UK, is one that has been placed on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest), some notable churches, a Town Hall and a green at the heart of town. Its development grown around the 11th century Norman castle.

Brief History

Devizes Castle was built by Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury in 1080, but the town is not mentioned in the Domesday Book (a manuscript record of the ‘Great Survey’ of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 by order of King William the Conqueror) as the castle was on the boundaries of the manors of Rowde, Bishops Cannings and Potterne became known as the castrum ad divisas (the castle at the boundaries), hence the name Devizes. Further, on John Speed’s map of Wilshire (1611) the town’s name is recorded as The Devyses.  The first castle on the site was of the motte and bailey (fortification of wood or stone) form and was probably made of wood and earth but was sadly burnt down in 1113. A new castle was subsequently built in stone by Roger Salisbury, Osmund’s successor. Devizes received its first charter in 1141 permitting regular markets. The castle changed hands several times during the civil war between Blois and Matilda in the 12th century. In addition, the castle held important prisoners, including Robert Curthouse, eldest son of William the Conqueror in 1106. Robert was kept in Devizes for 20 years, before being moved to Cardiff Castle.

The town has had churches since the 11th century and has 4 Church of England parish churches.  The oldest is dedicated to St John the Baptist and was founded in 1130.

From the 16th century, Devizes became known for its textiles-initially white woollen broadcloth but later the manufacture of serge (a type of twill fabric), druggert (coarse woollen fabric), felt and cassimere /Zephyr cloth. In the early 18th century, Devizes held the LARGEST corn market in the West Country of England (and also traded hops, cattle, horses and of course various types of cloth). Further, before the Corn Exchange was built in 1857 the trade in wheat and barley was conducted in the open, with sacks piled around the market cross.

In closing, Devizes is a lovely place with lovely people. You should visit. I would if I were you. Here are a few pictures of this magical place. And pictures do not lie.

 View of Caen Hill locks, Rowde, Devizes, Wilthsire

 Back in the day

  Long ago

Wadworth Ale is quite strong, but you should try it…

Cheers

The rag and bone man (scrap metal dealer)

The butcher the baker and the rag and bone man who rings his bell and shouts ‘any old iron?’. I know you were waiting for the candlestick maker, but this is 2016 not 1816. The supermarket experience in the UK is made up of going to the butcher, the baker and others. Yes, we do have supermarkets but we don’t do Costco or Sam’s club.

Going to the butcher for the first time was a bit intimidating. There was meat everywhere perfectly tied with string. A fly buzzed hazily and the butcher behind the counter was burly and butch with thick sausage-like fingers. He wore a kind gap toothed smile and wiped blood on his apron. Get. Me. Out. seemed to resonate through my body as my vegetarian status was quietly contemplated. I must admit, I felt a bit lost. How could I order what I wanted when I didn’t even know the proper names of sections of the cow (or other animals)? Further, nothing looked familiar and of course nothing was cooked. ‘Hello Madam’ chirped the butcher, as he grinned broadly at me. ‘What are you after today?’ I thought sheepishly to myself-I am after the EXIT sign-can you please direct me in that direction? Am pretty sure he could smell my fear-I was in a butcher’s shop after all. He spoke to me politely. I told him what I was after and how many people were in my household. He proudly showed me his best cuts of meat and even told me how to cook them! It wasn’t so bad, my intermediary-err…my butcher educated me, helped me and wrapped my meat up nicely for me.

Next stop, the bakery…this was more my territory. The baker was a middle aged woman with bright shining eyes and ruddy cheeks. It did not escape me that she was generous around the middle. I liked her immediately and knew I could trust her. With my life, if needed.  We spoke politely about the weather as I ordered a 4 Marlborough buns, 3 Eccles cake, 2 Egg custard tarts and 1 Mince pie. I left happy and was pretty sure I would be visiting the dentist in the next week or so.

‘Any old iron?’ the old Gypsy with pockmarked skin called out as he drove his white van up and down the neighbourhood. What? He wants scrap metal? I just give it to him and then our transaction is complete? Yes. Weird but ok, I am cool with that. I recently heard a story that a couple had been cleaning out their kitchen, so they put their washing machine and tumble dryer in the front garden-a sort of temporary resting place. In the UK you will find the washing machine and tumble dryer in the kitchen. Weird. Don’t even get me started.  Anyway, the couple later returned to their garden to retrieve their white goods, but quickly realised that both items were gone. They had not heard the cry of ‘any old iron?’ as their washing machine and tumble dryer were subsequently scooped up by the scrap metal man.

The butcher, the baker, the rag and bone man and me. Welcome to England, mate.

A Snap Election…and Brexit (and France)

 

 

Hello and hi. Am guessing you’ve heard. Our illustrious (or not) Prime Minister called a snap general election. Oh snap. She said she would not. In fact, if my sources are correct, our Theresa PROMISED that she would not call a General Election-but that we would have the General Election in 2020-as scheduled. She said this approximately 11 times. So, when someone tells you something 11 times, you kind of believe them. Don’t you? I think you do. I did.

Like many, when I heard the news last week regarding the snap General Election-my mouth fell open like a cod fish. I was that shocked. Yes.  Yes, I was.

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Cod fish

                                                                                                                     Image: Global Food Bank

In calling the snap election, our Theresa said that Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership following the EU referendum. She also linked the upcoming election (to be held on 8 June) to BREXIT. Say, what now? In brief, she said that the election was basically ‘the only way to guarantee certainty and stability in the wake of Brexit.’ Oh my goodness. If you are interested in reading her entire speech-and her reasons for calling a snap election, you can read it here.

I do hope you read it. It is quite an interesting read. Theresa May clearly has a good speech writer. Yes. Yes, she does. In other news… France elections are hotting up. What’s good France? (Read: What on earth is going on France? And why do you vote on Sundays? I see you France. I am watching you.) That is all.

 

Cheers

 

Blair on Brexit (I can’t even w/this guy)

 

Hello and hi. Apologies for the ‘radio silence’ but I have been a bit busy. How busy? Well, as busy as a one-legged cat in a sandbox. Yup. Please know that I don’t normally go around saying such things (like the above colloquialism) as it is a typical Southern thing to say….and I am not from the South, but I hear that they are nice people. I am a Yankee. That’s right. I sure am. Please know that  ‘Yankee’ is a derisive term used by Southerners, when they are mentioning us Northerners. But actually, outside of the US-‘Yank’ is used informally to refer to ANY American-including Southerners. But, I digress…as usual.

So, Blair on Brexit …I can’t even with this guy. Erm…’I can’t even’ simply means: ‘I literally cannot even deal with this situation/thing/person/place…it is too funny/scary/horrible/add your own word here.

Enough about slang, allow me to get to the crux of my post. Please and thanks.

So, the illustrious (or not) former Prime Minister, Tony Blair is in the news again. In the news sounding off about things. Political things. Uggh. Like I said, I can’t even with this guy. Seriously, why are we still giving him a platform to speak? How is he not in jail already? I thought war criminals went to jail. More specifically, The Hague.

Please know that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is an intergovernmental organisation and international tribunal-that sits in The Hague, in the Netherlands. The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes…which leads me back to Tony Blair. I think you get the point I am trying to make here.

Instead of jail, Tony Blair runs free and every now and then speaks to the media. Why? Why? Why? I can’t even with this guy. Why does the press continue to give him a platform? War criminals should not be speaking to the Press. Nope.

So, our ex-PM was speaking to the BBC about Brexit. He said some mildly interesting things (for a war criminal). Blair told the BBC that Brexit was a massively bigger issue and even bigger than party allegiance-in terms of the general election, (taking place on 8 June).  Blair also told the BBC that the Conservatives were most likely going to win. *Slowclap* but also that a big Labour vote could actually ‘constrain’ the PM, Theresa May-who he believes is having a spot of bother as PM and that she is being driven by her party’s right wing.

Blair on Brexit

Tony Blair left politics in 2007 (thankfully) but for someone who has left politics he sure is vocal. And not only vocal but he has been a bit too politically active, for my liking.  This whole time I thought Tony Blair was in The Hague, but he was actually becoming increasingly more politically active-talking loads about politics and even setting up a think tank in London. A think tank in London which centres around a continued EU membership. Yikes, Tony. FYI: Mr. Blair: The people voted to LEAVE-you ought to respect that, mate.

Image result for image of tony blair and the eu                                                                                                                             Image: Euinside

Tony Blair, in speaking to the BBC, said that he felt so passionately about Brexit, that he was “almost motivated” to re-enter British politics. Erm…what? Dear God, no. Just, no. What is going on? Sorry (not sorry) but that sounded like a thinly veiled threat. Did Tony Blair just say he wanted to re-enter politics? How? When? And most importantly, shouldn’t he be in jail for war crimes? I am asking a serious question here.

In addition, Blair told the BBC that the Conservatives were most likely on course for a landslide victory (thanks for pointing out the bleedin’ obvious, Tony) and that he “wasn’t totally sure” what Labour’s position was on Brexit. Hmm…well, at least Tony and I can agree on this. But this ONLY.

In speaking to BBC4’s World This Weekend-Blair said that voters needed to know where the candidates stood on leaving the EU. Blair went on to say that May was “very sensible” and a “perfectly decent person” but said that her policy on leaving the EU was “not reasonable” and that it was, in fact, being driven by the right wing of her party. Well hot damn, did Tony Blair just criticise the current Prime Minister? Yes. Yes, I think he did. And in typical political fashion it was a complement but disguised as a put-down. Uggh. I am so done with politicians. (Ok, that was a lie.)

Also, in speaking to the BBC, Blair pledged to put pressure on candidates in each constituency to force them to declare where they stood on the mandate, Theresa May should have when negotiating the terms Brexit. Further, Blair said he was supporting the campaign-which is also backed by anti-Brexit campaigner, Gina Miller. Dear Lord, what is going on?

Blair said that he feared that if the Conservatives win the General Election, that that translates into handing Theresa May a ‘blank cheque for Brexit at any costs’ which Blair believes  is NOT in the interest of the country. In addition, our Tony said:

“I look at the British political scene at the moment and I actually almost feel motivated to go right back into it,” he added. “We’re just allowing ourselves to be hijacked by what is actually quite a small group of people with a strong ideology.”

Oh my goodness. Tony Blair sure has a lot to say…for someone who should be in jail. Yes. Yes, he does. That is all.

 

Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. George’s Day

Happy St. George’s Day!

Life in London

Happy St. George’s Day!  St. George’s Day falls on 23rd April and is England’s National Day. (Think 4th of July) but it is not a public holiday and we don’t eat beans and franks here in the UK but rather bangers and mash-but I digress.  St. George is the patron Saint of England.  His emblem is a red cross on a white background-which is the flag of England.  The flag was adopted by Richard the Lion Heart and brought to England in the 12th century.  The King’s soldiers wore it on their tunics (yes, tunics) to avoid confusion in battle.

St. George was actually a Roman solider who protested against the Roman’s torture of Christians and he died for his beliefs.  The best known story is that St. George had a battle with a mighty dragon (aren’t they all?).  But it is unlikely that he ever even encountered a dragon and…

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Galway Girl/Ed Sheeran

 

 

Hello and hi. If you read my blog, then you know I have mad love for Ed Sheeran. Yes. Yes, I so. So check it, our Ed’s cover of Galway Girl is simply the bee’s knees (am not even sure if bees HAVE knees-but I digress.).

Have you been to Galway? No? Me neither. It looks like a magical place. Yes, yes it does.  Despite me never having been to Galway-I do know a few things about Galway. I sure do.  Galway is a city in the West of Ireland-and in the province of Connacht. Also, Galway is the 4th most populous urban area in the Republic of Ireland and is the 6h most populous city in the island of Ireland-according to my sources. Yes, my sources…I know people. Although, none of them are from Galway. Truth.

The city’s name is from the Irish name for Abhainn na Gaillimhe (“Galway”), which formed the western boundary of the earliest settlement, Dún Bhun na Gaillimhe “Fort at the mouth of the Gaillimh”. Historically, the name was Anglicised as Galliv-which is closer to the Irish pronunciation, as is the city’s name in Latin-Galvia. Also, Galway is nicknamed: The City of the Tribes/ Cathair na dTreabh.

So, there is loads more I could say about Galway, but this ain’t no Lonely Planet book-this is only a blog post people. Thank you for your understanding. Yeah, thanks.  That being said, Galway is quite amazingly beautiful. Show you…

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Image result for images of Galway                                                                                                                  Image: Travel Ireland

Image result for images of Galway

As you can see, Galway looks pretty awesome. Yes. Yes, it does. So now back to the crux of my post. Ed Sheeran’s cover of Galway Girl. I hope you like it as much as I do. Enjoy!

 

Cheers

A BREXIT recap. (Part 2)

 

 

Hello and hi. As promised here is A BREXIT recap (part 2). I keep my promises. My word is my bond. Yup. Just in case you missed my oh so terribly interesting, yet snarky BREXIT recap part 1, you can read it here.

So, now for Part 2. Let’s do this…

In brief, ‘Brexit means Brexit’ we were told/reminded/convinced of. Duh. Of course the process of Brexit-ing (the UK leaving the EU) will take some time. A considerable amount of time. A very, very, long time. I think you get the point. Right now, we are looking to Brexit within the next 2 years…and that is being optimistic. So, the process? Meet Article 50.

What is Article 50?

In brief, Article 50 is a plan (or rather an instrument) for any country that wishes to exit the EU. I mean, no one even knows if and how it works- as no one has ever left the EU before. Essentially, we here in the UK are flying blind. Yes. Yes, yes we are. As mentioned, no other country has left the EU before and there was NO way to actually legally leave the EU before the Treaty of Lisbon was signed in 2007. The Lisbon Treaty became law in 2009 and essentially was designed to make the EU more democratic, transparent and efficient. What a joke. Actually, it is not a joke at all-but rather, me being sarcastic and snarky in equal measure. But, I digress.

Specifically, Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty gives ANY member of the EU, guidance and directions on how to quit/to leave the ‘EU club’. Article 50 outlines the procedure for said country to leave the EU, along with giving the country 2 years to negotiate an exit deal. And once it is set into motion, it can’t be stopped (except by unanimous consent of member states-and that is not going to happen). So, once it is triggered-it is: so long, farewell…welcome to the land of uncertainty…outside of the EU. Uggh.

Image result for brexit jokes

 

So, to sum up:

Article 50 was created as a part of the Treaty of Lisbon (an agreement signed by all the EU states when it came into law in 2009. But BEFORE the treaty, there was no formal mechanism or methodology for a country to leave the EU. Is that not weird? I think it is.

So Article 50 is 5 paragraphs long. It spells out the rules. We all need rules. Yup. The rules say, that if any country decides to leave/quit the EU-they must FIRST notify the European Council and then subsequently negotiate its withdrawal with the EU-and that it will take 2 years to reach an agreement. 2 years! So technically, we are still Brexit-ing.

Image result for images brexit memes

So, in order for the UK to formally leave the EU, it meant that Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty had to be triggered. And it was. Our PM Theresa May triggered Article 50 on 29 March. Woot Woot-and as a result, the UK is scheduled to leave the EU on Friday, 29 March 2019. Yes, 2019. Remember, I said that this Brexit-ing process takes approx. 2 years? Please tell me you remember.

The Great Repeal Bill

So, now what? Well, the government will enact a Great Repeal Bill. Am getting a bit technical here and I hope you are not bored silly-but this stuff is important. So, carry on reading. Please and thanks.

In brief, the Great Repeal Bill will end the primacy (the fact of being pre-eminent or most important) of EU law in the UK. In other words-the Great Repeal Bill will end the supremacy of EU law within the UK. This is such a massive topic that it needs its own blog post (or several). And to put it another way (stay with me, now) the Great Repeal Bill is meant or rather, expected to incorporate all EU legislation into UK law-into one big lump. To conclude: see EU later!

Why will Brexit-ing take so (bloody) long?

Why? Why? Why? Well, for starters…it is complicated. You see, there are 43 years (or so) of treaties and agreements to unpick and wade through. Plus, to actually Brexit will be tough as no other country within the EU has done it previously. There will be loads of negotiations in terms of a post-Brexit trade deals-in relation to other European countries, as well to consider.

In addition, these are some other issues:

  • The UK will no longer be within the EU single market-this might be a problem…
  • The European Court of Justice-are we to still follow their guidance?
  • What about unlimited EU immigration? Freedom of movement?

There are more issues for sure but essentially, the UK is seeking a “comprehensive free trade deal” giving the UK “the greatest possible access” to the single market-as announced by our PM, plus she wants a new customs union deal (a custom union=where countries agree NOT to impose tariffs on each others’ goods)-and the UK is currently under part of the EU customs union. There is more to be said on customs unions but…now is not the time nor place. Nope.

Of course, there are other important issues such as:

-What about EU citizens living in the UK-what happens to them now?

-What about UK citizens working in the EU?

-What about EU Nationals who want to work in the UK? Will they be allowed to?

The above mentioned issues are pretty pivotal in this whole Brexit thing-and there is a whole lot more issues too. But guess what? This post is already way longer than I expected, so chaps…stay tuned for Brexit recap (part 3) where I will address the aforementioned and a lot more too. But please remember that ‘Brexit means Brexit.’

Now, if you will excuse me…I need to go and eat my Easter chocolate. All of it.  Yup. Thanks for understanding.

 

Image result for image of Lindt chocolate easter egg

Image result for image of Lindt chocolate easter egg

 

Image result for image of Lindt chocolate easter egg

 

Cheers

 

 

 

Things to do in London at Easter

Oh hey you, yes, I am talking to YOU… look what I wrote last year…enjoy!

Life in London

Salutations. Easter is nearly here. Apart from the obvious, Easter means a 4 day weekend here in the UK. Yes. Good Friday, the weekend and Easter Monday. Yes, I know it is difficult for my American readers to digest this as I know you will be working on Good Friday as well as Easter Monday-I feel you mano (short for ‘Hermano’ which means ‘brother’ in Spanish) because I used to work on those days as well when I lived in the US. But now, I live in England and when in Rome….there are loads of things to do during the Easter holiday. Please know that I wont judge you if you plan on binge watching Netflix, because I just may do the same. But if telly is not your thing, this is what is on in England:

  • Easter Services and Performances

At Trafalgar Square on Good Friday in London a…

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Victorian Easter Cards

Happy Easter. This post is from last Easter. Enjoy!

Life in London

babies hammering eggs

Hope you all had a happy Easter. I am pretty sure I ate my weight in chocolate. Is that bad? Anyway, today’s blog post is all about the bass. I mean, the Victorians. Those Victorians, what can I say about them? Plenty. Let’s do this.

The Victorians were noted for their moral solemnity. This is obvious in their photographs of yesteryear, as we’ve seen pics of Victorians all dressed up in various shades of black, while wearing poker faces. I do realise this is a massive generalisation about Victorians. But this is a blog post, not a thesis. Anyway, the Victorians just loved to send greeting cards. Yes. Yes, they did. And Easter was a good as time as any to send a card.

According to the Greeting Card Association we are sending more cards today than ever before-although not many of us sent out Easter cards. However, in the 1870’s and with the introduction…

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A BREXIT recap. (Part 1)

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Hello and hi. Apologies for the ‘radio silence’ dear readers. I have been busier than a one-legged man at a butt kickin’ contest! Truth. Please know that this is a typical Southern colloquialism/saying. I am not from the South. I am from the North and that means I simply turn my nose up at Southern ways and their strange proclivities. Mind you…I do rather like their crazy, Southern sayings. Respect.

So, yes, I have been busy. I mean, who knew that I would be the ONLY American in London Town-assigned with the task of making sure that the Labour government does not actually implode…while secretly meeting with Conservative party leaders ensuring that this BREXIT business goes accordingly. Erm…I totally made that up. But I have been busy doing other, equally important stuff in West London. Yes, yes I have.

That being said, I was thinking about having a BREXIT only blog (where I would just write exclusively on BREXIT) But, my schedule may not allow me the time-but thanks to H for the proposed titles. Thanks matey! ;).  I still may do the BREXIT only blog, but for now…here is a BREXIT recap. You are welcome. Ok, let’s do this.

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Brexit recap

‘Brexit means Brexit’ our illustrious PM famously once chortled. Which was quite reassuring, as many in the UK thought it meant: ‘yellow and blue make green.’ Anyway, So our girl Theresa May, triggered Article 50 to commence the Brexit-ing. Of course, these things never go to plan and there were a few stumbles along the way. Yup. Thanks Gina Miller! You made this process longer and more painful by hauling the Government into the UK Supreme Court regarding the process of Brexit.

Then…First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon had a few concerns. She sure did. Oh Nicola…honey girl-child, we respect that you want an independent nation for your people of Scotland-but, child, now is not the time. Oh and BTW, you have a devolved government so any and all decisions or proposed changes you want or need for Scotland, need to be approved by Westminster. I am guessing you already knew that. So, settle down, love. Now is not the time to leave. We are stronger together. Stay already. We like family-England and Scotland. Yes. Yes, we are.

Now for some basics…(please tell me you know all of this-but if not…read on)

BREXIT meaning

When you merge the words Britain and exit you get: BREXIT. Simples.

Why is Britain leaving the UK?

We had a referendum (a vote in which everyone of voting age can take part) on Thursday 23 June, 2016. The referendum/vote was regarding whether the UK should LEAVE or REMAIN within the EU. The LEAVE won by 51.9% to 48.1%. According to the BBC, the referendum turnout was 71.8%-with more than 30 million people voting. I would like to add that a certain American blogger did not vote in the referendum (but, said blogger would have voted REMAIN).

Brexit Breakdown across the UK

  • England voted for Brexit by 53.4% to 46.6%
  • Wales also voted for Brexit
  • Scotland and Northern Ireland both backed staying in the EU.

Changes to the Government post-Brexit

About 2 minutes after the referendum results had been announced, our Prime Minister, David Cameron resigned. A short while later, Britain got a new Prime Minister-Theresa May. May was previously the Home Secretary and she took over from David Cameron. The people did not even vote for Theresa May. There was no general election held. Ain’t democracy grand?

 

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The moment PM David Cameron resigned. His wife, Samantha, silently supporting her husband. Oh, nice dress, Sam!

                                                                                                                             Image: Wales online

 

Interestingly, Theresa May was against Britain leaving the EU. Yup. This meant that she played a low-key role in the campaign and was never really seen as much of an enthusiast for the EU. Later, our Theresa became Prime Minister without facing a full Conservative leadership after her key rivals from what had been the Leave side, pulled out. So, our new PM was a REMAIN-er, but now in her new role as PM, she would be assisting and facilitating in LEAVING the EU. I guess, when life hands you a lemon…you make lemonade. Yup.

 

                                                                                                           Image: The Daily Express

 

What PM Theresa May has done so far…

Plenty. Loads. A massive amount….I think you get the point.

Essentially, during her infancy as PM, the Conservative Party, according to opinion polls, had an enormous lead over the largest opposition party, Labour. Theresa May’s key message of ‘Brexit means Brexit’ was pretty pivotal (and self-explanatory) and subsequently led to her triggering the 2 year process of the UK leaving the EU on 29 March 2017. Later, May set out her Brexit negotiating goals in a letter to the EU council president, Donald Tusk. You can read them here.

The Economy post-Brexit

Our former PM, David Cameron and his trusty sidekick, Chancellor George Osborne (along with other senior figures who wanted to stay in the EU) predicted in a rather scaremongering sort of way that the UK would most likely face an almost certain immediate economic crisis, should the UK vote to leave.  They said:

  • house prices would fall
  • there would be a recession with a BIG rise in unemployment
  • an emergency Budget would be needed to bring in the large cuts in spending that that would be needed (mind you, the pound did take a mighty beating the day after the referendum and still remains around 15% lower against the dollar and 10% down against the Euro, according to the BBC-but predictions of doom did not prove accurate. Nope.
  • The economy is estimated to have grown 1.8% in 2016, second only to German’s 1.9% among the world’s G7 leading industrialised nations. So take that, George Osborne. Enjoy eating crow, mate.

 

Finally, I have saved the best for last, in this handy recap. So…what is the EU? Allow me. Please and thanks.

What is the EU?

The European Union (often known as the EU) is an economic and political partnership (read: albatross around the neck) involving 28 European countries. In brief, it began after World War II in order to foster economic co-operation, with the pie in the sky idea that countries which trade together are more likely to avoid going to war with each other.

Image result for image of the EU countries

 

Further, the EU has since grown to become a ‘single market’ and this subsequently allows goods and people to move seamlessly around-as if the member states were one country. In addition, it has its own currency-the euro-which is used by 19 of the member countries. Also, it has its own parliament and it sets rules on a wide range of areas-including areas such as: the environment, transport, consumer rights and even vastly important things such as mobile phone charges.

So, that is the EU in a nutshell. Please know I have been brief here, as this is not a University module/seminar on the EU and Brexit….this is only a blog post, people. So kindly accept the fact that it was quite impossible for me to include everything.

In closing, I hope you have enjoyed this recap-Part 1. Recap-Part 2 is coming soon. I promise. But please remember this…’Brexit means Brexit.’

Oh and thanks for reading, this was a long post. So, cheers for that . Check you cool cats later (read: will return with Part 2 sooner rather than later.) Yes. Yes, I will. That is all.

Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accents (UK)

Life in London

Hello and hi. Please know that the above meme is meant as a joke. True it is misleading and wholly inaccurate-the English have no hatred of comfort (that I have ever come across)-so please know that it was meant as a joke. If anyone is offended…well, ‘Cash me outside-how bow dah?’ (It just means: Let us settle this outside. Meet me outside…shall we duel?)

Anyway… I have managed to maintain my American accent whilst living in the UK. Yup. Thank goodness! However, there are some days, however, when ‘I drop the ball’ or ‘let the team down’ and end up sounding a little British. Adapt or die is the name of the game. On the days that I sound distinctly British (which are very few and am usually politely complaining about the length of the queue/line in the post office) I tend to sound like Lady Cora of Downton Abbey. Remember-she was…

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Something Just Like This/The Chainsmokers & Coldplay

Hello and hi. Guess what? 2 bands I really like have recently collaborated. Their musical, magical union has given us: Something Like This. And the result? So, so good. But maybe  you don’t like The Chainsmokers. That’s ok. But if you don’t like Coldplay…well, then, we need to re-evaluate our relationship. Sorry. (Not Sorry)

Have posted the video for: Something Just Like This (it is a lyric video). Hope you like it. I really do. But first some background on The Chainsmokers and Coldplay. You ready? Ok, let’s do this.

The Chainsmokers

Image result for image of the chainsmokers

The Chainsmokers comprise of DJ/Producer duo-Andrew Taggard and Alex Paul.  The EDM-pop (EDM=Electronic Dance Music/Club Music/Dance Music…I think you get the point). EDM is a broad range of percussive electronic music, largely for nightclubs, raves and festivals. But, I digress.

  • The EDM-pop duo achieved a breakthrough with their 2014 song #Selfie (which was a top 20 single in several countries.
  • Their debut EP: Bouquet was released in Oct 2015 and featured the single Roses
  • Don’t Let Me Down became their first top 5 single and won the GRAMMY award for Best Dance Recording at the 59th awards ceremony (Feb 2017)
  • They have also won an American Music Award and 5 iHeartRadio Music Awards

Oh and the pair, both hail from New York City, New York, USA.

Coldplay

Meet Coldplay. Coldplay is so massive, that, I feel like they need a separate blog post. Oh, you don’t know Coldplay? Never heard of them? Lordy-Miss Gordy. Yikes. Here is a brief Coldplay intro. Later, I will post a more comprehensive blog post on the magically magnificent Coldplay. Yes. Yes, I will.  But now, some general stuff about them. Ok, let’s do this.

Image result for image of Coldplay

Meet Coldplay. A British rock band formed in 1996 by lead vocalist and keyboardist Chris Martin and lead guitarist Jonny Buckland while at UCL (University College London). After they formed under the name: Pectoralz, Guy Berryman joined the group as a bassist and they then changed their name to: Starfish. Will Champion joined as a drummer and backing vocalist-which essentially created (and finalised) their performing line-up. Creative Director, Phil Harvey is often referred to as the official 5th member of the band. The band renamed themselves: Coldplay in 1998, before recording and releasing 3 EP’s:

  • Safety (1998)
  • Brothers and Sisters (as a single in 1999)
  • The Blue Room (1999)-The Blue Room was their FIRST release on a major label, after signing to Parlophone

Soooo much more to say on Coldplay. I listen to them all the time. Yup. As previously mentioned, I will post/write more on them later. Some pictures now…

Image result for picture of chris martin and gwyneth paltrow

The lead singer of Coldplay-Chris Martin-used to be married to Gwyneth Paltrow. They have kids together (who have pretty fab names). However, Gwyneth and Chris are no longer married. Instead, they are co-parenting. Erm…I can’t ‘even’ Gwyneth’. I am not a fan of hers. She seems like a difficult woman. I seem to be slightly allergic to difficult women. Yup. I of course, have never personally Gwyneth. But who knows, maybe one day I will meet her… and I might change my mind about her. MIGHT. But for now: Me no likey. Nope.

 

 

 

 

Now for the song/video. Hope you like it as much as I do. Yes, Yes, I do.

 

Cheers