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Anyone relocated back?

(167 Posts)
CountessFosco Sun 24-Sep-23 17:28:46

After 44 years' absence, we recently relocated back to England.
We regret the move as it was a terrible shock. Has anyone else been through the same painful process? We cannot return post Brexit and my OH having had a significant "round" birthday.
Be gentle with replies please - feeling miserable and vulnerable.

Dickens Sun 24-Sep-23 20:54:36

There are those who haven't been living abroad who are saying the same thing in fact.

In the early-mid 80s we began to see "supply-side" economics, cuts to public spending - and cuts in both personal and business taxation. The rise of the YUPPIE, miners' strikes, recession, the bedding-in of the service economy and the decline of heavy industry.

What has followed since is just a natural progression - individualism, liberalism, neo-liberalism and further cuts to public services - councils (so no money to mend he numerous potholes that are turning our roads into golf-courses for giants!), the NHS, the Police - with the resultant increase in crime (though it does go in 'waves') knife-crime, gang-warfare, the break-down of communities although there are now serious efforts to rebuild them, and, not-least the inevitable disparity between the haves and the have-nots.

Of course, prior to all this, we had continual (it seemed) strikes, militant (very) shop-stewards, hippy flower-power, and a culture of 'free-love' still hanging on from the 60s. The music scene was good though. To my ears, anyway.

So yes, things have changed a tad over 44 years.

Maggiemaybe Sun 24-Sep-23 20:54:55

I do sympathise, CountessFosco. There’s a saying, isn’t there? Times change and we with them? We usually go through a gradual process of adapting to the inevitable changes going on around us, but if you’ve been away for half a lifetime the differences will seem to be sudden, and sometimes brutal. I must say, though, that I don’t recognise the aggressive, uncaring country you describe. Not all the changes over the last 44 years have been negative by any means. Most of us have more choice in so many areas, more opportunities, our society as a whole is, I believe, generally more tolerant of people who don’t fit the mainstream mould. There are times when we all look back and regret the things we think we’ve lost, but for most people, the past was really no utopia.

V3ra Sun 24-Sep-23 21:03:10

CountessFosco I'm really sorry to hear that you're so unhappy, but can I ask where you are now living?
I don't recognise the attitudes you're describing in my Midlands town 😕
In fact when my Dad moved here five years ago he remarked how friendly and helpful everyone he met was!

DaisyAnneReturns Sun 24-Sep-23 21:08:06


I have every sympathy. I’ve never lived abroad but have recently moved back to my home town after living in a different part of the country for 40 years. I didn’t like it much when I was young but I hate it now. It’s filthy, the houses are mostly run down and many people, especially children, are disrespectful. Fortunately I have a nice house near to my grandchildren so can build myself a bubble where the problems of the city impinge as little as possible.

Why do you expect people to be "respectful" to someone who so dislikes the place they call "home"?

Joseann Sun 24-Sep-23 21:38:21

I think everywhere has changed, at a very quick rate over the past 20 or so years, (unless it's all because I'm getting older and more critical).
We relocated back to London, and although the landscape had changed, it was still the diverse and vibrant place I remembered, and actually a lot lot cleaner.
This month I am residing back in France and yesterday we visited one of our favourite commercial centres which now seemed dirty with groups of youths hanging about. Even the nice pâtisseries and cafés had turned into fast food outlets with flies circling around the buns and doughnuts.
I think life evolves, as does our perspective, and we can't expect to revisit chapters as they used to be.
I hope you are able to find some comfort in your new surroundings.

Caravansera Sun 24-Sep-23 22:15:00

I have lived in the same home for 40 years in a suburban village on the outskirts of a city, one that is deemed one of the least affordable in the UK when comparing house prices to average earnings. So it does not surprise me to read that population growth has been lower than in other areas in the same region. Nevertheless there has still been a substantial growth in house building over that time. We must have that to deal with general exponential population growth. The median age of the population is 40 so there are lots of young families which makes it a vibrant place to live. The population is around 180,000. 40 years ago it was 140,000.

I don’t see a marked change in people’s behaviour. Young people have always put their feet on bus and train seats. If it’s annoying, tell them to stop. Why expect someone else to do it?

Littering can be a problem but has long been. It was 1954 when The National Federation of Women’s Institutes passed a resolution to “Keep Britain Tidy” and there have been campaigns ever since:

Local littering is a matter for local goverment. Whenever I see litter it’s usually because the council have not made sufficent provision for people to dispose of it and aren’t emptying bins often enough. Take it up with the council. Most have online reporting facilities and should resolve an issue within ten days. Our parish council organises regular volunteer litter-picking days to deal with litter that gets blown into hedgerows and around the green spaces.

People I know call me by my name. Those who don’t know me, don’t call me by my name because how would they know? I find the vast majority of people pleasant, polite and considerate.

Everyone should speak English? I am not sure if you are complaining because people do or don’t. I grew up in London in the 1950s and 1960s among a multi-cultural population so hearing different tongues is normal. I used to hear Italian, Greek, Turkish. Punjabi, Urdu, Yiddish and Caribbean English. Nowadays, it’s more likely to be Pashto, Polish, Romanian and Ukranian but these are more recent arrivals to our shores and need time to learn. I volunteer with an organisation which teaches English to Afghani and Ukranian women and children. It’s very rewarding to see and hear people making progress. With that they find the confidence to assimilate more quickly into their new communities.

My advice always is to get involved and try to make a difference however small.

Callistemon21 Sun 24-Sep-23 22:28:23

Everyone should speak English? I am not sure if you are complaining because people do or don’t

I take it CountessFosco hasn't moved Wales where everything official, street signs, place names, road signs are all in Welsh first.

BlueBelle Sun 24-Sep-23 22:36:09

What a nice positive post caravansera

This is the bit that bothers me * secondly neither wanted to be left alone in a foreign country dealing with illness and then bureaucracy* so you were happy to move away from this country but not happy to spend your old age in your utopia seems pretty disingenuous to me

It’s a shame it hasn’t come up to your dreams but they do say be careful what you wish for

Romola Sun 24-Sep-23 22:41:34

Caravansera, I agree with you.
There are some things which are worse, by lots that are not.
We have some way ro go, but social attitudes are measurably more liberal. It is no longer okay to make racist or anti-feminist remarks.
And most young people, in my experience, are helpful and respectful.

JenniferEccles Sun 24-Sep-23 22:48:05

I’m perfectly certain none of those countries you have lived in over the past forty years is perfect, far from it, especially oh my goodness South Africa, where it was so dangerous, a police escort was provided every time we left our very smart hotel.
I couldn’t wait to get home from that holiday some years ago.

If you work at noticing the many good things about our country, as well as the not so good, then I’m sure you will eventually settle.
If however you concentrate on what you see as negativity, then it will be very hard for you to fit back in.

There’s a famous old story about a man who had asked a resident what the people were like in the town he had recently moved to.
“What were the folk like in the town you have moved from ?”he was asked.
“Oh they were a miserable bunch” said the man, “ Rude, unfriendly, standoffish.”
“Oh dear” was the reply. “Then, I’m afraid, those are the type of people you will encounter here”.

Delila Sun 24-Sep-23 22:49:17

Whether you’re moving abroad to live, or back again to relocate to your country of origin, I think you experience both heightened awareness and culture shock in both directions. It’s a lot to contend with, more so as you get older, I think. It sounds as though you came back with family expectations too, which haven’t been fulfilled…. yet.

Give it all time. At the moment you are being bombarded with change. I hope you’ll find it’s not as bad as it all looks at first, and that it won’t be too long before you begin to feel that you belong again.

Callistemon21 Sun 24-Sep-23 22:52:47

I think CountessFosco has posted previously about this and I'm sorry things have not improved.

However, it is good to try to make an effort to get out and meet people as I am surprised you find this country less friendly than others as generally it is a friendly country, although cities might be more impersonal.

New friends won't seek you out, you have to go out and find them.
Volunteering is goo but you ould try U3A together, or other groups, such a WI, TWG or Probus separately if you don't feel up to volunteering.

Callistemon21 Sun 24-Sep-23 23:03:49

On the last thread nearly a year ago I said this in reply to another Gransnetter:

I would think the biggest obstacle to this was Covid restrictions where clubs and societies perhaps only met by Zoom and it would be impossible to join in and get to know people. Likewise going out and visiting the lovely areas the UK has to offer.

I hope they'll be able to do that now and things will improve for them.

Now restrictions have lifted I hope you can go out and get to meet people, CountessFosco

Marydoll Sun 24-Sep-23 23:08:59

A few days ago, on a day out down the coast, we decided to visit our former home which we sold nearly forty years ago and had never revisited.
I was so disappointed, it wasn't how I remembered it. I would have hated to live there now. I suspect we forget the negatives.

Nothing stays the same and after forty years away, you cannot expect things to be the same, as when you left. Nowhere is perfect!
Rose tinted spectacles and all that.

Delila Sun 24-Sep-23 23:41:11

When I came back to live in England I joined a large choir and it turned out to be the best thing I could possibly have done to re-integrate myself.

BlueBelle Mon 25-Sep-23 05:48:31

I think as others have said your negative views are all connected with your family disappointment You had nurtured the idea of an 80 s style town/country waiting for you and a son who would be there to support you in your old age, and that hasn’t happened as he has his own life firmly established

Because this has thrown you and not turned out as you had imagined, everything now has a negative hue to it and you are seeing the country through very ‘grey’ eyes looking for the bad and missing the good
Your negativity is probably misplaced but is very, very real

You came back to your roots to get support and help that you didn’t trust your newer country to give you and it will take time

Now the only way forward is to
A) return to the country of your dreams
B) dig in and make your new life work for you two, looking for some good instead of bad, doing some volunteering ( if you’re of the age) joining some groups, looking at the beauty around you seeing the good teenagers around, don’t dwell on all the negatives in life
NO country is a utopia
Your country of choice couldn’t have been perfect or you wouldn’t have moved away from it

nanna8 Mon 25-Sep-23 06:32:22

The only thing that was negative and worse that we noticed on our last visit was litter. Lots of it everywhere. The people seemed friendly enough and the cafes and restaurants were better than they used to be. Parking was a big issue and seemed to cost a huge amount but we were in the Lake District mostly which is full of tourists. I have to say I wouldn’t want to live there again but that is because we have changed more than the actual country.

dragonfly46 Mon 25-Sep-23 06:58:50

We returned to the UK 25 years ago after living in the Netherlands for 18 years.
I felt displaced on our return and I still miss the life I had over there. Our move back coincided with the children going away to university so it was a double whammy.
The time we spent in Holland was when we were bringing up our children - years I regarded as the best of my life.
I miss my friends over there still but I did not want to grow old and possibly live alone in a foreign country.

It will take time to settle but a little effort and lower expectations you will.

Calendargirl Mon 25-Sep-23 07:11:25

I am in agreement with those who think that, having lived overseas for 44 years, you have now come back to the UK as you don’t want to spend your old age alone and in a ‘foreign’ country.

But surely after all this time, these places are no longer ‘foreign’.

As with many others, the thought of care from the NHS, imperfect as it is, is preferable to care in another country as we age.

Plus disappointment with family also?

BlueBelle Mon 25-Sep-23 07:12:09

* Nana8* I do think it depends where you live in UK we have a huge vacuum cleaner machine drive up and down the paths quite regularly and the town centre paths are steam cleaned once a year We have a tractor daily on the beach to clean up any litter left and most people do put it in bins but obviously there’s always sone that don’t
We also have community voluntary littler picks too
Our bin men on the whole are pretty good too and if they miss you and they are alerted they come out the next day
There are always some parts that don’t come up to speed and always some people who litter or dump and the horrible habit of a few people with dog poo is always a problem
The few spoil it for the many

I m not sure how good or bad the litter problem is in cities or very big towns I m thinking it’s probably much worse My nearest city is very clean but then it’s not a big city

BlueBelle Mon 25-Sep-23 07:18:50

Sorry for the length but another thought
Both posts talking about moving back contained this
but I did not want to grow old and possibly live alone in a foreign country.
secondly neither wanted to be left alone in a foreign country dealing with illness and then bureaucracy
Why after so many years, so many friends, so many positives were these countries considered ‘foreign’ and not good enough for your old age

CountessFosco Mon 25-Sep-23 08:25:18

Thank you everyone who has contributed. Just two more observations and thereafter I will digest everything contributed.
The first time I ever posted on here, was to mention that we had loaned a piece of computer equipment after a desperate plea for help over Christmas. Back came a response from one GNer "you loaned computer equipment? What kind of gullible idiot are you anyway". The post was deleted but the hurt had already been done.
Secondly neighbours : there are only four of us here in the apartments {Hertfordshire/Buckinghamshire borders}. One heard me speaking French and asked "how many languages do you speak then"? When told five, she said "oooooooohh, get her". Those are just two of the 'welcome back to England', hurtful encounters. I won't post more.

StacyAnna Mon 25-Sep-23 08:34:20

Has your son and his family been in the UK all the time you were in different countries? Did you visit them here, or did they come and stay with you? The person you mention being somewhat rude re your speaking French / languages is, I would say, not typical of most here in the UK. No one’s ever said anything like that to me, either in my home town or in different holidays places in the UK. Have you not met others who have been friendly?

Marydoll Mon 25-Sep-23 08:50:03

One heard me speaking French and asked "how many languages do you speak then"? When told five, she said "oooooooohh, get her".
Countess F are you sure she was being rude, but may instead have been impressed by your linguistic skills? It is a rare occurance to find someone, who can speak five languages. (apart from myself that is. 😉)

Joseann Mon 25-Sep-23 09:01:46

Why after so many years, so many friends, so many positives were these countries considered ‘foreign’ and not good enough for your old age?
That's an interesting question BlueBelle and one to which it is difficult to give an answer.
Despite speaking fluent French, and being in their system for years, and recognising they offer nothing but the best, for some inexplicable reason, I would not want to be abroad in my old age. As an anecdote, I was quite ill over here last week, (nasty spider bite reaction), but my first instinct wasn't to rock up at Urgences but to get the 10 hour ferry home! grin
I don't like having things done to me outside my country, weird I know!
My DH is worse. The car got a screw in its tyre just as we got off the ferry and he was cursing why it hadn't happened back in the UK - even though a new tyre was actually cheaper in France!!