Gransnet forums


Relocating back to UK

(64 Posts)
evianers Sun 17-Feb-19 15:58:34

As there does not seem to be a section devoted to this thorny question, is there anyone on GN who has [successfully] relocated back to Blighty? As you may remember, we have been away since 1975 which is an extremely long time and during which period, many things have changed drastically.
There are two major pulls here : one is our family, as our DGDs of nearly 10 and 8 mushroom daily, and the other is
that it is difficult [but not impossible] to grow old and infirm in a foreign language. Now please don't get me wrong, we do speak adequate French, but of course there are specific Latin-based terms which are virtually impossible to understand in one's own language, let alone a foreign one. We have both necessarily had to be in hospital and withstood the challenges, but would prefer not to endure a repeat of this sojourn, despite that the care was excellent. All input from returned residents would be much appreciated, good or bad. Thank you in advance.

Maggiemaybe Sun 17-Feb-19 17:03:12

44 years is a heck of a long time, evianers! I would have thought you'd feel more at home in France(?) now than in the UK, but of course you are the only ones who can decide where your future lies. Is there more to it than the medical terms? As you say they can be just as difficult to understand in the UK as they are over there, so it doesn't seem like a huge motivator. The tug of family I can well understand....

I have lived abroad, but only for a couple of years. At that juncture homesickness set in and we started to see the negatives where we'd once only seen positives. We missed family, friends, the way of life, the sense of humour. We came home then, and have never regretted it. But your situation is totally different. Good luck to you, whatever you decide.

MawBroon Sun 17-Feb-19 17:08:05

My BIL recently returned after over 30 years in Singapore when he retired. He had visited every summer but has nevertheless found it hard to “recognise” the country he left and is taking a while to settle in.
Friends have mostly moved on and the double whammy of retiring and the loss of “status” and making a new start are proving a challenge!
I am sure you will cope better as your AC and DGC are here and I wish you well.

M0nica Sun 17-Feb-19 17:20:43

The medical care you get over here will not be as good as you get in France. We have had a holiday home in France for 30 years, during which we have made a couple of visits to A&E and watched as elderly (French) neighbours went through the French system.

Winter 17/18 when hospitals in the UK were overwhelmed, we made a planned trip to France, even though DH had bad bronchitis because we felt he would be better off there if a visit to A&E were necessary. Thankfully he didn't.

Tangerine Sun 17-Feb-19 17:44:45

I think you're wise. Slightly off-topic but I knew an elderly gentleman from Poland who had been in UK since the War. His English was wonderful with only a trace of a different accent but, when he got to his eighties and beyond, he could only speak his native tongue.

After 44 years, I guess it will be hard to settle at first but you've probably visited many times so you know what it's like in UK.

I hope things turn out well for you.

MargaretX Sun 17-Feb-19 18:09:22

I could not settle in the UK now as it has changed out of all recognition, and Brexit has done its bit. I can imagine that I would not understand a carer in the Uk better than a German one after such a long time.
You'll have to go back for a while before you make that final decision. Don't sell the house until you are certain.
I went back for 5 years 20 years ago (to do with DH's job) and got homesick for Germany.

Mamie Sun 17-Feb-19 18:16:57

evianers I think there are two Gransnetters who have moved back to the UK from France within the last year. Hopefully they will be along shortly. I wouldn't want to move back for the foreseeable future, but would never say never. Good luck whatever you decide to do.

mumofmadboys Sun 17-Feb-19 18:21:04

Will you be entitled to NHS care if you haven't been paying tax in the UK?

Mamie Sun 17-Feb-19 18:27:37

Yes they will. You are entitled to NHS care as soon as you move back permanently.

BlueBelle Sun 17-Feb-19 18:29:41

My question too Mumof is that the reason for returning ?
I can’t see Uk as being very attractive at the moment I think I’d rather be in France

Framilode Sun 17-Feb-19 18:42:57

We moved back from Spain just over a year ago. We had been in Spain for 15 years. I loved it and felt it was my home. My husband had itchy feet (again) and eventually, after much heartache, we came home.

He now hates it here and is desperate to get back to Spain. I made it clear that if we came back to the UK I was not prepared to move again. It has caused many problems in our marriage.

I understand what you say about being ill in your own language and that certainly is a consideration. However, you also need to consider the social life and friends you will be leaving behind.

I have never felt so lonely as I have this last year and I also feel full of resentment towards my husband for putting me in this position. We have acquaintances where we live but no real friends and our social life is non existent.

I would think very carefully.

As an aside, I don't know about the cost of living in France but we are better off here overall than we were in Spain.

Fennel Sun 17-Feb-19 18:48:44

I'm one of the Gransnetters who has moved back in the last year.
We were paying tax in both UK and France during the 18 years we were away, and still qualify for free health care from the NHS.
I didn't realise you had been away so long, evianers. I've come across you on other forums (francophile).
We moved back mainly because of our age, (late 70s early 80s) and also uncertainty about our status after Brexit. Financial, healthwise etc. And pleas by family.
On the whole I think it was the right decision.

absent Sun 17-Feb-19 19:07:27

mumofmadboys At the moment UK citizens returning to the UK after living in another EU country are automatically entitled to use the NHS. Whether that will change with Brexit remains to be seen. UK citizens returning from outside the EU generally are not entitled to NHS treatment for the first year, even if they have been paying tax in the UK throughout their absence. Certain countries may be excepted from this ruling, but it definitely applies to Brits currently living in New Zealand. As I have no intention of returning, it doesn't worry me.

ffinnochio Sun 17-Feb-19 19:16:49

evianeds. First if all I wish you luck in whatever decision you take.

We returned to Britain, after 15 years in France, just over a year ago. Of course, all personal circumstances are different, but it has been a good move for us. We loved our time there, but we always knew it wasn’t for ever. It was a very rural home.
With a view to the future, we downsized dramatically, moved to an urban area in a county we knew well, and bought a new build (with a view to ageing). Not long after moving in, my husband became seriously ill, and spent many weeks in hospital. He had quite a rare illness which took time to identify. The NHS was magnificent. My husband is very fluent in French, me not so bad, but even he said how difficult it would have been to understand the complexities of it all in French. When he was at his worst, I had many a long chat about the intricacies of what was going on, which would have been difficult for me in French.

All is now well, and I am delighted to be finally settled here in a community that is diverse and friendly.
I miss the garden and the weather. Friendships made are lasting.
I don’t regret our wonderful adventure there, nor do I regret returning.

ffinnochio Sun 17-Feb-19 19:20:14

Oh, and feel free to PM if you’d like to chat some more.

Framilode Sun 17-Feb-19 19:26:12

Provided you have a British passport and are in receipt of a state pension you are entitled to NHS care on the same basis as everyone else. It takes effect immediately you return or even if you just come back for a holiday.

evianers Mon 18-Feb-19 13:02:08

Thank you SO much for those kind folks who have replied. Food for thought from both aspects : FYI, we lived 11 years in South Africa, 5.5 years in Oz [didn't settle there at all but that's another story]! 15 years in Belgium [Flemish speaking not French] and now 11.5 years in France. We are absorbing carefully what each and every one of you has written. But please keep writing if there are any further thoughts. Merci!

evianers Mon 18-Feb-19 13:02:32

Oh sorry, forgot to say yes both have UK passports

Pippa000 Mon 18-Feb-19 14:47:43

I moved back permanently in July last year following the sudden death of DH. Although we had been planning to move back after 10 happy years in Cyprus.

For the last three or four years of our time in Cyprus we had been coming back for 4-6 weeks at Christmas and in the summer to get used to being in UK again and to look at the local areas where we would like to live.

I love being home, I have bought a little house near the children and they are near enough to be there is I need them or they need me, although I do miss all my lovely friends in Cyprus, I will visit, but then it will be a holiday and time to catch up.

Urmstongran Mon 18-Feb-19 15:10:19

Another thought evaniers moving will cost money. If you want to stay in France, couldn’t you source a translator and pay them by the hour for their time at the hospital? My friend who lives in Spain can speak some Spanish but uses a translator for techie stuff. She is much reassured and the hospital staff grateful.

Fennel Mon 18-Feb-19 17:08:52

An extra to my post - our re-adjustment back in the UK hasn't been difficult (after the first few months finding a place to live.) I've always thought of the UK as 'home' - do you?
The main thing imo is if you decide to return, do it before it's too late - age-wise. The move makes big physical and emotional demands.

Miep1 Mon 18-Feb-19 17:18:36

I moved back to the UK from France in 2005 after 15 years there, due to my children - a thorny subject that I won't go into. I loathe it here. I speak fluent French and despite complex medical problems, had no difficulty And received by far superior Care. I would love to go back, but being penniless have no option but to stay here. Yes, I do have a British passport

notanan2 Mon 18-Feb-19 17:30:04

I wouldnt drastically move for GCs of that age, they'll soon be doing their own thing and maybe moving away for jobs/uni/adventure/love themselves.

Also, nan in france may be more appealing to visit than nan in the next town so you could see LESS of them. This happened to us when we moved nearer family. For 2 reasons: visiting us was no longer a break/holiday & with us being near meet ups didnt need to be pre booked as we could "pop in any time" but "any time" didnt happen as much.

notanan2 Mon 18-Feb-19 17:33:46

When we were far away we would be arranging the next trip to them or us at the end of the last trip as it took planning/effort so ppl put the effort in.

When we were 30 mins away meet ups ended with "I'm sure we'll see you soon" but nothing was "pencilled in" because meeting up was perceived as easy. But then we wouldn't see each other for ages.

And when we did it was a quick cuppa rather than a long weekend of quality time

Urmstongran Mon 18-Feb-19 17:53:29

What Do you mean Miep that you only live here ‘because you are penniless ‘? Do you not have a house to sell? Or if you rent here, does that mean you cannot rent in France?
I’m confused.
And it’s a shame to live here if you hate it.