Bev Cross was born in Winnipeg, Canada in 1952 and has lived in Britain since 1968. Now a retired charity lawyer active in the Green Party and as a trustee of a restorative justice charity. Lives in Yorkshire and has a son soon to be married to (another!) British/Canadian lawyer. Loves cats, country walks, writing, swimming and enjoying good meals with friends and family.
At the end of his book The Road to Little Dribbling, Bill Bryson gives five reasons why he prefers living in Britain to just about anywhere else including America, his native land. I was born and raised in Canada and people sometimes ask me why I could possibly prefer to live here than there. My reasons are a little similar to Bill’s. Admittedly, I haven’t (unlike Bill) gone back to live in Canada since I left it in 1968, but I have visited it, and the States, since.
And you can find out so much of what is going on in a country these days from the internet.
|Eccy Woods - Autumn 2015|
I first visited Britain as a tourist with my parents in 1964 when I was 12. I found it enchanting and vowed to myself to come back as soon as I could. I managed to get into Atlantic College in Llantwit Major in 1968 – and, well, just stayed on. I have lived in Wales, Nottingham, London, Warwickshire and finally, Yorkshire for the last 36 years.
|A Sussex Garden|
After a year in Britain, I realised it was sort of my spiritual home: I truly felt more deeply at home here than I had ever felt in Canada. There was so much more of an affinity with a people who, on the whole, it seemed to me, were not devoting their lives to making themselves conspicuously wealthier – not forever longing for the bigger home in the better area, newer car, more expensive clothes etc etc.
I know such consumerism exists in Britain but I still don’t believe it’s how its society measures your worth as a human being. Allied to this, is people’s ability to relax and enjoy small pleasures and how easy it is to find them.
Then there is the quality of broadcasting in this country. Anyone who has watched TV or listened to the radio in other countries will know what I mean. I have joined the campaign to rescue the BBC from what this Government plans for it.
Thirdly, although there are more spectacular places in the world, the British countryside –and, for me, especially the Kent countryside and the Derbyshire and Yorkshire Dales – beguile in a quite unique way.
Another big plus for me is the relative absence of non-human living things that could kill you on a regular basis if you are not really careful such as poisonous snakes and spiders, poison ivy and crocodiles.
The British sense of humour took me a little while fully to “get” but, once I did, I became an addict. Where else could you find stuff like Yes Minister, Victoria Wood or Armando Iannucci?
And finally, there are all those things Britons take for granted but do make such a difference, for example:
- Gun controls
- Tea rooms
- The NHS
- Forming an orderly queue
- Good things absorbed from other cultures like pavement cafes, Italian and Asian food, music in general and really great detective series.
|Sprocket & Connie|
Bev belongs to a small all women writer's group in Sheffield and is currently editing her poetry and flash fiction.