Thoughts, quirky insights and experiences in my meandering life.

Back in the country of “close that door” and other British oddities

Years ago a friend asked me why, in British TV shows, people always closed the door when they entered or left a room.  It reminded me of something that was glaringly obvious to me when I first arrived in Canada, but after a while got used to, as we do.  The flagrant use of energy in Canada.  The doors are closed to keep the heat in the room.  Only rooms being used are heated in Britain.  So the living room would be heated, but the hallway would not.  Open the door and a draught blew into the heated room.  And why?  Because energy in Britain, in all of Europe, is very much more expensive than we are used to paying in Canada.  I remember being shocked at the oblivious use of electricity, the size of the vehicles, and the glorious heat in all the rooms.  Growing up it was second nature to conserve energy and still is here.  Today, Martin, my sister Jane’s partner pointed out to me the markers inside the electric kettle denoting the levels of water for 1, 2 or 3 cups of coffee or tea.  It continues here, but we have had to be trained in Canada, and the screams of bloody murder about the increase in “hydro” have always seemed a bit self-indulgent, but I guess if something has always been cheap you expect it to continue, even if it is unrealistically cheap.  But enough of that soap box, on to another one.  The practices around selling land.

My nephew Lucien picked me up from the airport and we drove to his new property near Fairy Hill, Compton Dando, North Somerset.  That is what it is called, I kid you not, you can look it up, preferably not on g**gle.  It is a beautiful piece of property, and the view is magnificent, across rolling hills.  For some reason I did not take any pictures, but I am going back in a few days.  He explained to me that a previous owner, not even the one that he bought from I think, put a covenant on it.  The covenant is in place until 2029.  This particular covenant enables the previous owner to benefit financially if the land is developed and the value increased as a result.  I am not sure how this would be enforced, do they visit once a year to inspect the property?  Or do they use g**gle earth to keep an eye on it?  It gets madder.  Lucien’s uncle, Jonathan bought a property around the country corner from Jane.  The property had been owned by the Flucks, a lovely couple that died after long lives, but childless.  A nephew inherited.  He severed 6 square feet of land from the property so that he could put in an objection to the planning committee if the new owner developed the part of the property on the opposite side of the road from the house.  He had never ever lived there, but felt this was necessary.  By the way, he does not have to pay tax on his 6 square feet.  Taxes are not payable on undeveloped land.  I wonder who he will leave it to, a hobbit?

Off to meet my great nephew Ruben tomorrow…..



Moving Day


Is smaller always better?


  1. Anne

    Maggie…. you are an excellent writer!! I’m surprised that the nephew who inherited that land was even permitted to sever 6 square feet. Why would council allow that. Ludicrous.

  2. Daniel

    Hello Maggie.

    Wonderful to read your posting and having a sense of where you are on the planet on any given day.

    PS: I walked down the street yesterday and saw “new faces” on the front porch of your old house on Hastings. Must admit, it took me aback. It will take a while to get used to it.

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