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living in the uk

Popularity 6Viewed 11449 times 2013-10-10 16:46 |System category:News

I came over from Germany about, what, 8 years ago with my husband who was earning quite a decent wage. 3 bed semi detached in a nice area of Leeds (yup, they do exist, but you have to look pretty hard to find them)
Oh, I had a ball! A pretty garden, nice pubs within walking distance, a beautiful park just over the road, money to spend and stuff to do.
8 years and one divorce later, I live in a house littered with bedbugs in an area that will make people look at you either with disgust or sincere sympathy when you mention its name. Despite the attention of various “plumbers” (sadly all of them natives, I should have asked for a Polish professional) the toilet is leaking and there hasn’t been hot water in the kitchen for over a year. The gas fire has been yanked out of the wall after it nearly killed us in our sleep (us meaning me, my cats and my long term unemployed boyfriend who suffers from Hepatitis C which the NHS actually gave him in the tinted blood scandal when they ended up killing people with blood transfusions poisoned with HIV and Hep C. Unsuccessful treatment attempts gave him severe depression to round it all off, so that’s where the unemployment origins…) leaving a gaping hole in the wall which we can only just cover with a large picture frame.
After all the bills are paid, we have about £300 to live on between the two of us and the cats (who have been with me since before I came over)- out of which I have to pay a ridiculous amount each week for travelling to and from work.
Which leads me to work. I have been with the company for 5 years now, without a single sickie. Yup, German efficiency, right? At the moment I am contracted for 37.5 hours a week over 5 days in lower management tier. In reality, it works out at around 45 hours a week, often worked in 13, 14 hour shifts over 3 full days and a little “half day” (say 5- 10pm) in between. I should be raking it in, shouldn’t I? Co- responsible for a shop that turns over millions of £££ a year, handling thousands and thousands of quid on any given day. Not to mention the very real risk of either getting robbed or receiving violent abuse from customers.
£1090 after tax. I will spare you the full maths, but the rent for this sh!thole weighs in at £450. And this is what is called very competitive wage in the UK.
The NHS sucks balls, too. Apart from nearly killing my boyfriend 20 years ago when he had to receive a blood transfusion after he had a tooth pulled out (hemophiliac) and then utterly failing to cure the HepC that is now slowly gnawing away at him, they have also now installed this idiotic first response phone number to call when the emergency is not essentially lethal. Good luck getting a dentist appointment with that lot. Long story short- the only way I got to see a doctor when an abscess in my jaw threatened to take away what little is left of my sanity was to waltz into A&E at night, claiming I feared that I might have od’d on strong prescription painkillers… way to go, NHS, next time my teeth give me grief I’ll just knock them out myself.
In this country, if you don’t have money, you are screwed. In fact- that’s not even true. You are screwed if you don’t either have parents who have sorted out your life path for you (by paying for your Uni, deposit for your house and conveniently letting you inherit their property once they have kicked the bucket) or if you are too proud to go and make 5 babies with 4 different fathers, willing to let whatever is left of society to pay your way. Albeit if you are too proud (or stupid) and insist on making it all by yourself, forget it. Without a degree you will not get a job that pays for either a decent rental property or a mortgage, and once you are stuck in an “unskilled” job (even though my job requires a lot of skills that don’t exactly fall from the sky) the few pennies you do earn (and are expected to be grateful for) will be taken away by landlords who will screw you at every turn, by public transport (they KNOW you rely on them, so they charge whatever they damn well fancy), the council and whoever else offers goods and/ or services for money.
As an employee, tenant and citizen you have next to no rights apart from kissing the behind of THE MAN in eternal gratitude for him allowing you to remain on the face of his planet, picking up whatever scraps he throws you.
Other countries might be terrible, but I have only ever lived in two of them, and if it wasn’t for Germany being full of Germans (yup, I do harbour a deep dislike for my kinsmen) I’d go back there sooner rather than later. At least our bloody plumbers do their jobs right.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Reply Report ExileMick 2013-10-15 06:50
Don't beat about the bush. Next time, say what's really on your mind.

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    • living in the uk 2017-6-28 09:34

      OMG!!!!!!!!!! I never taught i can be this happy and healthy again in my life, after 10 years of suffering from this terrible disease called Hepatitis B (Hbsag) disease, but today i can do all activities and even physical fight with my age mates and apply for visa to any country in the world, because i was told that you can't get visa to any country when you are caring this disease, my visa has be declined severally because of this disease am carrying, help me in thanking this clinic called health med lab for their herbal med they use in healing and curing people, contact them if you are suffering from any kind of disease, they are 24 hours ready to attend to you and cure you, here is their  Email( whatsApp him on Mobile: +14243847770.

    • living in the uk 2013-10-15 06:50

      Don't beat about the bush. Next time, say what's really on your mind.

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