Have you been to the place where I was hatched and reared? The City of the great Liverbirds - i.e. Liverpool (Scouseland)...
Scousers are great...
You'll love the Scousers, Sir!
Nevermind the bollocks Ides of March - this is the Sex AK47s :-D
As far as I am aware if you are a holder of a US driving licence then you are eligible to convert it to an English one without having to undergo a test.
All you need to do is pop into a DVLA office with two colour photographs (which the DVLA official can sign for authentication purposes), a driving licence application form (available at your local post office), a form of photo ID (as in pasport or EEC Identity Card - I guess you are just a US passport holder) and a cheque for thirty-eight quid if I am not mistaken.
I worked with a Canadian data analyst bird a while back who did just that when she came to these shores: converted her Canadian driving licence to a local one... no problem whatsoever.
You can find more details about that process courtesy of www.dvla.gov.uk
Does WickedWitch have a driving licence from the States? If so she can convert it. Mind you, Bulgaria recently became an EEC/EEA member state and I know all the Pollocks, Latvians, Estonians, Czechs, Slovaks (the EEC accession states), etc who come over here are having no difficulty whatsoever converting their driving licences to English ones. So, WW should have no hindrances either, I suspect!
Go and convert your licence and get yourself a car. Motors are cheap in England. Have you got an insurance no-claims bonus certificate from the States? It'll help you acquire a lower motor vehicle insurance premium.
Thanks again for the great advice! I'll definitely give it a go. I've heard the driver's test here is pretty tough though, at least when compared to our laughable ones in the states. I came over on the Ides of March (hope its not a bad omen), so I've been here just three months and should have some time to get a new license before the old, New Mexico one is no longer good.
"Cheers for your kind comments. I would do anything I can to help both you and WickedWitch. I do hope she finds something great here as she is a fine and intelligent lady with enviable charisma. She's going to reach for the stars and I reckon it'll be sooner rather than later."
Definitely. I'm sure if I can get a work permit here, she should have no problem.
"What car did you use to own?"
I had a VW Jetta. Nothing fancy, but I had an attachment to it. I'm happy though to just go places by train.
"I am going to Lanyon Quoit in Cornwall this summer Solstice. I went to the Cheesewring (also in Cornwall) last Summer Solstice. I would also recommend the Rollright Stone Circle in Oxon, Rich. Go and check it out - absolutely captivating!"
"Whereabout in the capital do you live? Hope it's not Putney. Why don't you come and visit me in the West Midlands? You will love Staffs - great countryside and some great places to eat out. Bring your bird over as well!"
Cornwall sounds really cool! I've heard the moors are really dramatic and they've managed to keep a distint Celtic flavour in that part of England. Plus, there's surfing. ;-)
Actually, where I live is almost as bad as Putney. I'm just next door in Camberwell (where Michael Caine is from). I had to find a place in just two days and didn't know where to look. Its not so bad, but I'm definitely not in Kansas anymore. I saw a guy snatch a gold chain right off the neck of another guy standing next to me while getting on the bus just a few days after arriving.
Just living in London is exciting, but after three months of nothing but the city, I'm good and ready to wander around old Albion. Thanks so much for the offer of hospitality! I really liked the parts of the West Midlands I was able to see while at Warwick. Unfortunately, I'm birdless right at present.
Getting away from the nightmare that is the M25 will constitute a gargantuan relief for you, Sir! It'll take some time to get off the M25 if it is dreadfully congested. Watch out for the variable speed limits. I assume you are going to hire a car.
Do go and have a look at Stonehenge but as I said it has become a mecca for druggies and all sorts of yobs because of the commercial aspect attached thereto. Sad but true, matey.
Do make your way to Oxon and check out the Rollright Stone Circle. Both Sarah and I love it although she is not a crazy Pagan like me. She is interested in that stuff but does not take it to heart the way I do! She loves standing stones and circles, though. They make her feel more energetic, she tells me. I feel the same way too when I draw from the strength that they exude! Sarah once put a lottery ticket through the Rollright - not that she needs to considering she earns in excess of 800 grand per annum but she plays for a kickoff - and won ninety quid! She had never one anything playing the lottery before. Hopefully that means that if I, a mere mortal compared to Sarah put my lottery ticket through the Rollright the powers that be will be considerably kinder to me because I don't own a million quid mansion and an Aston Martin with a personalised numberplate... and let me win at the very least a grand :-)) :-))
Have you been to Cornwall yet, Sir? That is the most beautiful place on Earth.
Porthcurno is stunning as is St Ives. Tintagel is King Arthur Country and Cornwall's capital Truro has a three-spire cathedral.
You should go to the Minack Theatre in Porthcurno, West Cornwall. It's an open-air theatre situated on the edge of a cliff overlooking the turquoise sea water from twenty-odd feet up! Magical place indeed!
Sir Ste [great to see Rushdie receive a knighthood along with the great Ian Botham. I see the Iranian govt are not amused about Rushdie being in the Honours' list :-))]
Seriously go for the Nationwide FlexAccount now. Apply online. If you have any credit cards and you haven't completely maxed them out you'll be able to get it. They'll probably only start you on the lowest OD, though (if I remember correctly - a meagre seven hunred and fifty quid. My FexAccount OD is three grand at present.
Convert your licence a.s.a.p. You've been in Blighty for a while, haven't you? Do it as it will be advantageous for you to have an English licence with regards to motor insurance and all that.
Cheers for your kind comments. I would do anything I can to help both you and WickedWitch. I do hope she finds something great here as she is a fine and intelligent lady with enviable charisma. She's going to reach for the stars and I reckon it'll be sooner rather than later. What car did you use to own? I'd recommend you get a new one on finance from Carcraft once you convert your licence.
I stopped going to Stonehenge as soon as it became a magnet for lager louts and all sorts of druggies. Well, I still go there occasionally when it's not high season and therefore not too busy but the commercialism associated therewith really and truly niggles, to say the least.
I am going to Lanyon Quoit in Cornwall this summer Solstice. I went to the Cheesewring (also in Cornwall) last Summer Solstice. I would also recommend the Rollright Stone Circle in Oxon, Rich. Go and check it out - absolutely captivating!
Whereabout in the capital do you live? Hope it's not Putney. Why don't you come and visit me in the West Midlands? You will love Staffs - great countryside and some great places to eat out. Bring your bird over as well!
Tararabit (as they say in the nearby Black Country region)...
Sir Ste [great to see the incredible Ian Botham receive a knighthood... Arise, Sir Ian]
Thanks for the advice. You're not only a poet, but a fount of information!
I guess I should have been clearer. I actually went and got a bank account recently as soon as I got my hands on a council tax bill.
This sounds like very good advice for WW and I wish I'd bugged you with these questions earlier, while I was actually doing the move.
But the nationwide account sounds pretty good. I'll look into it when I've been here a little longer and have enough credit to get an account with an overdraft. I'll also look into the UK driver's license. I bike most of the time and use the tubes and buses for the rest, but it would be nice to have a form of ID other than my passport. (The worst thing about leaving the states was having to sell my nice little car. :-( )
BTW, I remember your mentioning that you and Sarah like to go to Pagan celebrations. Do you two go to Salisbury and the henges each year, or is that just too mainstream? I'm not so much into that stuff, but I did read an interesting historical novel years and years ago called "Sarum" about the history of the region covering a span of 5000 years. I was thinking of making my first forray outside the M25 (there be dragons), towards Salisbury, Old Sarum hill, and Stonehenge. Do you have any oppinions or advice for such a trip?
Sorry, Uchak but I have to disagree!
London is bloody awful unless you live in Belgravia, to be fair. I don't even like London in small doses and only go there if I absolutely bloody have to for work purposes or if my cricket, rugby or footy side happen to play in the ghastly capital. It is also horrendously and unjustifiably dear.
Why don't you look for some work in Brum (England's second city)? A thriving place at the moment with loads of opportunities and far better situated in terms of geography (i.e. in the Midlands). This region is easily accessible by car (driving in and around London is a bee with the most unbearable itch extraordinaire) and accommodations for mere mortals and those just slightly above them :-) are nowhere near as costly. You'd acquire a far better and cleaner place for your 400 quid per month excluding bills, of course (not a room but a flat or in some cases a semi) in Solihull than you ever would in polluted London. The entertainment scene in Brum is quite vibrant, by the way...
You could even reside in posh Lichfield (seventeen miles north of Brum on the A38) in a pleasant clean flat amidst great surroundings and commute to Brum on a daily basis. The A38 is just fine and you have the M6 'Troll' Expressway as an alternative. Have a think! London ain't the cat's whisker! It's actually a dive! A diabolical fecking dive, son!
I recommend '3' as the best VFM mobile phone contract option. I am on the Videotalk Text 1100 tariff and it's stupendous. I have 600 anytime/any network minutes, 400 text 'massages' (from Victoria Principal, no less :-D), 50 Video minutes, 50 Multimedia 'Massages' (again from the sultry Victoria Principal :-D)... and a fiver's worth of downloading material from 'Planet 3' (which is '3''s mobile internet zone). All that for a mere forty-five quid per month (absolute buttons, kidda) and on an eighteen-month-long contract with a gorgeous free handset. My eighteen months are nearly up so I am eligible for an upgrade. The contract was half-price for the first six-months as well (common practice by '3') - cheap as chips, kidda!
Have a think...
You need to have proof of address in the form of either utility bills (gas, electricity, landline - three-months old at best), council tax (semi-annual bill) or in some very rare cases your car insurance document may do the trick. If you have an English photocard driving licence you'll also have your current address denoted on it.
Have you thought of opening an account with Nationwide? They are really good,. Get the FlexAccount. You don't pay any comission if you use it beyond our frontiers and the overdraft charges are miniscule as well. I have current accounts with Barclays, NatWest and Nationwide. I used my Nationwide Debit Card (Visa Delta) in Texas, Japan as well as Germany (during the World Cup), Athens (Champs League final), and any other country I drove through on the way to Athens and it's been great. Think about it!
Surely, by now you must have a council tax bill, a gas bill, electric, landline, etc - you can use any of those to obtain a mobile phone contract as well, by the way. Have you converted your US driving licence to an English one yet? If not... hurry up because from what I gather they are increasing the price! You can go to your nearest DVLA office and they'll send your documentation to Swansea.
And no... a lease document is not treated as proof of address by the banks. Not even my fellow countrymen can open a bank account in England without the above-mentioned items that constitute proof of address. My friend Jamie Hollister who has been working in bars for years and hails from Fazakerley was always paid cash in hand thinking they deducted money for N.I. and tax, etc. but it turned out they didn't and he got into some hot water. He had to open a bank account but couldn't as he had no proof of address (no utility bills). Didn't matter that he is a British citizen. He was living in a bedsit so he had no utility bills in his name. He had to apply for a Television licence and when he got a reminder he could use that as proof of address.
Hope this helps both you, Rich and WW...
Oh, please pretend you didn't read "prettying" and read "pretty." I don't know what's the deal with me an typos.
Also, I must concede that this may be a lot easier for you than it was me. To borrow the words of HD, its possible that I'm "a damn sight" dumber "than the rest of us" at all these practical but obnoxious things you have to do to get started in the UK.
It seems to be getting better. Easier at least. I forgot to mention that you will probably have to provide proof of residence to get a bank account. You may know this, but what surprised me was that they (Natwest, LLoyds TSB, and HSBC) wouldn't accept a signed lease and rent receipts as this proof. I had to wait a few weeks to get a council tax bill. Other people told me that Barclays were prettying good about giving bank accounts to folks "off the matrix."
I was so stupid when I closed my old bank account my last day here in 2003. But I needed the ВЈ5 to get to the airport! ;-)
About the phone, that's what I did. If you have a Bulgarian phone, it should work just fine if its unlocked and you pop in a UK sim card. Once you have a bank account, you can get a plan.
I finally wound up with Natwest. Its not that its so hard to get a bank account, but that you get a lot of conflicting information from people in the same organization, as if most people just would rather make up an answer than find out the real answer. This ends up being a massive waste of time. I've never experienced this in the US in quite the same way. Even in Bulgaria, they're nice enough to tell you to fcuk off if they don't know the answer. ;-)
"Come on, don't insult both our intelligences with this."
Because it's not true, or because it may be racist and I shouldn't be saying it?
"I'm not talking about absolving anyone. But you cannot honestly claim you're all Nietzschean and beyond social programming."
Lol, no WW I make no such a claim... only difference is that I embrace my human imperfection and don't try to blame external forces for my primal instincts and lust for material or sexual satisfaction;)...
We can be beyond social programing if we don't have the predisposition to a particular vice.
For example: the fact that I know and work with people, of who's personal life most people in Bulgaria or Alaska are much more informed than I, speaks only of my personal lack of interest in gossip - thank God for that - I don't know if I can take on more ways to waste my time;)
The same goes for food - all the advertising doesn't mean shit to me. My brain doesn't connect food to happiness... it does to beautiful things and women though, so I am a sucker for those.
But that was my point - it's within us, and marketing is only helping us express ourselves:)
50% more Chinese Tourists in Bulgaria
Potentially Defective Aluminum was used by All Car Manufacturers in Japan