TRIVIA: Practices that are peculiar to the UK

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najaB

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That's why I chose my words carefully although I've just found some fairly recent studies which suggest it is more than 30%.
The issue with a lot of studies (and creationism generally) is that they often conflate abiogenesis with evolution. There are a fair number of creationists who have no problem with evolution (the change in phenotypes over time to adapt to environmental pressures) but who reject abiogenesis.

Unfortunately, depending on how the question is framed, they'll all be lumped together in the "believes God created the world" category.

I know anecdote isn't the singular of data, but I know several people who believe in God, and that he created the world who also accept that species change over time. I don't know any young Earth, Noah's flood, Adam and Eve as a literal narrative types.
 

Bletchleyite

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With regard to the post about our "island" identity I find the Netherlands very often looks a bit like the UK in places, most notably because they are, like us, primarily house rather than flat dwellers.

One reason residential areas in say Germany look very different is that you have large detached houses and blocks of flats, whereas in Dutch residential areas that most British thing, the terraced house, is there in droves.

OK, the UK has hills, but if you're somewhere like East Anglia or the West Lancashire plain it doesn't.
 

Bletchleyite

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we have downstairs toilets tho.
Many UK houses do now as well, certainly newer ones where I think it is part of the accessibility requirements (not so much for those living there as for visitors).

Another obvious difference is European style "lean and turn" windows which are rare in the UK (though you do get them, and if I had to replace mine I would fit them), often accompanied by shutters which you pretty much never get in the UK, and Dutch houses also seem to be built higher (i.e. higher ceilings).
 

Struner

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I well remember how surprised I was as a youngster when I was told to go upstairs to the bathroom. & indeed, there it was, the pot next to the tub (& carpet tiles). Our teacher of English never told us about this. Even though he could be quite down to earth. :lol: Great fun he was. But perhaps he just wanted us to find out by ourselves. Wouldn’t put it past him. :E
 

Bletchleyite

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I well remember how surprised I was as a youngster when I was told to go upstairs to the bathroom. & indeed, there it was, the pot next to the tub (& carpet tiles). Our teacher of English never told us about this. Even though he could be quite down to earth. :lol: Great fun he was. But perhaps he just wanted us to find out by ourselves. Wouldn’t put it past him. :E
In Dutch houses is it only downstairs, then? Does that not cause accidents as half asleep people stumble down the stairs?

That said there are older terraced houses in the UK where it's downstairs due to being added later as an extension - this is very common in Lancaster, for one. In newer houses the bathroom (with sink and bath) are upstairs, and there is usually a smaller room with toilet and small sink downstairs.
 

Struner

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Generally only downstairs yes. Perhaps no need to go down in the middle of the night. & when you’re ill use a chamberpot? Somebody will have to look after you anyway.
Also, those houses will rather have a shower than a bath. Fairly roomy showers though, so you can use them together.
 

AY1975

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With regard to the post about our "island" identity I find the Netherlands very often looks a bit like the UK in places, most notably because they are, like us, primarily house rather than flat dwellers.

One reason residential areas in say Germany look very different is that you have large detached houses and blocks of flats, whereas in Dutch residential areas that most British thing, the terraced house, is there in droves.
Yes, I'd say people in most countries in mainland Europe, apart from the Netherlands, tend to be flat dwellers rather than house dwellers. At least in the major cities living in a flat is the norm in France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and central and eastern Europe, for example.

Another difference between the UK and mainland Europe, which I guess is at least partly linked to that, is that home ownership is more common in the UK, whereas in many other European countries lifelong renting is the norm. Again I get the impression that owning one's own home is more widespread in the Netherlands than in most of the rest of Europe, though.

I would guess that home ownership versus renting is partly to do with houses versus flats, and partly to do with the UK being more of a credit society whereas most other European countries are more of a cash society. The Netherlands seems to be a mixture of the two, though: home ownership is more common than elsewhere in Europe but credit cards aren't used anywhere near as much in NL as in the UK.
 

AY1975

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Generally only downstairs yes. Perhaps no need to go down in the middle of the night. & when you’re ill use a chamberpot? Somebody will have to look after you anyway.
Also, those houses will rather have a shower than a bath. Fairly roomy showers though, so you can use them together.
I have Dutch friends who live in a house with a downstairs toilet and a second toilet in the bathroom upstairs.
 

AY1975

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The Netherlands seem to have letter-boxes like we do, although they are often mounted in the wall next to the door rather than in the door.
Yes, although I believe that wall- or door-mounted letter boxes in the Netherlands are usually only used to deliver newspapers and mail is still placed in a separate external mail box.
 

Struner

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Yes, although I believe that wall- or door-mounted letter boxes in the Netherlands are usually only used to deliver newspapers and mail is still placed in a separate external mail box.
In NL there is no need to have an external mailbox unless your front door is over 9m (I think it’s nine) from the public roadway or from a place that can be reached by car.
 

TheSeeker

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Another obvious difference is European style "lean and turn" windows which are rare in the UK (though you do get them, and if I had to replace mine I would fit them), often accompanied by shutters which you pretty much never get in the UK, and Dutch houses also seem to be built higher (i.e. higher ceilings).
Our house here in Belgium has these style windows and roller shutters. Almost every time we have a visitor from the UK something is knocked off the window sill or one of the shutters gets stuck locked up or down. Last time it was my sister who broke the roller shutter, people don't seem to have the habit of using them. I took some pictures of the house when we moved in and an old friend in Wales commented "Oh no, you must be in a high crime area" when we're not at all. Shutters usually just come by default.

After working in the Netherlands quite a bit and staying with friends there I notice they really don't like curtains and you can walk down the street seeing house after house of families eating their even meal or watching TV. I always thought of it as Lego Land as all buildings and especially houses seem to be arranged into neat little no-through roads and 20% smaller than everywhere else. A friends flat in Den Haag was built like a schooner with very steep curving stairs, tiny treads and a derick over the front to lift the furniture in through the window. The whole thing creaked in the wind like a sailing ship!
 

Struner

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A friends flat in Den Haag was built like a schooner with very steep curving stairs, tiny treads and a derick over the front to lift the furniture in through the window. The whole thing creaked in the wind like a sailing ship!
Ladies first, just not when going upstairs. :rolleyes: That’s a traditional custom in NL. :E
 

Tetchytyke

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I would guess that home ownership versus renting is partly to do with houses versus flats, and partly to do with the UK being more of a credit society whereas most other European countries are more of a cash society.
It's mostly to do with rental market deregulation.

No other country in Europe has been stupid/corrupt enough to flog off all the social housing for massive discounts, and to pretty much abolish any form of regulation in the private rented sector.

The son of the Tory housing minister responsible for most of the mess now owns at least 40 ex-council flats in London. Convenient, that. (Source: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.mi...uy-housing-shame-third-ex-council-1743338.amp)

Also, nowhere else in Europe can your landlord boot you out with two months' notice, and for no reason.

If you rent you have an extremely insecure life. THAT is why people don't rent.
 

AY1975

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Yes, and holding a referendum about something that has already happened to ask whether it should have happened rather than before it happens (as with the 1975 EEC membership referendum), and only requiring a simple majority of votes cast for a major constitutional change (as with the 2016 Brexit referendum, although to be fair the 1975 ref also only required a simple majority. Both the 1975 and 2016 referendums were technically only advisory but the governments of the day said they would abide by the result).

AFAIK referendums in Ireland are also generally done on a simple majority basis, but at least they have a more sophisticated system in place to ensure that the voters are properly informed about the issues involved. Most other countries would require some form of minimum threshold to trigger a constitutional change, such as 40% or 50% of eligible voters, or even a supermajority of say 60, 65 or 66% either of votes cast or of all eligible voters. In Australia, constitutional changes require a majority of votes both countrywide and in a majority of States. Similarly, I believe that in Switzerland a majority of votes both countrywide and in a majority of Cantons is required for such a change.

Another thing that is peculiar to the UK (and a small handful of other countries) is not having a proper codified constitution. This means that the Government and parliament are (in theory) free to amend our uncodified constitution at will, and that there is no clearly defined procedure for making amendments to our constitution.
Two other peculiarities of the UK political system are having devolved governments for some but not all parts of the UK (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London but not the rest of England, either England-wide or for the English regions) and having a mixture of two-tier and single-tier local government in England (Scotland and Wales have had unitary authorities since the 1990s, but some areas of England have changed to unitary councils while other areas still have the traditional two-tier system of county and district or borough councils or three-tier if you also include the town and parish councils).

I seem to recall that when the Tories were last in power in the 1990s under John Major they wanted to change to unitary authorities everywhere in the UK. Since then the unitary structure has gradually been extended to more areas of England but to this day it has never been implemented everywhere in the country.
 

TheSeeker

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while other areas still have the traditional two-tier system of county and district or borough councils or three-tier if you also include the town and parish councils
This brings up the question of administration in the UK. Here in Belgium if I want to renew my ID card, passport, driving license, ask for planning permission, copy of birth certificate etc. I just walk to the town hall. Even if there things are often dealt with centrally behind the scenes the "human face" of the state is within walking distance and it is a real person.

One other thing just came to mind. It's very easy here to block the street for an event. For an annual street market or even just a large delivery or skip outside your house. Anyone, individuals or community groups can ask the town hall to close the street to vehicles. During the world cup this happens a lot, especially in the Portuguese area of Brussels where there is one big street party.

As far as I can remember this has only happened once in my home town for the 1977 Silver Jubilee.
 

Bletchleyite

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This brings up the question of administration in the UK. Here in Belgium if I want to renew my ID card, passport, driving license, ask for planning permission, copy of birth certificate etc. I just walk to the town hall. Even if there things are often dealt with centrally behind the scenes the "human face" of the state is within walking distance and it is a real person.
The UK is not like that and hasn't been for a very long time, if it ever was. Post offices have tended to deal with many of those administrative matters.
 

najaB

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This brings up the question of administration in the UK. Here in Belgium if I want to renew my ID card, passport, driving license, ask for planning permission, copy of birth certificate etc. I just walk to the town hall. Even if there things are often dealt with centrally behind the scenes the "human face" of the state is within walking distance and it is a real person.
The UK is not like that and hasn't been for a very long time, if it ever was. Post offices have tended to deal with many of those administrative matters.
You can pretty much kiss the idea of dealing with any of those face-to-face unless you're willing to pay for the privilege. It'll either be a (usually poorly-designed) website or waiting on hold for way too long to speak with someone in a contact centre who, when you eventually get through, will likely need to transfer you to "another department" (repeat ad naseum).
 

36270k

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I wasn't doubting that the Irish managed it... more that the UK councils would struggle with it! I guess if the funding was available private contractors would happily turn out to do them all in one weekend :p
In rural Southern Ireland you have to guess from the age of the sign whether it is Km's or miles.
 

Meerkat

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You can pretty much kiss the idea of dealing with any of those face-to-face unless you're willing to pay for the privilege. It'll either be a (usually poorly-designed) website or waiting on hold for way too long to speak with someone in a contact centre who, when you eventually get through, will likely need to transfer you to "another department" (repeat ad naseum).
Personally I have found government websites surprisingly well set up and easy to use, and their call centres better than most.
 

Bletchleyite

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Personally I have found government websites surprisingly well set up and easy to use, and their call centres better than most.
Gov.uk is genuinely excellent. I also know someone who works for that and does a fair bit of their concept and design work...it does seem I have quite a few friends in high places when I think about it :D
 

najaB

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and their call centres better than most.
I hope you never have to try and trace a passport application then...

Edit: To expand on this point, it was pretty much three years ago so things may have changed by now but my experience was frustrating beyond belief. Having paid for the expedited seven day service my passport hadn't arrived after two weeks. When called to find out what happened I had to give all the necessary details (name, address, application number) to then be passed through to the trace team. The phone rang for about six times and then the line went dead.

Repeated this three times.

On the fourth time I asked what was going on and it was explained to me that they (the frontline advisor) can't (or weren't allowed to) call the trace team to speak with them, and that once they transferred a call the system would drop the call if there was no answer!

In the end it took six or seven attempts to find out what was happening.
 
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Meerkat

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Gov.uk is genuinely excellent. I also know someone who works for that and does a fair bit of their concept and design work...it does seem I have quite a few friends in high places when I think about it :D
I guess it helps that they have little branding, don’t care about clicks too much, and aren’t trying to sell you anything, but .gov.uk sites are wonderfully clearly laid out and logical to use.
 

najaB

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I guess it helps that they have little branding, don’t care about clicks too much, and aren’t trying to sell you anything, but .gov.uk sites are wonderfully clearly laid out and logical to use.
Gov.uk sites are generally okay, but the mess of sites that they replaced are/were terrible.

Government Gateway ring any bells?
 

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