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montesquieu

Moving To Belfast?

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The wife is eying up an academic job that could be be perfect for her in her research field, at Queens in Belfast. She has tenure at a (slightly higher ranking) University of London college and we live in the S East, though neither of us have roots there. Oustanding mortgage is about £300k (on 10 year fix) but we have equity of maybe £250k or thereabouts. I'm 15 years away from retirement. There's no real pressure to move beyond my wife's wish to have access to specific teams & materials which are really big in her chosen field.

I could in theory move my job to Belfast as my company has activity there, though on my salary I'd stick out like a sore thumb in the local numbers (wages are much lower). Company might not even let me do it without taking a wage cut, but otherwise I'd certainly be vulnerable to the spreadsheet merchants looking for easy cost pruning. Would also reduce my wider job prospects (Thames Valley is where it's happening for my field, colleagues made redundant here usually find something in weeks).

Looking at what you get for your money house-wise we could get something equivalent to what we have now (large 4 bed converted bungalow in 1/3 acre with mature trees, nice area) and be close to mortgage-free, or we could have say £150k mortgage and live somewhere extremely nice/totally beyond our means in the S East, and pay off in half the time (say 5-7 years). I have no plans to retire so would keep on working - it would give me freedom though to do something more fun/interesting/risk taking.

Wife doesn't drive but current takes a taxi much of the time - she only goes in 3 days a week in teaching term, and I often pick her up in the evenings (I've run the numbers it's way cheaper than her learning to drive and then buy & run her own car). She'd do the same in Belfast.

I do worry though that we'd be stuck for a further move, as if we ever wanted to move away our budget would be a lot lower from selling up (though could be made up by saving as hard as we can for as long as we can). We have no roots in Ireland (N or S) any more than we have in Thames Valley. (The weather here is better though ... a consideration).

Questions for the Belfast lot:

  • What's the nicest places to live in taxi distance (say 10-12 miles) to Queens, on whatever side of the city has sensible traffic?
  • I am worried I'd miss out on cultural life (chamber concerts and so on). Our big thing is small-scale classical music (not opera or big orchestras which we know Belfast does have but it's not taste really). We're Wigmore Hall regulars.
  • Also slightly worried about lingering sectarianism so want to make sure and avoid areas where division is still an issue in day to day life. Where best to avoid?

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The wife is eying up an academic job that could be be perfect for her in her research field, at Queens in Belfast. She has tenure at a (slightly higher ranking) University of London college and we live in the S East, though neither of us have roots there. Oustanding mortgage is about £300k (on 10 year fix) but we have equity of maybe £250k or thereabouts. I'm 15 years away from retirement. There's no real pressure to move beyond my wife's wish to have access to specific teams & materials which are really big in her chosen field.

I could in theory move my job to Belfast as my company has activity there, though on my salary I'd stick out like a sore thumb in the local numbers (wages are much lower). Company might not even let me do it without taking a wage cut, but otherwise I'd certainly be vulnerable to the spreadsheet merchants looking for easy cost pruning. Would also reduce my wider job prospects (Thames Valley is where it's happening for my field, colleagues made redundant here usually find something in weeks).

Looking at what you get for your money house-wise we could get something equivalent to what we have now (large 4 bed converted bungalow in 1/3 acre with mature trees, nice area) and be close to mortgage-free, or we could have say £150k mortgage and live somewhere extremely nice/totally beyond our means in the S East, and pay off in half the time (say 5-7 years). I have no plans to retire so would keep on working - it would give me freedom though to do something more fun/interesting/risk taking.

Wife doesn't drive but current takes a taxi much of the time - she only goes in 3 days a week in teaching term, and I often pick her up in the evenings (I've run the numbers it's way cheaper than her learning to drive and then buy & run her own car). She'd do the same in Belfast.

I do worry though that we'd be stuck for a further move, as if we ever wanted to move away our budget would be a lot lower from selling up (though could be made up by saving as hard as we can for as long as we can). We have no roots in Ireland (N or S) any more than we have in Thames Valley. (The weather here is better though ... a consideration).

Questions for the Belfast lot:

  • What's the nicest places to live in taxi distance (say 10-12 miles) to Queens, on whatever side of the city has sensible traffic?
  • I am worried I'd miss out on cultural life (chamber concerts and so on). Our big thing is small-scale classical music (not opera or big orchestras which we know Belfast does have but it's not taste really). We're Wigmore Hall regulars.
  • Also slightly worried about lingering sectarianism so want to make sure and avoid areas where division is still an issue in day to day life. Where best to avoid?

Great to see someone eying up Belfast for a move. It's a great city, the area around queens is fantastic.

The nicest part of Belfast (IMHO) is around the Queen's area. Look at the Lisburn Road/Malone area. It's all South Belfast. Pretty much everywhere in Belfast is a 10-12 mile journey. It's a very small city.

I'm not sure about the small scale concerts but I'll have a talk to the missus, she's a pianist so will have a better idea of the scene. Maybe checkout the Belfast Music Society?

You'll have no trouble with sectarianism in South Belfast or indeed most of the city. You'll soon get a feel of the place.

One thing I would say is be careful about getting the hopes up on the Queen's jobs (I'm sure you wife is more that qualified and don't take this the wrong way). I have a few friends, PHD, Queen's post docs, 7+ years of research experience they still find it hard getting jobs in the university. I get the impression (perhaps wrongly) that jobs in higher education, like higher level public sector jobs here are perhaps "preselected" a little.

Anyway, best of luck. Maybe come over and visit for a few days. Stay in one of the nice B&Bs in South Belfast. You'll soon get a feel for the area.

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Area wise I'd go for Bangor - Gold coast its where a lot of the middle class moved during the troubles about 30 mins from memory from Belfast centre

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Hi, I moved here last summer from the West Country to take up an academic related post with no ties to the area - so do PM me if that would help.

I have found things quite different here from the West Country and England in general (though I'm originally from the North East of England, so the climate and a lot of the culture in the city itself hasn't come as too much of a shock), and it took a bit of adjusting, but there is a lot that's good - including a lot of live music in the city and also slightly further out, some of the events a little bit out of Belfast are the smaller scale ones that sound as if they might be the kind of thing you enjoy.

Most of South Belfast is very nice and green and leafy but the traffic does get a bit snarled up in the mornings and the end of the day (nothing compared to London). A lot of people do walk or cycle to the university, many people who live at the coast (Bangor etc) would get the train in, there's a station very close to Queen's.

Good luck, whatever happens! (Oh, and bring waterproofs.... ;)

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Thanks for the tips everyone. I'm originally from the west of Scotland so have some idea of the likely weather. We are definitely going to explore this further. Point taken on the likelihood of a 'stitch-up' it's a bit like that where I come from as well. Though last time this job came up she was tapped up to apply but had only just got the London job and wanted to give that a proper go. (The winner that time has just moved on elsewhere). So I would say it's probably a realistic prospect.

Opportunity to live by the sea and still be handy for the city centre really appeals btw.

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Personally would opt for South Belfast as the commute from Bangor to Queen's in the morning would be oppressive.

Train is certainly an option but I wouldn't want to taxi it.

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I second South Belfast but it's worth remembering that despite it's leafiness inner city South Belfast consists almost entirely of deprived council estates and run down student housing. With the exception of a handful of streets that would almost certainly exceed your budget (Mount Pleasant, Sans Souci, Lennoxvale- there really aren't that many) any gentlemans' residence has long since been absorbed into the University, whether for classrooms or more usually as student housing. What were once sizeable and well to do terraced houses have now been subdivided into crowded student digs. The student ghetto is renowned for the noisiness of it's neighbours, avoid living there if you're not interested in partying Monday to Thursday every week during term time. In any case only BTL investors actually buy these type of properties, it's almost all shared rental. The student ghetto would be roughly bounded by Botanic train station to the North, Ormeau Road to the East, Fane Street to the West and perhaps Malone Avenue & Loughview Road roundabout to the South. South of Malone Avenue there are loads of streets in between the Lisburn Road & Malone Road, that are very, very posh. This is the picture postcard image of South Belfast (Malone, etc) that is often talked about but rarely seen, more affordable properties are confined to the south side of Balmoral Avenue in Finaghy or the terraces on the west side of the Lisburn Road (though the latter borders with studentville). The Upper Ormeau area on the other side of the river Lagan is an honorary part of South Belfast and an increasingly desirable one at that

Your 12 mile radius of Queens is quite long and suggests (perhaps wrongly) that you want to move to a commuter town rather than the city itself. If you have your heart set on a large bungalow with a big garden then I would point you in that direction- Bangor, North Down coast, Lisburn and to a lesser extent Newtownabbey which is a suburb of North Belfast- all have a sizeable number of '70's bungalows. Shops and facilities are often sparse in the residential areas of these towns though and train stations aside it's a lifestyle based around car ownership. Subjectively I would say try to stay in Belfast unless buying in other towns is much cheaper. Bangor is probably too far out to be worthwhile, Holywood is close enough, as are the central parts of Lisburn. All three towns have the benefit of having a direct train to Botanic station (the closest to Queens). Belsize Road in Lisburn town might suit you, the adjacent Moss Road is similar in character but the preponderance of union jacks hanging from lamposts will likely put mainlanders like you off. The Aberdelghy Park area of bungalows by Lambeg train station (close to Belsize road) also might be of interest. The Bangor & Lisburn trains only run once every 30 minutes, and there aren't many halts within the city limits. Few people (in Belfast at least) wait half an hour for a train when two or three buses will pass them by in that time.

If you can wean your wife off the taxis it's worth noting that Belfast's Ormeau Road, Malone Road and to a lesser extent Lisburn Road all have direct buses to Queens University every ten minutes, though the Lisburn Road stop has a bit more of a walk to the main Queens campuses. If you're into suburban semis then how about something like this for 160k

http://www.propertynews.com/Property/Belfast/UPS11217-3-10064516/30-Glencregagh-Park/273113969/

About 7 minutes walk away from a bus stop, with a bus every ten or less minutes taking you direct to Queens (depending what department she's based in) in 15 minutes at the most. I suggest this house as although it's not as pleasant as the Ormeau Road (which has an urban village feel to it) it will probably be more affordable as it's on the other side of the dual carriageway.

The BT9/ BT10 equivalent would be somewhere like here

http://www.propertynews.com/Property/Belfast/ECSECS27503/59-Greystown-Avenue/273122730/

where the bus would be closer to your front door.

Of course if your wife is content to take the taxi long distances then that increases the options available to you. Your best bet is to tell us some features you're looking for and people here with local knowledge of Northern Ireland can point you in the right direction. So for example

1. what's your budget

2. desired housing type- three bedroom semi, four bedroom detached, smart council estate terrace, old two up two down (delete as appropriate)

3. Do you want an 'isolated' suburb/ town or do you put a premium on cheerful high streets, pubs that aren't dodgy, etc.

4. Would it bother you to live in a homogeneous catholic/ protestant area, as there's an awful lot of them about. As a scot you'd be safe but there will be a limit to how much flags and outward signs of sectarianism you will be willing to put up with.

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I did a similar move a while back. The standard of living difference between Belfast and London / SE is considerable.

If you're talking £250k equity and £150k mortgage for a budget around £400k, that will get you a decent 4-bed detached in BT9. That's the most desirable Belfast postcode, and furthermore much of it is walking distance to the university. The top end there is about as upmarket as Belfast property gets and some of the housing stock is pretty grandiose: it's about the only part of Northern Ireland where you'll see seven-figure price tags. Once you go below the Grand Designs level though, plenty of nice parts of Malone should be within your budget, eg http://www.propertynews.com/Property/Belfast/TRLTRL71725/28-Cleaver-Avenue/273580257/Page6 . You get a lot of academics round there. (I wouldn't be surprised if that one does end up going over the asking price BTW.) You won't get a quarter of an acre though, big plots are expensive round there.

Some of BT6 is very nice and your money will go further there than in BT9. This one in Ravenhill is ripe for the same kind of substantial extension that many of the houses in the area have had: http://www.propertynews.com/Property/Belfast/MCQMCQ0617/67-Ravenhill-Park/273582698/Page2 . You're still only a couple of miles from the university there, maybe half an hour's brisk walk.

Further out - in various directions you get to places like Finaghy, Carryduff, Lisburn, Holywood - your money will obviously go a lot further again. You really don't have to go very far in NI to get semi-rural, if you want a decent chunk of land. Holywood is an obvious choice, there's a decent rail link and some very nice sea-view real estate, but for that reason it's one of the pricier small towns.

The music and wider cultural scene really isn't bad for a provincial town. It's unfortunate that orchestral music isn't your bag because the Ulster Orchestra is really very good indeed - one of the better orchestras in the UK or Ireland in my view, and moreover the audience has a kind of affection and civic pride in the orchestra that you wouldn't find in London. There are a number of venues where you get recitals and chamber events - the Harty Room at the university is one (Michael McHale is giving a recital there tonight), Rosemary St church in central Belfast is another (last time I was there it was to hear Stephen Hough). You won't find anything resembling the Wigmore Hall though, clearly.

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What is a 'fake' lawyers letter anyway, and why would they need one? Can't Wonga just take people to court themselves? The amounts must be small enough that hiring lawyers would be marginal, cost wise?

Thanks for the input on this - was a wee bit academic for a while (pardon the pun) but the wife has now been shortlisted (total shortlist is three people so she has a fair chance, I would say quite a good one knowing what I know about the subject area and her reputation in it).

I guess budget is £350k-450k (we could afford the £450k but don't want to go that high unless we really feel we need to - it would be nice to have a smaller mortgage than we have now in Berkshire, which can be a bit of a strain).

As for what we want:

Looking for a detached (don't care if bungalow or any particular period) with a decent garden and a bit of greenery around and if possible some views (in Berkshire we have 1/3 acre and 11 very large mature trees at the rear boundary of the garden - it all feels more rural than the location really suggests).

As far as NI goes we are increasingly looking at the rural area around - she is finally persuaded of the need to learn to drive. I quite fancy some of the places we've spotted online either up around the coast north of Bangor, or around the Strangford Lough. (Though we only know either area from pictures at the moment - need to get over soon for a proper look about). I think we've ruled out central city. We both work from home a lot and need an office space each along with three bedrooms.

We lived in Somerset for over a decade and used to have the Mendips at the back door, a previous house in N Somerset was 5min from the beach (fantastic when the kids were small but the've flown the nest now). I do like views and am partial to loch/sea views in particular - I have fond memories of living in New Zealand right next to sea when I was working there 20+ years ago. We are both big into seafood and since Waitrose and Ocado haven't got to Northern Ireland yet we'll probably be hunting down independent buchers, fishmongers, organic grocers, farmers markets, like we did when we lived in Somerset. I guess that makes us sound a bit stuck up, we aren't really, we just like good food and a natural environment.

For all the South East/London area is supposed to have everything, I've never liked it - too crowded, too hectic and to be honest I've never warmed to the locals that much compared to the friends I made in Somerset and NZ (probably because too hectic, busy etc). The reason we are open to the move to NI is because I have a strong suspicion there's more of what we value in life there.

One last thing, I'm a musician and have played a bit of Scottish (& Irish) traditional music in the past (guitar, mandolin, banjo) ... would finding somewhere with a session be difficult in the areas we are looking at? Something I definitely miss in the SE.

Oh and in answer to the question on areas I'd really like to live (if possible) among people who go in for as little flag-waving as possible. I found the small number of parades of both sides in the West of Scotland that I grew up with irritating enough. I'm a practising Catholic and technically could count as 4th generation Irish if I was so minded, but my politics (in terms of Scotland for sure) are pro-union.

My sense is I'm probably most comfortable in a mixed area - certainly when I visit my company's Belfast office, people whose names are probably enough to identify their 'community' rub along perfectly well and have solid friendships outside of work - I'm sure t'was ever thus for many in NI, but I get a strong sense that the overwhelming majority want to put the past behind them.

In any case I fully intend to keep my mouth shut on anything related to subject as I'm sure there are experts aplenty and I fully admit my ignorance having not lived through any of it.

Edited by montesquieu

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We don't use rightmove in NI. Have a look at PropertyPal or PropertyNews.

Edited by 2buyornot2buy

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I wouldn't move there as the economy's so reliant on public sector - probably 70% plus and block grant is falling (hence the increased tensions - think "parades have doubled over last 5 years, which tells you something). I used to live in the south of the city and used to find it rather dull (Lisburn Road) - Belfast people drone on about how great the place is (tiresome!) but would far prefer Dublin as it's much more of an economic hub. The north can't compete with the south or Britain, economically, so you're in public sector land really. I'm on my way to Berlin as good things happening there at the moment.

If you head south out of Belfast you come across Saintfield, Crossgar and so on which are less tense - Newtownards and some villages around there I would avoid. Paisley set up his first church in Crossgar I think - Crossgar is mainly Catholic though, Saintfield Protestant, Downpatrick Catholic - North Ards Protestant, South Ards Catholic. The past is always with ya and much of those settlement patters date from Elizabethan (Eliz 1st) patterns (west Belfast was Catholic as they were coming from Tyrone and South Antrim and so on - from places that were incredibly tense during troubles. East Belfast protestant as the east - Bangor and so on - was where many of the English and Scottish settlers set up home after throwing out the natives.

Edited by gruffydd

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We don't use rightmove in NI. Have a look at PropertyPal or PropertyNews.

Norwegian group and Alan Partridge call.

Thx

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Just to say the wife got the job - it's taken a few days to agree terms but it seems we are now on our way.

Homing in on Bangor/Helen's Bay area, relatively expensive compared to most places but £400k-ish budget should get us something reasonably nice. Off next weekend for a proper look around.

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Just to say the wife got the job - it's taken a few days to agree terms but it seems we are now on our way.

Homing in on Bangor/Helen's Bay area, relatively expensive compared to most places but £400k-ish budget should get us something reasonably nice. Off next weekend for a proper look around.

Congratulations to your wife. I work in Queens university, and love living/working here. It's a joy to be able to stroll around botanic gardens or the surrounding area in general.

There's a little independent cinema beside Queens called the QFT that you might want to check out too.

Edited by JoeDavola

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Thought I'd report back on this .. was a bit of a shock to be honest.

I'm not a total stranger to NI, being originally from the West of Scotland which has some of the same backdrop if thankfully a lot less of the actual bother. I've been over quite a few times in the last 40 years, from childhood holidays on the north Antrim coast, to visits to Belfast for work (in recent years, admittedly usually no more than an overnight with taxis to and from City Airport).

I've been there this weekend looking at houses, which is a different kind of looking admittedly than what you see if you are over for a few meetings and drinks with colleagues or sunning yourself on holiday..

What has shocked me now I'm actually looking is the sheer number of flags, especially of the Loyalist variety, in whole areas it seems to be every lamp post and every other house. Not just in Belfast but in 'nice' areas like Bangor and even Holywood, and right up to the edges of the Malone and Lisburn Road areas. That and the bands of course, unavoidable on both Friday night and Saturday this week. The flags themselves are mainly the Union or Ulster flags but the number celebrating paramilitaries has really surprised, in these supposedly enlightened days.

Of course no-one would come to NI and expect life to be free of these things and I certainly didn't. But a casual or occasional visitor such as myself could only come to the conclusion that things have gone backwards in recent years. Maybe rose tinted glasses and all that but I just don't remember so many of the damn things. They are ugly, depressing and carry an undertone of menace that sits directly opposite to the PR of a 'Norn Iron' in the midst of a transformation to something more 'normal' in a wider UK context.

It's struck me quite forcibly and making me think twice about our move. I can only imagine if I had business investment to make what I'd think of it - I'd probably be right back on the plane with cheque book firmly in pocket.

WTF is going on? Quick sociology lesson please! (FWIW I don't think this is necessarily the work of 'idiots' whatever the stereotype there is something deeper going on here I suspect).

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Most people who live here are used to this activity although it has increased in recent years due to a dispute about flags on official buildings. It is mainly for a short period and normally (although not always) restricted to social housing estates and surrounding areas.

A lot of it goes unnoticed, due to familiarity, to local people although it gets hyped out of all proportion in the Media. For example, during the 4th July weekend in Chicago there were over 18murders, 80 people shot in one weekend. This didn't make world news but activity in Belfast, where I understand there were few if any injuries was broadcast across the world.

It is not helped by our political leaders who ensure that this is elevated to the top of the agenda every year.

I do worry how investors, who had perhaps convinced themselves over the earlier part of the year that NI was the place for them, react to all this. Perhaps because of the media coverage in the last few years its no longer a surprise to them. If Cerberus were here looking at their sites in East Belfast!

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This sub forum has always had a non political non sectarian basis - I think that still running 7 years after the crash is a measure of its success. There is right and wrong over here the same as any community. In other places it's not quite so overt.

Surely you're not referring to Glasgow, Europe's second most murderous city (the first being Riga, Latvia)? Three times as murderous as England at the last count.

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This sub forum has always had a non political non sectarian basis - I think that still running 7 years after the crash is a measure of its success. There is right and wrong over here the same as any community. In other places it's not quite so overt.

Apologies if I've managed (as an outsider) to cut across this. I'm not really attempting to apportion blame of any kind, just noting the impact on someone like me coming in not expecting it (or at least, the scale of it).

I'm sure it looks worse than it is (the violent crime numbers speak for themselves) - mentally at least I know I'm not in any real danger for the most part, and I'm sure many thousands of people go about their business every day without giving it much thought - but it is extremely off-putting if you aren't used to it.

Coming back and driving around Berkshire - where the odd flag you do see carries a somewhat different set of meanings - I'm really asking myself whether I need the mental and emotional grief.

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Apologies if I've managed (as an outsider) to cut across this. I'm not really attempting to apportion blame of any kind, just noting the impact on someone like me coming in not expecting it (or at least, the scale of it).

I'm sure it looks worse than it is (the violent crime numbers speak for themselves) - mentally at least I know I'm not in any real danger for the most part, and I'm sure many thousands of people go about their business every day without giving it much thought - but it is extremely off-putting if you aren't used to it.

Coming back and driving around Berkshire - where the odd flag you do see carries a somewhat different set of meanings - I'm really asking myself whether I need the mental and emotional grief.

No, I don't think many of us would dispute that.

We've had our divisions for quite a while - since the Reformation, really. Maybe before.

However, what's the future hold for England? I'd actually be quite pessimistic about the sizable population even in Berkshire, in places like Slough and Reading, who plainly despise the country which they've chosen to live in. Even High Wycombe close by now has a reputation for producing extremists. All this has happened in the short period of my adult life. Prior to the eighties the population was almost exclusively English - now, a significant minority are resentful and actively against English values.

i have to say i fear for the future of the country, and it was all so unnecessary.

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Well, neither the wife or I are English though she is from much further away than I am. Both of us have found England extremely welcoming, and one of its great blessings is that it's not 'in your face'. Having lived around the world, I think that the tolerance and fair mindedness of the English is actually remarkable.

I'm sure there are places like you mention, but the balance is rather different - social housing is on a much smaller scale than in NI (or indeed in Scotland, where I come from), houses in any decent locations having being sold off en masse years ago anyway while what remains is largely tucked out of sight. The bit of Berkshire we live in is leafy and 'nice' for miles around (four branches of Waitrose within 5-15min drive), and the schools rival the local private schools for exam results.

Extremism here is something I'm really not fussed about. Maybe it's just too easy for me to avoid seeing it (and therefore being forced to think about it), but in fact it's the inability to avoid seeing it that's putting me off Belfast - the problem is, it's everywhere (almost literally), right up to the doorstep of the nice bits. And it's quite unsettling for an outsider.

What Berkshire doesn't have is much of a sense of community, at least for an incomer - it's very atomised - and the sort of cultural activity we enjoy is something that generally happens an hour away in London, or maybe Oxford (also an hour away). This is the down side of middle class English life, famously eulogised by Margaret Thatcher - there is no sense of society, only people and their families getting on with stuff. There's plenty of money but it's all a bit philistine, inward looking, 'comfortable'. (As well as a bit too hectic and busy on the roads and trains for good mental health!). But I'm not sure I'm quite ready to trade philistine for 'edgy', not when it means paintings of paramilitaries looking down from buildings and 18ft walls between housing estates.

You might all be used to this, but I was honestly expecting things to have got easier over the years, instead, reading up, I find there are more miles of 'peace' walls than before, band memberships at record levels, more parades than ever, and way more flags than I've ever seen on previous visits. I'm not sure what all this signifies but it doesn't seem to me like a society on the mend.

We have taken the decision to cancel the move, pending a rethink on our priorities. It may be we wait a few years and go somewhere else entirely. Somewhere more like Belfast, perhaps, but without the down sides. And it's been quite a relief to take that decision.


However, what's the future hold for England? I'd actually be quite pessimistic about the sizable population even in Berkshire, in places like Slough and Reading, who plainly despise the country which they've chosen to live in. Even High Wycombe close by now has a reputation for producing extremists. All this has happened in the short period of my adult life. Prior to the eighties the population was almost exclusively English - now, a significant minority are resentful and actively against English values.

i have to say i fear for the future of the country, and it was all so unnecessary.

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I have lived in Edinburgh , Glasgow , London and Belfast i the last 10 years+. I am not going to say Belfast is my favourite city out of the four but I enjoy my time here. We live in South Belfast.

As well as in Belfast I feel very welcome down in Fermanagh where we have family and often head to Portstewart aswell.

"Oustanding mortgage is about £300k (on 10 year fix) but we have equity of maybe £250k or thereabouts"

£300? 400? 500? k will get you a lot of property in a nice area like South Belfast etc where 99.9% of the people will be very friendly!

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