They recently published data showing that new homes in Britain were smaller than those in France, Australia and the US.  Now, it’s not difficult to imagine that houses would be much larger in Australia and the US (room dimensions almost equal), but I was surprised to find that the British homes were smaller than the French ones as well.

I know that immigration and the populaton explosion has led to a housing shortage, so they have to put up a lot of homes quickly and squeeze them all in.  But, it’s a disservice to people when they have such cramped spaces.  And, they do away with unnecessary space.  A typical home has a lounge (sometimes referred to as the living room or the front room), kitchen, bathroom, and the bedrooms.  It’s no wonder they have that phrase “two up, two down”.

Not all homes are that cramped, I’m just referring to a lot of new builds.  Some may be lucky enough to have a dining room, and if they’re really lucky, they might have another cloakroom (toilet).  Most homes we’ve looked at have a small space in the kitchen for a dining table, or if the lounge is big enough, they will put the table there.  That’s what we’ve had to do for the past year, even though there’s barely enough room.  It’s also one reason why we’ve adopted the minimalist look.  We only have the ripped up sofa that was left behind, the piano and the dining table in that room.

We live in a bungalow but it feels like a flat (apartment).  It’s as big as the apartments we’ve lived in.  Our houses had living rooms, dining rooms, and most also had a family room.  Not only that, they all had basements.  Not all US homes have basements (some areas are just not good enough for a basement because of drainage issues).  However, for the most part, it’s taken for granted that they do.

Here, you will only find basements in older homes and there are not too many of those around.  Many of them have been converted, so that a mansion is split into four apartments, with the basement being one of them.  I remember reading an article some months ago about rich people renovating their homes rather than buying or building a new one.  Because of the lack of space, these people were moving downwards, building multiple underground levels.  So, why don’t they do that for new builds?  It would make sense that if you don’t have the space above ground, you would try to use the space underground.  And I don’t mean for them to use the basement to put the necessary rooms, just as additional space for whatever they might like.

It appears that there are loads of storage facilities that have cropped up.  These people must be making a killing because people lack space to store their stuff.  There are no attics and no basements.  Very few homes even have closets of any kind.  You have to buy wardrobes and cabinets.

I had meant to write about all the places we’ve been recently, but several things in the past couple of days changed my mind.  At least for now.

The first happened Monday morning when I went out to the clothes line to get a leo for my elder daughter to go to gymnastics.  That morning I was awaked by some noise outside which sounded like some metal being moved around.  It reminded me of the sound of moving metal dumbbell weights around on the ground.  I thought the farmer was doing some work outside.  When I got to the clothes line, I found two sheep eating outside the window of the bedroom.  One was making herself comfortable by lying on the ground as she ate.  They were around the rose bush and the plants we had in jars and pots around the little porch.  I frightened them and they ran towards the fence, but turned around and looked at me.  I went inside to wake my daughter but when we looked outside, they were gone.  However, I noticed that the sunflower which had taken us months to grow was uprooted.  My husband heard the commotion and came out.  We went to the living room window and saw that one jar was smashed.  It was the noise of the jars that I had heard in the morning.

My husband went out to inspect the damage and found the sheep again.  They had not gone far, probably just around the house and came back again.  They had eaten our chives and got into the carrots.  One of the sheep was on the ground again.  But when they saw him, they ran again.  Our daughter came out and they ran out our front gate.  My husband told her to shut it, but she came in without doing so.  When next they went out, the sheep were in again.  This time, my daughter shut the gate after they left.  As my husband went out with the girls, he was going to try and get the sheep back into the fields by moving them behind their gates; however, the gate at the top of the drive was open and they went that way.  He found them down by the main gates into the estate, but luckily, or unluckily, they veered off and went into the landlord’s yard.  We have seen the landlord shoo them off his yard previously, but he wouldn’t have wanted them out on the streets either.  We don’t know what became of them.  I know our landlord was busy with the electric guy because they came down to see our place and he was too distracted for me to mention the sheep.

Now, I know I mentioned using the sheep as our natural lawnmower, but we had managed to cut the grass with shears and now only the weeds are growing in between, so it was unnecessary for them to donate their services now.  Besides, they left a trail of poo on their way out the gate.  As I said previously, that was one downside to using sheep, so we had nixed the idea.  As the saying goes, “the grass is always greener on the other side”, and the sheep obviously believed it.  But, then again, the chives, sunflower and carrots were probably delicacies for them.