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Up for Sale
Been busy with the house. Its not up for sale, privately to begin with but we are getting quotes for containers for transporting our house goods back to the UK. I was wondering does anyone know if an american computer will work in the UK. Still not sure were we will end up but we might rent a place near my brother in Penwortham to begin with. Off course this will be next year sometime. But its exciting just to be getting things going.

Depending on the age of your stuff, it might be fine, particularly if there's a power selector on the computer to switch between 115 and 240. Most newer systems don't have a problem with the frequency difference.

For anything that isn't voltage switchable, it might be ok if you get a 115 to 240 volt transformer with enough watts for all the peripherals. I suggest a query to the various manufacturers of the bits with motors (your hard drive, cooling fans, printer drive, etc.). I don't know if there would be a problem with the frequency difference. If the motors in the various devices are frequency sensitive, then runing at 5/6ths normal speed (50 Hz UK vs. 60 Hz in North America) may cause grief. Of course, customer and "fixit" support may be problematical if your system isn't a mainstream brand. Parts that are voltage sensitive, for 115Vac US machines, may be special order. You'd have to be sure any service provider knows it's a 115V machine, otherwise they might switch components that aren't compatible.

Whatever, DON'T try to use one of the cheapo "power converters" that Target, Fred Meyer, etc., sell. They will burn up anything that has a motor in it. If I remember correctly, a transformer with a 250 watts capacity will be about the size of four house bricks, weigh about 20 pounds and set you back 75 pounds or so.

All your TV-related stuff won't be compatible (the TV sets, the DVD player that connects to your TVs, your VCR, your camcorder), since not only are the voltages different, the way the TV builds the picture is different. The players sold in the UK have output drivers that make a PAL picture. UK is PAL, US/Canada is NTSC. Also, when you buy a replacement DVD player in the UK, make sure you get one that can play DVDs from any Zone. Although the recorded data on a DVD is digital and is not a function of the TV set's picture format, most commercially made DVDs (movies, TV programs, etc.) are coded for for the country in which they were sold. The USA and Canada are Region 1, UK and Europe are in Region 4. Privately made DVDs such as family videos don't get coded, but copies of commercial DVDs usually pick up the code they carried from the manufacturer. If you have a lot of video tapes, it might be woth getting a small TV with a built in video tape player that can run on 12V (car battery) or off 115V ac. If it's got 12V capability, it means the various motors aren't frequency sensitive. We did this for my family so they could look at our video tapes of the grandchildren. Before DVDs, there was no economical way to convert from NTSC to PAL.

Forget any mains-powered clock radios or other motor-driven stuff. With the 50 Hz/60 Hz difference, they won't run right. Ditto your vacuum cleaner and microwave oven. A transformer with the power capacity to run those would be more expensive than buying new items in the UK. Battery-powered stuff, like electric toothbrush, rechargeable shaver, etc., would be fine, with the rechargers plugged into a transformer-powered 115V outlet. Just be sure the transformer can handle everything being plugged in at the same time. Junk your hair dryer, curling iron and any other heavy power user (electric skillet, frying pan, deep frier, toaster). Cheaper to buy UK-market products than mess about with high-power transformers.

If you plan to take a lot of 115V stuff, I'd recommend taking a dozen or so US sockets, wall plates, conduit boxes, etc., and having a UK electrician set up a 115V mains in your house for your US gear.

We've had family try to take electrical stuff across the pond in both directions, and it's never been completely successful.

Hope this gives you some assistance.

Frank Damp (wife Eileen, nee Nixon)
Leyland resident 1941-1965, emigrated to the US in 1968,
retired to Anacortes, Washington State, USA in 1999.
Thanks Frank it's a big help. Both our computers are just under a year old but I will get in touch with the makers of them both. I think they are both Del. We will not be bringing any of our TV's with us or radio's they will end up with our children. I will just pick the furniture that I really like and the rest can go. I am glad you told me about the DVD's and VHS tapes. I spent alot of money having english ones converted to US so I will make sure to buy one that uses both. We have a friend that brought some of her English appliances with her and had to spend quite alot of money having her house fitted with coverter plugs. But seeing as she is not staying in the US it made sense.
Muffers, The drastic fall in computer prices in the last few months makes me wonder if it`s worth the hazzle and cost of shipping your units over here. Files that you don`t want to loose could be saved on a USB stick (or similar) and downloaded onto a new unit. Sorry if this `muddies the water`.
Avril, Think long and hard about taking anything back to the UK with you. Returning to the UK after having lived abroad, and especially leaving your children behind, is often referred to as the $2,000 fix.
That's about the cost of two one way tickets.
You may be better off storing eveything you have for six months before having it shipped. Six months is about what it takes to settle, or realize you can't settle.
Both of my brothers, after retiring, returned to England. They were both back in the USA within a year.
But good luck whatever you decide.
Avril, I am just being nosy, but what made you decide to come back to England ?
David , that was good advice you offered, didn't they used to call it the
$ 1,000 cure, these days it's probably considerably more .

Avril, again best wishes whatever you do !
Alan, Yes, you're quite correct about the cost but with the rising cost of living, I thought it would be a tad more expensive now.
Both my elder brother's did in fact move lock stock and barrel back to England, one to Blackpool and a little later the other one back to Grimsargh. Neither cold settle back to life in Lancashire, and Ron, now 85 yrs old, the eldest brother lost a huge amount of his savings because the £ collapsed after he had transfered his savings to Britain.
They are both back, and living near their respective families. Oddly enough, Bill, now 83, is living with his son in...Croyden, New Hampshire. That can't be too far from where Avril lives.
I always remember how homesick Doris was after we emigrated. There she was day after day all alone in a foreign country with our then young son while I was out working. We had promised each other on emigrating that we would 'give it two years' before we returned to Preston for at least a vacation. Of course by then we had our own apartment, Doris was driving, and friends had been established.
After only three days back in England Doris had decided she could no longer live back there. There was no-one more surprised than me when she told me that, and now she/we go back almost yearly, but we're always ready to get back home. Home now being here in California.
Shuffy.. I have been thinking about the reasons I want to come home. Easiest is just to list them and list the reasons why I dont want to stay in the US. I think people in the UK need to understand that those who came to the US in the 60's and bought a home and did not move are sitting pretty . But those who came later have a much harder struggle. I think you can say the same about people in the UK.
The US is not always the land of plenty that people would have you think it is. We came here close to the end of the 1980's we had three young children. All went to University. They did not get large grants for sports as many do. We had to pay on an average of $10,000 dollars a year for each one of them although they took out loans for and worked during the summer.They each did 4year courses. I would say each one of them now owes about $20,000 in loans. But we paid the rest of it. So our savings for retirement slipped during those years. We had health insurance and my husband had a good job. But if you remember during the CLINTON years or you may not know that many people were laid off in the defense business. My husband being one of them. So while some people were making out like bandits with investments we were struggling to keep our heads above water with three children in college and because we had a home we got no help from the government. So I must say when lots of people lost alot of money at the end of the 90's I did not feel sorry for them because they had been very greedy. My husband did enventually after a year and nearly 400 applications get a new job but we had to move to New Hampshire. David thats the one in the US. I know I am rambling but I am giving you an idea that not everyone in the US is rolling in money. David seems to have done very well I think he lives the life that many in the UK would want but I have to say that more of us live a different life. So when David returns back to the Uk I suppose he see's things alot different that I do. If both David and I were to write a diary of our lives you would see very different stories.
Another thing you need to remember is when people talk about the price of petrol most of you in the UK might use it for 30miles to and from work if that. Both my husband and son who live here in New Hampshire travel 60miles to and from work each day. It takes them both nearly an hour to get home and thats if the traffic is good. Now my list of reasons why I want to return home.

1) I have always wanted to come home I never settled I made do and did it for my family my husband is an American.
2) Family. Unlike lots on this chat site my family did not move with me they are still all back in the UK and my husbands live in Florida.
3) A Way of life that most of you in the UK take for granted. Catching a bus (I know many of you groan but what if someone took it way from you and you had none). Here in NH we dont have buses only in the cities.
4) Shopping. I am sick of massive supermarkets. I would love to pop into different types of shops for my foods, like the butchers or the cake shop and all that time getting exercise. Here if you do find shops that sell those types of foods they cost a fortune. They are for the rich.
5) Spring.... I think thats the season I miss the most. Birds singing. You have such a wealth of wildlife such a shame that you dont take better care of it. Here even in all the woods of New Hampshire I miss the birds I use to hear outside my Mothers house in Chester.
6) Independence. I think thats what I miss the most. Here if I want to go somewhere I have to wait for a ride. I use to drive in Rhode Island but here in New Hampshire the people drive like maniacs.
7)Not to worry about getting older and being put in an old folks home because I can no longer drive and my family live too far away to take care of me. And having worked in a nursing home here and seen it happen to people it really stuck with me all these year. They don't mean to do it but by the time your in your late 70's your children have become grandparents and they just can't fit you in so without a car you cannot get to the shops or the doctors. If you are lucky in the UK you can still be running around in your 80's and keeping yourself heathly in body and mind. My Mother did. She was 92 when she entered a nursing home. I cannot tell you how many older people who were well were put in homes in the US just because they had no one to help them. They are not the fortunate ones who move into these pricey retirement centres. It is so sad to see people who should no longer be driving in the US they can hardly walk they have canes and most look like they should not be driving but if you take it away from them they are done. During the past year I have read reports in the newspapers of old people in the US causing terrible accidents and even killing people because they should no longer be driving.
7)Lastly I am quite aware that things have changed since I left I know that there no longer exists that friendly community spirit that was there before I left but then it's the same here. But I will miss that. If I return to Chester I will have all my friends who are looking forward to seeing me.
8) If you say will I miss my children, yes I will but like I have said before our daughter lives in Arizona our son and only Grandchild live in Rhode Island and our other son will be moving to South Caroliner next year.
Lastly I would like to ask those that live abroad to give the reasons why they would not return home not just a broad answer but some details I think it would be interesting.
Avril; I wasn't trying to discourage you from moving back to Britain, I was passing on a suggestion about moving your furnishings over there as did my brothers, then had the cost of moving it all back.
There are pros and cons about living anywhere, and your own happiness, and peace of mind is the primary consideration.
Like you, my brother Bill who lives in Croydon, New Hampshire, USA, seems very dissatisfied with life in that area. He constantly rues the day he moved from his house in Lynchburg, Virginia. He moved shortly after his wife passed away.
New Hampshire is very rural, and if you have been used to living near the likes of Preston, or Chester, somewhat more vibrant than the sedate life in New Hampshire, I can see why you would yearn for home.
Have you checked the price of housing in or around Chester, one of my favorite English cities by the way ? Certainly if you find the price of housing in rural N. Hampshire expensive, I'm afraid you may be in for a severe shock with the price of housing....anywhere in Britain.
On the matter of job hunting, if your hubby is intending to work, it's not like Britain is bubbling over with job opportunities, would he, as an American, even get a permit to work ?? I know that whenever I return to England, my passport is stamped thus:

Leave To Enter For Six Months.
Employment And Recourse To Public Funds Prohibited

And I'm a British Passport carrying citizen.

But I'm sure all of this has been taken into account.

As for the reasons we wouldn't want to move back, well like you stated, we bought our house in 1968 and still live in it so we have no mortgage payment, we live in a year around mostly great weather area, our kids and their families are very close to us, the cost of living, although California is the second highest COL state, it is in my opinion well worth the added expence of living here. Although we don't use them, we do have a fairly good bus system, and for that matter the Metro Link rail system around the Greater Los Angeles area is well used. I don't have to mention the brilliant freeway system throughout the area...oh yes, sometimes bottle-necked, but for the most part, it can get you within a mile or so of where-ever you need to be.
As for education, every California resident is entitled to a free two year Community College education. Our local community college is Mt San Antonio College (Mt. SAC)

We both enjoy the big city atmosphere, so being in close proximity to Los angeles is fine for us.

Once again Avril, I wish you all the luck in the world with your new venture. God Bless.

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