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Hannah Hauxwell

  • Posted by tim
  • 27 November 2008

Hannah Hauxwell.

Some time ago I stumbled across a lady who came into the publics eye in whilst living a solitary existence in the harsh elemental territory of North Yorkshire. Her residence was without running water, electricity or gas and was known to the few inhabitants of the are as Low Birk Hatt Farm.

Hannah who was born in 1926 had her first appearance in the media with a commisioned feature in the April  6th 1970 Yorkshire Post entitled “how to be happy on £170 a year.”
Her second came three years later when she appeared on the Yorkshire TV funded ITV Documentary entitled “Too Long a Winter” which was produced by Barry Cockroft. The program chronicled the almost unendurable conditions of farmers in the High Pennines in winter where Hannah was resident.

At this time the 46 year old spinster lived and toiled alone in the dilapidated 80 acre farm which she had run by herself since she was 35 following the deaths of her parents and uncle.

With no electricity or running water and struggling to survive on £280 a year, life was a constant battle against poverty and hardship, especially in the harsh Pennine winters where she had to work outside tending her few cattle in ragged clothes in temperatures well below freezing.

It was Hannah’s spirit, her gentleness and humility, that gripped not only a nation but, as the documentary was syndicated, parts of Europe too. So much so that after the documentary was first screened Yorkshire TV's phone line was jammed for three days with viewers wanting to find out more and help her.

Over the next twenty years her life was transformed. A local factory raised money to fund getting electricity to Low Birk Hatt Farm and she continued to receive thousands of letters and generous donations from well-wishers around the world.

Almost two decades after Too Long a Winter, the same TV crew returned to her farm to catch up with Hannah. The second documentary, A Winter Too Many, saw that Hannah had a little more money, which she had invested in a few more cows. The crew followed her to London where she was guest of honour at the 'Women of the Year' Gala.

Out of the spotlight her back-breaking work on the farm continued and each winter became harder for her to endure. With her health and strength slowly failing she had to make a heart-rending decision: to sell her family farm and the animals she adored and move into a warm cottage in a nearby village.

Both programmes about this extraordinary Daleswoman have been put on a single DVD, Hannah Hauxwell's Winter Tales. Barry Cockcroft also took her around Europe and to New York for further documentaries.

In January 2008 she was still living in the village of Cotherstone, less than five miles (8 km) from Low Birk Hatt Farm.

A new book 'Hannah Hauxwell - 80 Years in the Dales' (W.R. Mitchell) is due for publication soon.

A new DVD 'Hannah Hauxwell - An Extraordinary Life' featuring 'Too Long A Winter', 'A Winter Too Many' and 'Innocent Abroad' has been published.

please click below to read the rest of the article

In March 2007 Paul Jeeves in the Yorkshire Post got this interview with Hannah

EXCLUSIVE: Hannah Hauxwell at 80 talks of her life in village and admits a return visit to isolated farm would be too painful
Her simple life running an isolated Dales farm on her own provided a glimpse into a world that many thought had long past.

With no electricity or gas and the only source of water from a stream, Hannah Hauxwell was the country woman in gumboots and a Harris tweed jacket who found a special place in the hearts of millions.

Almost 35 years since a television documentary gave the world an insight into her life in the Pennines, Hannah Hauxwell has made her home in a village less than five miles away from Low Birk Hat farm.

But for the last 18 years since she moved out of the farmhouse on the edge of the Blackton reservoir in Teesdale her time there remains nothing more than a memory.

Sitting on a rickety chair in the kitchen of her modest semi-detached cottage where she now lives in Cotherstone, Miss Hauxwell admits a return to Low Birk Hat farm would prove too painful.

She said: "I do not ask about it; I do not want to know. It is understandable that some people would want to know what has happened up there and might not be able to keep away.

"They say never is a long time, but I have no plans on going back. The memories and ties are strong, too strong."

As she approaches her 81st birthday, which will fall on Yorkshire Day on August 1, Miss Hauxwell remains unfazed by the fame that came with the documentary, Too Long a Winter, after it was first screened in 1973.

The Yorkshire Television series proved such an inspiration that fans have travelled from as far afield as Australia and New Zealand to meet Miss Hauxwell over the intervening years.

However, she first came to prominence following a Yorkshire Post article on April 6, 1970, which detailed her humble existence under the headline, "How to be happy on £170 a year".

Miss Hauxwell took over the running of the farm at 35 after her parents and then her uncle passed away.

For almost 30 years she worked the farm, which sits 1,000ft above sea level, with a small herd of cattle, enduring harsh winters and relying on the promise of the stunning views across Teesdale to see her through until spring.

She said: "I existed during winter and truly lived during the summer. People always think that I was happy there, but it was not always the best of times. I was not always the happiest person in the world.

"I muddled on and I didn't rely too much on possess-ions; I cut my cloth accord-ing to my needs. But I think I showed a different slant on life, and that's what captured people's imaginations. These days there seems to be such a reliance on material things; it's all about keeping up with Joneses. I do not blame or begrudge people if they want nice things, but these things are not always what they really want."

A fall six years ago when she tripped on flagstones left her with a broken hip, but she continues to live on her own and is able to walk with the aid of two sticks when she ventures outside.

A radio, which was one of her few luxuries up at Low Birk Hat, remains a constant in Miss Hauxwell's life, although she now favours Classic FM instead of the BBC's revamped Radio 2.

She passes her days sewing, listening to the radio and playing the organ, although she admits having to halt her love of reading to preserve her eyesight for embroidery work.

She has a group of close friends, many of whom came to meet her after the docum-entary was screened, and is planning her annual trip to Sedbergh in Cumbria to see the Appleby horse fair.

Miss Hauxwell, who has never married, admits her time in Cotherstone – in County Durham since Yorkshire's boundaries were redrawn in 1974 – has given her a new lease of life. She was only too aware that she could not run Low Birk Hat forever, but she cannot disguise her love of the place almost 20 years after leaving.

She said: "There are advantages now; I have got some good neighbours and the shops are nearer. This is my home and where my body and possessions are, but my heart and soul will always be up on the Dales.

"I have often said I was, still am and always will be a plain country woman, and proud to be a plain country woman."

Where we Live / Source-CIA World Factbook

  • Posted by tim
  • 20 November 2008
Introduction United Kingdom
As the dominant industrial and maritime power of the 19th century, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy and in advancing literature and science. At its zenith, the British Empire stretched over one-fourth of the earth's surface. The first half of the 20th century saw the UK's strength seriously depleted in two World Wars and the Irish republic withdraw from the union. The second half witnessed the dismantling of the Empire and the UK rebuilding itself into a modern and prosperous European nation. As one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council, a founding member of NATO, and of the Commonwealth, the UK pursues a global approach to foreign policy; it currently is weighing the degree of its integration with continental Europe. A member of the EU, it chose to remain outside the Economic and Monetary Union for the time being. Constitutional reform is also a significant issue in the UK. The Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, and the Northern Ireland Assembly were established in 1999, but the latter was suspended until May 2007 due to wrangling over the peace process.
Geography United Kingdom
Western Europe, islands including the northern one-sixth of the island of Ireland between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, northwest of France
Geographic coordinates:
54 00 N, 2 00 W
Map references:
total: 244,820 sq km 
land: 241,590 sq km 
water: 3,230 sq km 
note: includes Rockall and Shetland Islands
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Oregon
Land boundaries:
total: 360 km 
border countries: Ireland 360 km
12,429 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm 
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm 
continental shelf: as defined in continental shelf orders or in accordance with agreed upon boundaries
temperate; moderated by prevailing southwest winds over the North Atlantic Current; more than one-half of the days are overcast
mostly rugged hills and low mountains; level to rolling plains in east and southeast
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: The Fens -4 m 
highest point: Ben Nevis 1,343 m
Natural resources:
coal, petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, lead, zinc, gold, tin, limestone, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, potash, silica sand, slate, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 23.23% 
permanent crops: 0.2% 
other: 76.57% (2005)
Irrigated land:
1,700 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
160.6 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 11.75 cu km/yr (22%/75%/3%) 
per capita: 197 cu m/yr (1994)
Natural hazards:
winter windstorms; floods
Environment - current issues:
continues to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (has met Kyoto Protocol target of a 12.5% reduction from 1990 levels and intends to meet the legally binding target and move toward a domestic goal of a 20% cut in emissions by 2010); by 2005 the government reduced the amount of industrial and commercial waste disposed of in landfill sites to 85% of 1998 levels and recycled or composted at least 25% of household waste, increasing to 33% by 2015
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling 
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
lies near vital North Atlantic sea lanes; only 35 km from France and linked by tunnel under the English Channel; because of heavily indented coastline, no location is more than 125 km from tidal waters
People United Kingdom
60,943,912 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 16.9% (male 5,287,590/female 5,036,881) 
15-64 years: 67.1% (male 20,698,645/female 20,185,040) 
65 years and over: 16% (male 4,186,561/female 5,549,195) (2008 est.)
Median age:
total: 39.9 years 
male: 38.8 years 
female: 41 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.276% (2008 est.)
Birth rate:
10.65 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
10.05 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
2.17 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female 
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female 
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female 
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female 
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 4.93 deaths/1,000 live births 
male: 5.49 deaths/1,000 live births 
female: 4.34 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.85 years 
male: 76.37 years 
female: 81.46 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.66 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.2% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
51,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 500 (2003 est.)
noun: Briton(s), British (collective plural) 
adjective: British
Ethnic groups:
white (of which English 83.6%, Scottish 8.6%, Welsh 4.9%, Northern Irish 2.9%) 92.1%, black 2%, Indian 1.8%, Pakistani 1.3%, mixed 1.2%, other 1.6% (2001 census)
Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 71.6%, Muslim 2.7%, Hindu 1%, other 1.6%, unspecified or none 23.1% (2001 census)
English, Welsh (about 26% of the population of Wales), Scottish form of Gaelic (about 60,000 in Scotland)
definition: age 15 and over has completed five or more years of schooling 
total population: 99% 
male: 99% 
female: 99% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 16 years 
male: 16 years 
female: 17 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
5.6% of GDP (2005)
Government United Kingdom
Country name:
conventional long form: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; note - Great Britain includes England, Scotland, and Wales 
conventional short form: United Kingdom 
abbreviation: UK
Government type:
constitutional monarchy
name: London 
geographic coordinates: 51 30 N, 0 10 W 
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time) 
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October 
note: applies to the United Kingdom proper, not to its overseas dependencies or territories
Administrative divisions:
England: 34 two-tier counties, 32 London boroughs and 1 City of London or Greater London, 36 metropolitan counties, 46 unitary authorities 
two-tier counties: Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon, Dorset, Durham, East Sussex, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, North Yorkshire, Northamptonshire, Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Shropshire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Sussex, Wiltshire, Worcestershire 
London boroughs and City of London or Greater London: Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston upon Thames, Lambeth, Lewisham, City of London, Merton, Newham, Redbridge, Richmond upon Thames, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth, Westminster 
metropolitan counties: Barnsley, Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Bury, Calderdale, Coventry, Doncaster, Dudley, Gateshead, Kirklees, Knowlsey, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, Oldham, Rochdale, Rotherham, Salford, Sandwell, Sefton, Sheffield, Solihull, South Tyneside, St. Helens, Stockport, Sunderland, Tameside, Trafford, Wakefield, Walsall, Wigan, Wirral, Wolverhampton 
unitary authorities: Bath and North East Somerset, Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Bracknell Forest, Brighton and Hove, City of Bristol, Darlington, Derby, East Riding of Yorkshire, Halton, Hartlepool, County of Herefordshire, Isle of Wight, City of Kingston upon Hull, Leicester, Luton, Medway, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, North East Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire, North Somerset, Nottingham, Peterborough, Plymouth, Poole, Portsmouth, Reading, Redcar and Cleveland, Rutland, Slough, South Gloucestershire, Southampton, Southend-on-Sea, Stockton-on-Tees, Stoke-on-Trent, Swindon, Telford and Wrekin, Thurrock, Torbay, Warrington, West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead, Wokingham, York 
Northern Ireland: 26 district council areas 
district council areas: Antrim, Ards, Armagh, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Banbridge, Belfast, Carrickfergus, Castlereagh, Coleraine, Cookstown, Craigavon, Derry, Down, Dungannon, Fermanagh, Larne, Limavady, Lisburn, Magherafelt, Moyle, Newry and Mourne, Newtownabbey, North Down, Omagh, Strabane 
Scotland: 32 unitary authorities 
unitary authorities: Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee City, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, City of Edinburgh, Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow City, Highland, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Moray, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Orkney Islands, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Shetland Islands, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, The Scottish Borders, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian 
Wales: 22 unitary authorities 
unitary authorities: Blaenau Gwent; Bridgend; Caerphilly; Cardiff; Carmarthenshire; Ceredigion; Conwy; Denbighshire; Flintshire; Gwynedd; Isle of Anglesey; Merthyr Tydfil; Monmouthshire; Neath Port Talbot; Newport; Pembrokeshire; Powys; Rhondda, Cynon, Taff; Swansea; The Vale of Glamorgan; Torfaen; Wrexham
Dependent areas:
Anguilla, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands
England has existed as a unified entity since the 10th century; the union between England and Wales, begun in 1284 with the Statute of Rhuddlan, was not formalized until 1536 with an Act of Union; in another Act of Union in 1707, England and Scotland agreed to permanently join as Great Britain; the legislative union of Great Britain and Ireland was implemented in 1801, with the adoption of the name the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921 formalized a partition of Ireland; six northern Irish counties remained part of the United Kingdom as Northern Ireland and the current name of the country, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, was adopted in 1927
National holiday:
the UK does not celebrate one particular national holiday
unwritten; partly statutes, partly common law and practice
Legal system:
based on common law tradition with early Roman and modern continental influences; has nonbinding judicial review of Acts of Parliament under the Human Rights Act of 1998; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); Heir Apparent Prince CHARLES (son of the queen, born 14 November 1948) 
head of government: Prime Minister James Gordon BROWN (since 27 June 2007) 
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the prime minister 
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually the prime minister
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament consists of House of Lords (618 seats; consisting of approximately 500 life peers, 92 hereditary peers, and 26 clergy) and House of Commons (646 seats since 2005 elections; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms unless the House is dissolved earlier) 
elections: House of Lords - no elections (note - in 1999, as provided by the House of Lords Act, elections were held in the House of Lords to determine the 92 hereditary peers who would remain there; elections are held only as vacancies in the hereditary peerage arise); House of Commons - last held 5 May 2005 (next to be held by May 2010)
election results: House of Commons - percent of vote by party - Labor 35.2%, Conservative 32.3%, Liberal Democrats 22%, other 10.5%; seats by party - Labor 355, Conservative 198, Liberal Democrat 62, other 31; seats by party in the House of Commons as of 4 June 2008 - Labor 351, Conservative 192, Liberal Democrat 63, Scottish National Party/Plaid Cymru 9, Democratic Unionist 9, Sinn Fein 5, other 17 
note: in 1998 elections were held for a Northern Ireland Assembly (because of unresolved disputes among existing parties, the transfer of power from London to Northern Ireland came only at the end of 1999 and has been suspended four times, the latest occurring in October 2002 and lasting until 8 May 2007); in 1999, the UK held the first elections for a Scottish Parliament and a Welsh Assembly, the most recent of which were held in May 2007
Judicial branch:
House of Lords (highest court of appeal; several Lords of Appeal in Ordinary are appointed by the monarch for life); Supreme Courts of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland (comprising the Courts of Appeal, the High Courts of Justice, and the Crown Courts); Scotland's Court of Session and Court of the Justiciary
Political parties and leaders:
Conservative [David CAMERON]; Democratic Unionist Party (Northern Ireland) [Peter ROBINSON]; Labor Party [Gordon BROWN]; Liberal Democrats [Nick CLEGG]; Party of Wales (Plaid Cymru) [Ieuan Wyn JONES]; Scottish National Party or SNP [Alex SALMOND]; Sinn Fein (Northern Ireland) [Gerry ADAMS]; Social Democratic and Labor Party or SDLP (Northern Ireland) [Mark DURKAN]; Ulster Unionist Party (Northern Ireland) [Sir Reg EMPEY]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; Confederation of British Industry; National Farmers' Union; Trades Union Congress
International organization participation:
ADB (nonregional members), AfDB (nonregional members), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BIS, C, CBSS (observer), CDB, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, ESA, EU, FAO, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), SECI (observer), UN, UN Security Council, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Sir Nigel E. SHEINWALD 
chancery: 3100 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 
telephone: [1] (202) 588-6500 
FAX: [1] (202) 588-7870 
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco 
consulate(s): Denver, Orlando
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Robert Holmes TUTTLE 
embassy: 24 Grosvenor Square, London, W1A 1AE 
mailing address: PSC 801, Box 40, FPO AE 09498-4040 
telephone: [44] (0) 20 7499-9000 
FAX: [44] (0) 20 7629-9124 
consulate(s) general: Belfast, Edinburgh
Flag description:
blue field with the red cross of Saint George (patron saint of England) edged in white superimposed on the diagonal red cross of Saint Patrick (patron saint of Ireland), which is superimposed on the diagonal white cross of Saint Andrew (patron saint of Scotland); properly known as the Union Flag, but commonly called the Union Jack; the design and colors (especially the Blue Ensign) have been the basis for a number of other flags including other Commonwealth countries and their constituent states or provinces, and British overseas territories
Economy United Kingdom
Economy - overview:
The UK, a leading trading power and financial center, is one of the quintet of trillion dollar economies of Western Europe. Over the past two decades, the government has greatly reduced public ownership and contained the growth of social welfare programs. Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanized, and efficient by European standards, producing about 60% of food needs with less than 2% of the labor force. The UK has large coal, natural gas, and oil reserves; primary energy production accounts for 10% of GDP, one of the highest shares of any industrial nation. Services, particularly banking, insurance, and business services, account by far for the largest proportion of GDP while industry continues to decline in importance. Since emerging from recession in 1992, Britain's economy has enjoyed the longest period of expansion on record; growth has remained in the 2-3% range since 2004, outpacing most of Europe. The economy's strength has complicated the Labor government's efforts to make a case for Britain to join the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Critics point out that the economy is doing well outside of EMU, and public opinion polls show a majority of Britons are opposed to the euro. The BROWN government has been speeding up the improvement of education, health services, and affordable housing at a cost in higher taxes and a widening public deficit.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$2.13 trillion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$2.773 trillion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
3.1% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$35,000 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 0.9% 
industry: 23.4% 
services: 75.7% (2007 est.)
Labor force:
30.89 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 1.4% 
industry: 18.2% 
services: 80.4% (2006 est.)
Unemployment rate:
5.3% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line:
14% (2006 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.1% 
highest 10%: 28.5% (1999)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
34 (2005)
Investment (gross fixed):
18.2% of GDP (2007 est.)
revenues: $1.154 trillion 
expenditures: $1.239 trillion (2007 est.)
Fiscal year:
6 April - 5 April
Public debt:
43.6% of GDP (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.3% (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products:
cereals, oilseed, potatoes, vegetables; cattle, sheep, poultry; fish
machine tools, electric power equipment, automation equipment, railroad equipment, shipbuilding, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, electronics and communications equipment, metals, chemicals, coal, petroleum, paper and paper products, food processing, textiles, clothing, other consumer goods
Industrial production growth rate:
0.5% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production:
372.6 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption:
348.7 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:
2.839 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:
11.16 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 73.8% 
hydro: 0.9% 
nuclear: 23.7% 
other: 1.6% (2001)
Oil - production:
1.636 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - consumption:
1.82 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports:
1.956 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports:
1.654 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves:
3.56 billion bbl (1 January 2007 est.)
Natural gas - production:
84.16 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
91.16 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
8.843 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
15.84 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
509.2 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:
-$119.2 billion (2007 est.)
$442.2 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities:
manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals; food, beverages, tobacco
Exports - partners:
US 14.2%, Germany 11.1%, France 8.1%, Ireland 8%, Netherlands 6.8%, Belgium 5.3%, Spain 4.5%, Italy 4.1% (2007)
$621.4 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities:
manufactured goods, machinery, fuels; foodstuffs
Imports - partners:
Germany 14.2%, US 8.7%, China 7.3%, Netherlands 7.3%, France 6.9%, Belgium 4.7%, Norway 4.7%, Italy 4.2% (2007)
Economic aid - donor:
ODA, $12.46 billion (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$57.3 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external:
$10.45 trillion (30 June 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$1.288 trillion (2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$1.707 trillion (2007 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$3.058 trillion (2005)
Currency (code):
British pound (GBP)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
British pounds per US dollar - 0.4993 (2007), 0.5418 (2006), 0.5493 (2005), 0.5462 (2004), 0.6125 (2003)
Communications United Kingdom
Telephones - main lines in use:
33.682 million (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
71.992 million (2007)
Telephone system:
general assessment: technologically advanced domestic and international system 
domestic: equal mix of buried cables, microwave radio relay, and fiber-optic systems 
international: country code - 44; numerous submarine cables provide links throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and US; satellite earth stations - 10 Intelsat (7 Atlantic Ocean and 3 Indian Ocean), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region), and 1 Eutelsat; at least 8 large international switching centers
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 219, FM 431, shortwave 3 (1998)
84.5 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
228 (plus 3,523 repeaters) (1995)
30.5 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
5.118 million (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
more than 400 (2000)
Internet users:
40.2 million (2007)
Transportation United Kingdom
449 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 310 
over 3,047 m: 8 
2,438 to 3,047 m: 33 
1,524 to 2,437 m: 131 
914 to 1,523 m: 79 
under 914 m: 59 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 139 
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 
914 to 1,523 m: 23 
under 914 m: 113 (2007)
11 (2007)
condensate 567 km; condensate/gas 22 km; gas 18,980 km; liquid petroleum gas 59 km; oil 4,930 km; oil/gas/water 165 km; refined products 4,444 km (2007)
total: 16,567 km 
broad gauge: 303 km 1.600-m gauge (in Northern Ireland) 
standard gauge: 16,264 km 1.435-m gauge (5,361 km electrified) (2006)
total: 398,366 km 
paved: 398,366 km (includes 3,520 km of expressways) (2006)
3,200 km (620 km used for commerce) (2003)
Merchant marine:
total: 518 
by type: bulk carrier 33, cargo 67, carrier 5, chemical tanker 61, container 180, liquefied gas 18, passenger 10, passenger/cargo 67, petroleum tanker 23, refrigerated cargo 12, roll on/roll off 24, vehicle carrier 18 
foreign-owned: 264 (Cyprus 2, Denmark 62, Finland 1, France 23, Germany 76, Hong Kong 2, Ireland 1, Italy 5, Japan 4, NZ 1, Norway 31, South Africa 3, Spain 1, Sweden 17, Switzerland 1, Taiwan 11, Turkey 2, UAE 9, US 12) 
registered in other countries: 391 (Algeria 11, Antigua and Barbuda 9, Argentina 4, Australia 5, Bahamas 56, Barbados 9, Belize 5, Bermuda 3, Brunei 1, Cape Verde 1, Cayman Islands 3, Cyprus 19, Gibraltar 2, Greece 32, Hong Kong 39, India 2, Italy 7, South Korea 1, Liberia 20, Luxembourg 8, Malta 19, Marshall Islands 18, Netherlands 2, Norway 5, Panama 59, Saint Kitts and Nevis 3, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 14, Sierra Leone 2, Singapore 17, Slovakia 1, Spain 5, Sweden 2, Thailand 5, Tonga 1, US 1) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Dover, Felixstowe, Immingham, Liverpool, London, Southampton, Teesport (England), Forth Ports, Hound Point (Scotland), Milford Haven (Wales)
Military United Kingdom
Military branches:
Army, Royal Navy (includes Royal Marines), Royal Air Force
Military service age and obligation:
16-33 years of age (officers 17-28) for voluntary military service (with parental consent under 18); women serve in military services, but are excluded from ground combat positions and some naval postings; must be citizen of the UK, Commonwealth, or Republic of Ireland; reservists serve a minimum of 3 years, to age 45 or 55; 16 years of age for voluntary military service by Nepalese citizens in the Brigade of the Gurkhas; 16-34 years of age for voluntary military service by Papua New Guinean citizens (2008)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 14,729,500 
females age 16-49: 14,125,600 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 12,121,602 
females age 16-49: 11,616,582 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 400,927 
female: 383,593 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures:
2.4% of GDP (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues United Kingdom
Disputes - international:
in 2002, Gibraltar residents voted overwhelmingly by referendum to reject any "shared sovereignty" arrangement between the UK and Spain; the Government of Gibraltar insists on equal participation in talks between the two countries; Spain disapproves of UK plans to grant Gibraltar greater autonomy; Mauritius and Seychelles claim the Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory), and its former inhabitants since their eviction in 1965; most Chagossians reside in Mauritius, and in 2001 were granted UK citizenship, where some have since resettled; in May 2006, the High Court of London reversed the UK Government's 2004 orders of council that banned habitation on the islands; UK rejects sovereignty talks requested by Argentina, which still claims the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; territorial claim in Antarctica (British Antarctic Territory) overlaps Argentine claim and partially overlaps Chilean claim; Iceland, the UK, and Ireland dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm
Illicit drugs:
producer of limited amounts of synthetic drugs and synthetic precursor chemicals; major consumer of Southwest Asian heroin, Latin American cocaine, and synthetic drugs; money-laundering center


  • Posted by howies
  • 30 October 2008


Men with Botox. 
Teenagers driving Bentleys. 
Unintelligible vanity plates. 
Doggie Day Care. 
Unoccupied 20 room beach houses. 
Private beach keys. 
$1000 a month pre-schools. 
Two nannies per toddler. 
Buying organic because it's expensive. 
Double bagging with plastic and paper. 
One house, five garbage bins

Maybe it's time for a more simple kind of happiness?


  • Posted by howies
  • 30 October 2008


I like that it's sunny here 338 days a year. 
But I also like the June Gloom, the misty marine layer that hovers over the bay and seeps into the canyons at the start of summer, and I like that on really hot days itís at least 20C cooler here than 'The Valley'. I like winter when all is quiet. I like how the mountains collide with the coast. 
I like that you can hike or bike or surf or swim or dive or skate or run or just sit on your tired ass and stare at the ocean. 
I like how long and perfect the wave is at Surfrider Beach. 
I like that when a big storm hits Antarctica, you know those swells will eventually make their way to this little piece of bay, and I like to be there when they do. 
I like weekdays because the weekend warriors are all at work. 
I like coming down the mountain on foot. I like the breakfast (and old photos) at Paradise Cove, the pizza at Tra di Noi, the fish tacos at The Reel Inn, the burritos at Lillyís and everything on the menu (except the prices) at Taverna Tony's. 
I like the wildlife too (no, I don't mean Britney). 
I like the deer that graze outside my window, the coyotes that wake me in the night. 
I like the dolphins and whales, eagles and hawks, rattlesnakes and mice, and the bobcat I locked eyes with for a good minute on Corral Canyon Road. 
I totally dislike the fires and mudslides, though I do like the way the threat of them keeps the faint of heart away. 
I like how clean the air is after the Santa Ana winds have blown. 
I like how blue everything is. 
I like to stand on Point Dume Preserve and stare back at the length of Santa Monica Bay, the Queenís Necklace to my left, the vast Pacific Ocean to my right. 

I really like Malibu. 

The Corral Canyon Fire

  • Posted by howies
  • 30 October 2008


The phone rings in the dark.“Fire. Evacuate.”
Seconds later, we’re standing on the deck.
For a moment, I think the moon is the sun, it has the same red glow. But it’s only 4am.


On the other side of the canyon, coming our way. The 40 mph wind hits me in the face, hot and dry. Now I’m hyper-awake. Car horns sound, a few residents trying to wake up the neighbourhood. The flames are already big. Not a fire truck to be seen.

Pack up the stuff. Now.

Deep down, I know the house is going to burn. Last time, we saw the smoke plumes from over the hill. This time, a raging wildfire’s in our view and we’re in its path. Wake the in-laws (so much for the holiday). Don’t wake the babies until it’s time to go. Grab passports. Wallet. Computers. 
Hard drives. Handful of clothes. Every few minutes, I rush to the balcony to check the fire’s progress.


We look at each other. We’re going to lose everything. In that moment, things become clear. The only “stuff” that’s important is you, me and the kids (yes, your parents too). That’s almost all we have time to pack into the two cars. Fire trucks in the street now, most residents leaving, a few hard-core canyon folk staying to protect their homes. Red lights on the fire roads flanking the flames. Firemen beginning a long fight. Next to the fire, they look tiny. My neighbour frantically hoses down his house. “Good luck” I offer, but there’s more exchanged through our eyes. We’re under siege from something way more powerful than us. Stay calm, the babies will sense panic.
We drive down the hill expecting never to see our home again.

The house caught fire, we saw it on the news. But firemen got it out before it could spread inside. Many were not so lucky, 53 homes were lost.

Ned McNeilage

San Francisco

  • Posted by howies
  • 30 October 2008


6454 recorded riders in rush hour of which 24% women ?and 76% men. 72% wore helmets and 28% didn’t
276 bicycle collisions in San Francisco
Bike to Work Day is on 15 May
450,000 vehicles    23,000 parking meters
Nearly 200,000 traffic signs   More than 1100 traffic signals
Over 880 miles of lane lines
4 billion vehicle miles travelled within city ?= 2.43 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions
1,381 licensed taxis permits
120 compressed natural gas (CNG) taxis operate in the city ?This is helping reducing tailpipe (exhaust) emission
PARK(ing) ON 19 September: artists, activists, and citizens ?will collaborate to transform parking spots into art work
40 cable cars/trams   Cable car speed of 9.5 mph
6,200 subway cabs   660 miles of subway track
1,193 miles of streets   Longest street, Mission Street: 7.29 miles   
Widest street: Sloat Boulevard, 135 feet    
Narrowest street: De Forest Way, 4.5ft

4,375 restaurants  8 theatres  65 museums  5 bridges  229 parks     
450 high-rises    237 historical landmarks buildings
32,866 hotel rooms  25.8% of visitors rent a car
15.8 million visitors spending $7.8 billion in the city?Visitors: Male = 53.5% Female = 46.5%
Average age of visitor is 46 years old
 29.5 miles of shoreline  7.5 miles of waterfront   39 piers
265,291 average number of commuter’s daily
Over 200 coffee houses within the city boundaries 
10.9% of kids will drop out of high school  25,000 people that skateboard 
1.5 million tons of waste are produced every year,    
69% of the materials are recycled
Goals of 75% landfill diversion by 2010, zero waste by 2020.
San Francisco spends approximately 1 billion dollars on energy each year
It produces 9.7 million tons of green house gases each year 
Renewable energy programmes will eliminate an 550,000 tons of CO2
80 million-plus gallons of wastewater every day
668,000 trees which remove about 287 tons of air pollutants each year
Top 5 places visited, Fisherman’s Wharf, Cable Car Ride, Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Ferry Building


  • Posted by howies
  • 30 October 2008


78,000 people live in Ceredigion, 4, 203 people are in Cardigan
48.8% of the population is male   51.2% of the population is female
11,308 sheep   11,466 cows   67 goats   68 pigs   178 horses   348 poultry   111 farmers
0 Starbucks  0 McDonalds   0 Burger King   0 Sushi Bar  0 Subway  0 Costa Coffee
1 mobile phone shop  3 Fish & Chip shops   3 Bakers  1 Butcher   3 Supermarkets
1.90 inches of rainfall in May    4 inches or rainfall in October
15-16 hours of daylight in July    Average temperatures of 17.2º
7-8 hours of daylight in January    Average temperature of 2.22º

4 Blue Flags   4 Green Coast Awards  7 Green Flags   14 Seaside Awards
150 cups of coffee served in Andy’s coffee shop 
180 cups of tea (but only one toilet)
Cardigan is the opening of one of the longest rivers in Wales, the Teifi at 75 miles

221 fires in the county and 6 in Cardigan   50 full time students 
251 households without a car or van
48.67% people can speak, read and write Welsh   23.42% have no knowledge of the Welsh language
24 people travel 60km and over to work   107 signposts on public rights of way
100-200 bottlenose dolphins

It costs 25p for a green waste bag from the local council
Compost bins can be bought at £16.45 from the local council too
36.7% of the county’s waste was recycled last year   6.7% was composted
Real Nappy Project: 550 packs of washable nappies have been sent out in 
an aim to reduce waste
Compost Awareness Week 7-13 May 
21 nature reserves around in and around Ceredigion 
400 pairs of red kites (birds of prey)
£1.05 petrol cost per litre   Ticket to the cinema £4.50
26000 visitors to Cardigan every year
70% of people own their home   12% of people are in social housing 
13.5% people privately rent their homes   15.1% homes are without central heating

Cape Town

  • Posted by howies
  • 30 October 2008


8.5 million people in South Africa, 3,239,765 in Cape Town
98,031 shacks, 522 are in Cape Town give or take a few
11 official languages in South Africa
13,8 million cattle  11,507 Merino sheep  1,656 thousand pigs
6,310 thousand non-wool sheep   2,180 thousand goats
3,541 boats   41,969 aircraft used Cape Town Airport
8,395,833 overseas visitors who spent R74.2 billion rand
In 2003 there was 2.3 million tons of waste, 2kg per person a day
215 traffic accidents occurred per day 
Friday is the worst day of the week for traffic accidents
67864 accidents on tarmac and 648 on gravel/dirt
739 cycle casualties
Second  lowest unemployment rate of South Africa cities
South Africa is five times the size of Japan
Three times the size of Texas
It soaks up over half of the world’s highest category of 
solar wattage per square metre of land
13.2 GigaWatt hrs of electricity from city windfarm 
will save 140,000 tons of coal, renewable’s will replace 254,000 tons CO²

3580 parks   31 cemeteries
4079 trees planted on city park initiatives
Transport is responsible for over half the total energy use
The main road used to be made  out of wooden blocks
Petrol accounts for 68% air pollution
In March there is a 105km cycle tour with nearly 40,000 participants
Two Oceans Marathon is a 56-kilometer ultra-marathon with 8,000 participants
Local Beer: R9 = £0.64   Glass of wine: R15 = £1.06
Petrol per litre is £0.28
Annual rainfall of 464mm
Average temperature in January (summer) 
maximum 26ºC and minimum16ºC
Average temperature in July (winter) 
maximum 18ºC and minimum 7ºC
3 blue flag beaches   1187 tons of passion fruit, 4,539 tons of litchis and 28,539 tons of guavas 
are grown and sold each year
There 1,470 plant species  on Table Mountain and 500 species of plant 
27: years Nelson Mandela spent in prison

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