Here's some grounds for Yuletide celebration. It looks as though sanity is returning to the UK housing market. It's long overdue.
Let me explain why. I share a flat with a Pole. He's been here nearly three years. I sometimes have to correct his English. In particular he struggles with the inversion of auxiliary verbs. So he'll say 'How they can do this?' rather than 'How can they do this?'. I must have heard him get this wrong a thousand times over the time he's been here. On 5th November this year, while the fireworks were going off I thought it would be amusing to tell him that Britons were celebrating the failure of a Catholic terrorist plot. He's a Catholic of course - takes his religion fairly seriously.
He had no idea what I was talking about. When I explained, he asked me whether that was why people were wearing 'badges'. I explained that they weren't badges, they were poppies and they symbolised British losses in World War One. Nothing to do with Guy Fawkes.
His job? He's a teacher ... and sometimes he teaches English to 11-year olds! Mostly he does RE and PE for which he is qualified, but I can't help thinking that someone who teaches our country's children should know a little bit more about British culture. I know I do go on and on about the ridiculous price of property in Britain and the south-east in particular. But here's one reason that has nothing to do with me. The price of accommodation in my part of Britain is so high that people on teachers' salaries can't afford to live here unless they want to live like 'The Young Ones', as I do. Most educated British people don't want to live like that. The result is that the vacancies must be filled by foreigners. Our children's education is suffering because of a shortage of accommodation.