We here in the UK are not noted for our optimistic outlook on life. Ask anyone, “How’s life treating you?” and you’re likely to get the response, “Not bad.” Or even, “Not too bad.”
Not actively miserable—most of the time— just not exactly bursting with the joys of spring, either.
We Brits are generally not the happiest bunch in the world—that honour is taken by Denmark—with the top ten in this year’s World Happiness Report looking like this:
And in case you were wondering how the UK fared, we were a gallant 22nd, behind Costa Rica (12th), Mexico (16th), the USA (17th) and Belgium (21st).
And bottom of the league?
Portugal, apparently. They came 85th. Don’t ask me why.
The reason for thinking about this subject was because this week’s news mentioned the latest report by the UK Office of National Statistics measuring National Wellbeing around the country.
The study by the ONS was carried out in March this year, taking such factors into account as the state of people’s health, relationships, personal finance, and environmental issues to provide a guideline to the UK’s levels of satisfaction and quality of life.
The results were surprising—although possibly not to those concerned. The top four happiest places in the UK were all in Northern Ireland:
And having been to Northern Ireland, I can vouch for the fact it’s a beautiful place, and despite the high unemployment rate, they maintain a positive outlook.
The mainland only managed 5th with Babergh in Suffolk.
And the least happy areas?
1 Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria
2 Dartford, Kent
3 Torridge, Devon
4 Maldon, Essex
5 South Ribble, Lancashire
What does it say about me, I wonder, that I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Barrow, but never been to Babergh?
This week’s Word of the Week is sinecure, mean a job that requires little or no work for the money. It’s from the Medieval Latin phrase sine cura, which means quite literally without a cure. Sinecure was originally used to describe the holding of a clerical post for the church without the bother of having to care for people’s spiritual wellbeing. Such posts had been abolished by the beginning of the last century, but by then the word had come to mean any paid job with few responsibilities attached.