Bower Birds

We found the records of our spending and petrol consumption during our 1989 trip around England, Scotland and Wales. Bower birds! Who keeps this kind of thing for that long? A mere 19 years.

It makes interesting reading, though.

Petrol consumption over a period of 5 weeks, driving Gertie-the-van, was 663.38 litres, at a cost of UK£270.75. This means the average price per litre of petrol in England (Scotland and Wales) in 1989 was £0.408. That was about A$0.90. We whine that we now pay about A$1.50 / litre, but 2 years ago we were only paying A$0.90 – the same as they were paying that in the UK nearly 15 years before.

That 663.38 litres took us 3375 miles (5431 kilometres). Which highlights something else interesting. In those days the UK was using litres and miles. Metric and imperial units at the same time! Take note in the USA – a conversion of units can be done!

That also means we were travelling about 1000 kilometres a week.

We made it to Lands End in the very South, but had to give up – there was just not enough time to get to John O’Groats in the very North. The top end of Scotland is (was) many, many kilometres of single lane roads with periodic passing places. One of the most stressful types of road to drive, and the average speed drops rapidly when you are forever stopping and pulling over.

Seeing as we were driving and living in Gertie-the-van, and remember the cost of food in England as expensive, it’s interesting to look at the records there as well.

Food: £11.

Food: £14.

Meal in restaurant: £25 (oh the horrors – such spendthrifts!)

Perhaps it was not so expensive after all. Perhaps we were just skint and doing it all on a very tight budget.


When it comes to the UK – and especially London – you have to force yourself to stop converting the money back to Aussie dollars or you’d starve to death.

Comment by Kath Lockett | August 14th, 2008 2:08 am | Permalink

The funny old UK is *still* using miles for distances, so is still litres and miles. Seems strange at first, but one quickly gets used to it.

Basically, the UK cost of living is extreme. Food and all is very expensive compared to salaries. But consumer goods and gadgets are relatively cheap compared to, say, eating out.

Comment by Graeme Sutherland | September 10th, 2008 4:59 am | Permalink

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