Geographical Happiness

According to research published today, the Welsh region of Powys is the happiest place in Britain, with Manchester and West Lothian coming in 2nd and 3rd. Conversely, the cultural mecca of Edinburgh is bottom of the list.

To be honest, it seems like a bit of a random piece of research, based on various socio-economic factors and people’s general sense of well-being. Even the researchers admit that “happiness is more a product of personal circumstances than physical location”.

What caught my attention was the fact that BBC Breakfast this morning highlighted the research by reporting from Hay-on-Wye in the happy region of Powys. Slowly coming to terms with waking up, my first thought was “of course you’d be happy if you lived in Hay, it’s got more second hand bookshops than anywhere else in the country!”.

It would make me very happy indeed to live there. Not only would my insatiable appetite for books be fed, but I’d have an international festival of literature on my doorstep every year, the gorgeous Welsh countryside to frolic in and, from what I remember of my last trip there, some pretty good bakeries too.

However, I also seem to remember that it takes ages to get there from any place of a decent size and the roads were distinctly bendy (I usually arrive in Hay feeling oh so slightly nauseous). On reflection, maybe I’ll just be happier staying in London with one pretty good second hand bookshop minutes from my office and a whole host of over-priced patisseries…

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