A retired English policeman, a speech therapist and a pressman decided to move to Hungary 11 years ago. Although two of them were hesitating between Hungary and Finland, they ended up in the former. All three of them found a home in Zala county, and they would never move from there again.
Neil Stevens and Ken Jones decided 11 years ago that they want to leave Great Britain. They were living in Mosonmagyaróvár for a while, and they moved to Zala years later. “A good dentist was also a consideration when we moved” – told Index about selecting their first home. Neil Stevens was a speech therapist who used a method with pictures involved in order to help autistic people to communicate better. Later he was training teachers to utilise this method and he was travelling a lot. Ken Jones was a pressman, but operating the heavy machines caused him to have a spine injury, so he had to discontinue that work. Later he helped Neil with his work. They both felt that England has become more dangerous. “Here in Zala, if there is a violent crime, it shook the whole neighbourhood. At home, it became an everyday thing that someone was stabbed on the streets.” – they said.
They had an idea that they will open an English teahouse – of course – and a tea museum. After failing their first try, they later found a better place for their shop in Balatonmagyaród. Here, their business idea was more welcomed, and their shop is facing the street, so it is easier to find them than previously. “People do not need to search for us that much”.
Check out our article on how the British feel about Hungary HERE.
The new house is halfway done, but the teahouse area is fully operational. Currently, it is a multifunctional room. It can be rented for a small tea party, for Christmas or a mini-conference, or business meeting. It is not open constantly at the moment. “When we will be ready, we will open it regularly, but we welcome guests upon registration” – they said. There are two buildings on the lot, they want to renovate the second for themselves later and in the other part of the teahouse they will open rooms for rent, so in the summer they can start their bed & breakfast campaign. Ken and Jones named the teahouse after their grandmothers. The names were Florence and Dora and they combined the two, so it became Florridora’s Pantry.
The two English gentlemen do not only make tea, but they bake traditional English confectionaries as well. They sell their goods in markets and fairs, and their webshop was also launched recently. You can order tea, small confectioneries and English jams from them. They said that they would also like to learn to speak Hungarian, but after someone scammed them, they lost their initial enthusiasm. “A man offered to teach us 100 hours for 2 Million Ft (6,250 €), but he only ended up teaching us the present tense”.
The two gentlemen lived in Brighton previously, but they fed up with the haste and England in general at the same time.
They wished for a much calmer life than in England, and they also wanted a better financial position. In England, they would not be able to purchase a house with the savings of a lifetime. The lack of their family is not that big of a deal for them. Ken Jones’s family lives scattered around the world anyway, and for Neil, only his mother lives, who has a weekend house not far from the gentlemen’s, so she spends a couple of days there every three to four months.
They do not even think about living elsewhere nowadays. Hungary became the safe point in their lives. Despite occasional difficulties, they love to live here.
The former policemen and amateur actor live in Balatonmagyaród.
Jeremy Wheeler is living in Hungary for over a decade now. He is also serious about staying; he is now applying for Hungarian citizenship. “I am lucky because thanks to my age – I am over 60 – the government does not expect me to learn the language, I only need to know some things about the country”.
I live a few blocks from Florridora’s Pantry. There is a reason for that. The three British know each other of course. When the teahouse at Zalaszántó was in trouble, Jeremy Wheeler drew the attention of the tea gentlemen to the house near him which was for sale. He thought that it would be perfect for the teahouse and he would then be able to drink a proper English tea.
Jeremy Wheeler, a now-retired English policeman, has served the City of London for decades.
At first, he was an investigator. “I caught criminals; I had cases concerning prostitutes, drug dealers, and pornography”. He later became a legal administrative expert at the company. He came to Hungary to tutor the local police departments, thanks to his experience. “I have to say that the Hungarian police department is a professional organisation in several respect”. He does not only make his money from this. He is an amateur actor. Typically, he has smaller roles in foreign movies shot in Hungary. Recently, he was acting in Nyitva, a new Hungarian comedy, but he had a small role in Curtiz as well. He has about three to four invitations a year.
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The ex-policeman was often visiting Budapest, but love has played a major role in how fast he decided to move to Hungary. He met Csilla on Iwiw, under a PhD topic. They chatted, drank a coffee, and soon they married each other.
Jeremy Wheeler likes Hungarians. He likes that they do not make a fuss about anything. He likes how Hungarians relate to things; he likes it better than the excessive immediacy of the British. “If I go to a shop in England, the seller starts to talk to me and asks me personal questions, but I do not want to talk to them. In Hungary, when I go to a shop, we greet each other, I buy what I need, pay and that is it, I do not need to have shallow conversations. And they say goodbye to me again; when I leave, I really like it, this never happens in England.
All three British have their own opinions about the Hungarian problems, but they are more distant with those than with the British issues. They live the experience of reception, they suffer from bureaucracy, but they cannot imagine their future elsewhere. All three think the same concerning Brexit: “a disaster”.
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