One way round it is to buy Flight Sim 2004 and then buy a disk of photo-realistic detailed scenery covering the area you're interested in then just "fly" over it and save a screenshot to your PC ;) I can mail you shots of some English/Welsh areas if you let me know the precise spots you want.. Check it - click here
Does Google earth give me anything better than Google maps? I'm not interested in the visual zooming in - I always type the post code into Google maps, then click the satellite button. Am I missing out?