I’ve just remembered that it’s Blog Tuesday, and do I have something to talk about today? Do I buggery.
However, I have some vague thinkings that were circulating my head and in want of anything useful to write, I’ll stick those down instead. Someone asked me if I considered myself an “Englishwoman”, and if I was a patriotic person. The English as opposed to British question bores me a little bit, as I have never particularly cared either way. If I were filling out a form I would probably put down British, although I couldn’t really tell you why. Technically, I am English as I was born in England. Fine. In truth, if I feel like anything, it’s a Londoner, even though I grew up on the weird outskirts of the city, where no one is sure if they’re in Kent or not.
Am I patriotic? Well, I’m not sure. I’m no flag waving Royalist, that’s for sure, and I don’t watch the Queen’s Speech at Christmas (my Dad would be most annoyed at this. He made us stand up for the National Anthem). But in my own small, quiet way, I do love Britain; it’s lands and it’s people. And I started thinking about why.
1) I like our weather. YES, I said it, I like our crazy sunny one minute pissing down the next climate, because in truth, it’s not actually that crazy. We have marvellously moderate weather here, no matter how over excited we get about four inches of snow, or those two days in July where it’s unbelievably hot. It’s rarely so extreme that it causes problems, and on those odd occasions when it does, we get fantastically excited about it. Seriously, the snow we had last year that meant no one could get anywhere for one whole day, was the most excited I’ve seen this country in… well, ever.
Our weather is never likely to kill us, and I like that. I like chilly autumn days, and lazy warm summer evenings, and London rain.
2) Sense of humour goes without saying, doesn’t it? But I think it’s worth pointing out that it goes deeper than the obvious things, such as Monty Python and the Goons, Not the Nine O’Clock News and Alternative Comedy… British people just can’t help making jokes. In any conversation at all. Even if they’re bad ones- especially if they're bad ones. If you listen to any two British people talking, one of them will inevitably try to make the other one laugh. Maybe it is that stereotypical British reserve turned on it’s head; we don’t feel comfortable talking about important things, so we’ll make a joke instead.
In the car going to my Dad’s funeral we couldn’t help joking with each other. And once we’d noticed that my Uncle Alan’s leather jacket made a farting noise every time he moved on the seat, we were well away (oh, the British, how we love our fart gags). I clambered out of the car in the midst of a giggling fit, much to the disapproval of the vicar.
3) An appreciation of small pleasures. In my experience, you will only ever hear a British person say, “Oh, we’ll have a nice cup of tea when we get home,” and you know they are genuinely looking forward to it. And if there’s a biscuit with that tea, they’ll be over the moon. A chocolate biscuit?! TRUE FACT: There is no higher pleasure. I remember Bill Bryson writing something like this in his Notes from a Small Island, about how only the British could be truly excited about an extra large raisin in their spotted dick. When I read that I knew it was true; I don’t need any more evidence than the level of hysteria caused by a fresh tin of biscuits at work.
So those are a few of my reasons. If there are any small things you love about your place of birth, tell me; this Tuesday could do with a bit more love.
End of an era
3 months ago