Sunday, 17 June 2012

Proud to be British!!

There - I've said it!!  I know it's not fashionable or 'cool'.  Some people might even think that I forfeited my right to say it when I left the UK for good more than seven years ago.  I can't be that proud, can I?  If I were, surely I would have stayed in the country of my birth?  I wouldn't have left and sought pastures new, would I?  Well, the truth is that, unlike many expats I meet who seem to take pleasure in running the UK down, we didn't leave because we hated the country or our lives there.  We left because 'life is too short' and there is so much of the world we want to see and experience.  I am still fiercely proud of my heritage.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not some sort of 'little Englander' who regrets the passing of the Empire and bores people with tales of British supremacy.  Like every other country in the world, the UK has it's share of problems and there are things that the country does incredibly badly, but, overall, there is a great deal to be proud of!

Jubilee Street Party
This feeling is often brought home to me, but never more so than on occasions such as the recent celebrations of Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee.  Then, yesterday, it was the Trooping of the Colour!  As I watched the coverage of these events on BBC World (no complaints, please - I did pay my licence fee for many years!!), I was reminded once again of how well the British do 'pomp and circumstance'!!  We really know how to put on a show!!
Jubilee Flotilla

Whilst not an ardent Royalist, I am glad we have them!!  They attract so many tourists to our small island nation and foster a great sense of national identity.  Had we been in the UK now, we would have gone to London to be part of the celebrations just as we did ten years ago for the Golden Jubilee.  On that occasion, we were living in Kent and hadn't planned to go up to town, but on the morning of the main event, we made a last-minute decision to go.  We put a bottle of champagne and a 'thrown-together' picnic in a backpack and made a dash for the train.  The train was full of like-minded people and the atmosphere was incredible!!  Once in town, we made our way, via Victoria, to Buckingham Palace and found the perfect vantage point behind the railings close to the Victoria Memorial (the site of the stage for the recent concert).  We were hours early, but there were crowds already and we soon got talking to people from all over the world, most of whom expressed their envy that we were British and had ready access to events such as this.   The day was wonderful and memories of it are still very vivid.

The Jubilee Concert & Firework Display

So, there you have it.  I'm British and proud!  It is not only state occasions such as these which make me feel this way and I will probably write about other things later, but, for now, it was these events that polarised my thoughts.  Roll on the next great event - The Olympics, London 2012!!!

Trooping the Colour

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