Being British

I’ve been watching a new programme on TV called “Very British Problems”, and it gave me an idea for a blog post.

What is ‘British’?  What does it mean to be British?

Well.  Here’s my take.

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Sitting on a bench, eating fish and chips straight from the paper.

Donkey rides on the beach.

Queuing.

Chivalry.

BFK9FP The Storytellers of the Decameron by Boccaccio 1313-75, 1851 (detail of man and woman)

Being too polite (even when people don’t deserve it).

Overusing the word “sorry”.

Sarcasm (British sarcasm is very different to the rest of the world).

Scones stuffed with jam and freshly whipped cream.

Pots of tea with china cups.

Gordon Ramsay.  By the way…  He rocks!

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Bangers and mash.

We also have a fancy name for cheese on toast…  “Welsh Rarebit”.

David Beckham.

The Spice Girls.

The Beatles.

Genesis.

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Phil Collins.

Take That (bleurgh).

Black Sabbath.

Queen.

Doctor Who.

All-doctors

James Bond.

Mini Cooper.

Aston Martin.

Jaguar.

Rolls Royce.

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Stephen Hawking.

Stephen Fry.

Bill Bailey.

Billy Connolly.

Russell Brand.

Robert Carlyle.

Queen Elizabeth II

Prince William.

Prince Harry.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Cockney rhyming slang.

We’re pretty good at tongue twisters too.

William Wordsworth.

William Shakespeare.

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The Bronte sisters.

Jane Austen.

Robert Burns.

Robert the Bruce.

William Wallace (aka Braveheart – yes.  He was a real man).

Robert Roy Macgregor (Rob Roy – yes.  He was real too).

Highland bagpipes.

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Haggis, neeps and tatties.

The Loch Ness Monster (Nessie.  And of course, his sister – Morag).

Peter Pan (J. M. Barrie was Scottish).

St George.

George and the Dragon.

The Union Jack.

Britannia.

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The BBC Proms.

Last Night of the Proms.

The BBC.

The Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo (best in the world).

Castles.

Forests.

Robin Hood.

Marks and Spencer.

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Asda.

Sainsbury’s.

Mark Sheppard.

Alan Rickman.

Colin Firth.

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Judi Dench.

Zoe Wannamaker.

Harry Potter!

Orlando Bloom.

Joseph Morgan.

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Stonehenge.

Callenish Stone Circle.

Tower Bridge.

The Tower of London.

Buckingham Palace.

Big Ben (is actually the name of the bell; not the clock tower).

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I think this list is sufficient enough at the moment…  I could probably go on forever; and I am sure that you could too.

So what do you think?  When you think of all things British, what comes to your mind?

Away in a Manger

It’s been in the news a lot over the past couple of weeks, primarily in the UK.  I’m unsure if this actually affects the rest of the world, but I think it’s about time to spread the word.

Christmas.  It’s a celebration that occurs once a year, on 25 December.  We rejoice and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  Granted, a lot of the religion has left Christmas now…

For most, it’s about giving and receiving presents.  Eating a massive meal, that normally makes you feel sick afterwards.  Spending a bit of time with family.  Watching bad TV…  I’m wondering.  Why have just one day for that?  I mean I regularly visit my parents.  We regularly eat a big meal together, and we sometimes give small gifts; “just because”.  Why should I do the same on Christmas Day?  Surely the day is meant for something more…

Oh wait.  It is.  Here’s that word again.  Religion.

Am I right in saying that religion is no longer a part of Christmas?  I’m sorry to say that I do believe, in most peoples’ celebrations, it has isn’t.

The UK is a multi-cultural set of countries.  We have so many races and religions here, that it’s impossible to list them all.  Like it or not, the United Kingdom is a Christian country.  Yes, I said it.  We’re CHRISTIAN.  That means that the governing religion is the Church of England.  The Queen (long may she reign) is the keeper of the throne until the true leader returns.  This being Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, and this is where I feel I am going to be attacked, the UK has had to throw away a lot of its’ Christian faith traditions due to the fear that we are insulting those of other faiths.  A lot of places are unable to even fly the Union Jack…  Now what that’s got to do with religion is beyond me.

For many years, there has been an amazing tradition in schools throughout the UK.  It’s a time of year that some parents dread, and some parents love.  It’s a chance for their child/ren to dress up, and take part in a play of the “Greatest Story Ever Told”.  The Nativity.

I never went to a church school.  I went to a “community” school; which meant that anyone from any faith was welcome.

I can remember in nursery (pre-school), I was always an angel.  I was never one of the main characters, but one of the angels that just sort of “floated” around in the background.  Mainly because they had run out of spaces in the play, but yet everyone in the nursery had to be in it.  I can remember the white dress…  I’m fairly sure it was made out of an old bed sheet.  My hair was loose around my shoulders, my thick NHS glasses covered a patch over my eye (sight problems), and I donned a “beautiful” halo, made out of tacky gold tinsel (did you get the sarcasm there?).  It was quite literally hell on earth.  I loved it.

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I’m immediately underneath the red arrow.

When I dropped my son off at nursery this morning, I asked one of the teachers there if they did any Christmas crafts; like making snowmen or angels out of empty toilet roll tubes, or even make Christmas cards…  The response I got was a blank look, and a simple “no”.  Granted, my son goes to a private nursery where I have to pay for him to be there, but surely because I am paying, they should do some form of request..?!  What shocked me most of all was the lack of Christmas decorations.  I enquired to their where-abouts too, to the response of “we’re not allowed to show any bias towards Christmas due to other faiths in the nursery that may not celebrate”.  I was disgusted.  Thankfully, I will be sending my son to a church school…  Surely they will do some form of Christmas crafts / Nativity there..?

Well.  Not necessarily.  This is where we have come full circle to the beginning of my post.  In the news recently, it’s been stated that 95% of schools throughout the UK are not performing the Nativity.  Instead, they are having a “Winter Festival”, or an “End of Year Concert”.  These performances will not have any form of religion what-so-ever, and will include the likes of the importance of recycling; aliens dancing with humans; and more…  No Christmas music either.  That’s not allowed.

The reason?  Because a certain faith has made a complaint that it offends them.

Can I repeat what I said earlier?  If you are going to move to a CHRISTIAN country, you should respect their rules and traditions.  Afterall, if a Christian moved to a country with a different faith, we would probably be shot if we said that some of their traditions offended us.

My conclusion?  We’re in the UK.  If you want to be classed as, and treated as a British citizen, then act like one.  The Nativity has been an important part of UK history since Christianity first came to the country.  Please.  Respect our rights.