Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Oh to be in England

Hello Dear Reader,

Happy St. George's Day. I love England and I love being English. If you don't live here, this is what you are missing. Afternoon Tea. It doesn't happen every day (unless you live in Downton Abbey) and you make the effort to serve it to friends, guests and vicars.

I love the NHS. Tax is collected straight from our wages and pays for everyone's healthcare. Rich or poor, no matter who you are, you get excellent healthcare.

We're part of an island nation. We're one of four countries who rub along quite well. Our shores have attracted people from all over the world and they make England a colourful place. Our island is beautiful and a short walk can reveal a whole new vista. 

Paddling.  Every child will remember mooching around the shoreline, with a net and a bucket full of curiosity. Scooping shells out of the water and taking them home as souvenirs. 

A 99! A swirly ice cream with a Cadbury's flake. Even better is a hand scooped butter yellow ice cream, made with clotted cream. As a child, I didn't get one. I made do with a 'plain cornet' which was a scoop of ice cream on a cone. To this day a '99' is a massive indulgence and they are lovely. Best eaten after a walk on Plymouth Hoe or around Looe harbour on a summer's evening.

Rugby. Sorry, just don't 'get' football. I spent two years living in Bath and fell in love with the sport, can smell the Deep Heat and can feel the ground rumble as if I were there right now. Not just for the big clubs, but the school children who train after school and the local clubs that fund raise at the weekend. It's a thrilling sport to watch and thank you Plymouth Albion for many an afternoon of great entertainment.

The village fete! I might have to explain what this is. Usually run by the church or local pub. It raises money for the Brownies, Guides, village school, Scouts, Play Group and Old Folk's social Club. There will be stalls selling plants, cakes, jumble. There will be a brass band. There will be competitions, from wheel barrow races, welly boot throwing to tug of war. There might well be evening entertainment and a barbecue. In our village there was a floral dance around the streets, a fancy dress competition and a lot of beer. 

Agricultural shows and ploughing matches. Again, I might have to explain these. Throughout the summer, areas all over England have local shows where farmers come to show their animals. There is usually an equestrian event, or a gymkhana for the children, a dog show for pets, there will be sheep dog demonstrations and animals of every description. A ploughing match is an autumnal show where traditional skills are on show and people compete. My grandad used to lay hedges as a boy and only ever did so annually at his local ploughing match. Some farmers still keep shires out of tradition, still plough with them (if only the odd acre) to keep the skill alive and pass it on. The horses are groomed, decorated with brasses and bells and their presence can take me back to the moment grandad lifted me up to stroke one. 

Laughter. English people laugh a lot. We have a very caustic sense of humour and don't take life too seriously. We can and do laugh it off. Our workplaces are good humoured and ring with laughter. You can have a laugh with a total stranger in a supermarket. Pubs are full of laughter. Hospitals are a great place to have a laugh. It's how we deal with things. We tell jokes at funerals. Trains will be late and strangers will share a laugh on the platform. We are self deprecating and don't take ourselves too seriously. Who ever you are, we'll have a laugh at you too. 

I could happily ramble on all night. We are a lovely little country and happily part of the UK. Now it's your turn. If you live in England, what do you love about it? I didn't even mention the food. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx


  1. Great post Froogs. I love the country side, the woods, the dappled sunshine through the trees on a hot day. The historic houses and the stories of those who lived there. I also love being near to one of the busiest airports in the world and being able to escape when the weather just won't do. (Prior to debts and frugal life) oh yes, and ploughmans lunches, slab of cheese, pickled onion and a chunk of bread.

    FIB. Xxx

  2. I love the fact that everyone always talks about the weather. It is so reassuring. A nation obsessed. I also love the diversity of the landscape, rolling hills and dales, moors and wolds, mountains and valleys, coast and country. I love the language with all it's nuances, regional accents and dialects. I even enjoy the snobberies inherent in English culture as I find them amusing. But like you, I like the humour and the often self-deprecating nature of it. You can't always take yourself or life too seriously.

  3. Bacon Butties with HP sauce, Toad in the Hole, scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream. Primroses in the hedgerows and swathes of Bluebells in woodland. Tea made in a pot with leaves not bags. Real Ale, malt whisky and Cadbury Dairy Milk. The wonderful range of scenery and the diverse flora and fauna in our Island. The freedom of speech and policemen without guns. The NHS and our education system. Not forgetting the 3 Queens, Elizabeth, Frugal and Mean.

  4. Things I like about England are: Fish and Chips and days out in great places like Oxford, Bristol, Plymouth, Bournemouth, Bath, Brighton and London. Our great sporting heritage such as Wimbledon, Wembley and Silverstone. Fantastic cars like Aston Martin, Jaguar, Mini and Range Rover. Coronation Street, Fawlty Towers and Monty Python. The Rolling Stones, Adele and The Beatles.

    I guess most of all I like Cornwall because that is where I live.

  5. I love our endless chat about the weather. I love how we complain constantly about the cold and rain and when the sun comes out immediately say that it is too hot.
    Fabulous to see Patricia Routledge's Kitty again!

  6. Love reading your blog. Your fetes and fairs look fantastic and so authentic (courtesy of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall) and I LOVE British humour and drama. Cornwall looks gorgeous but I couldn't leave the Australian weather - as I sit here on an Autumn morning in a sarong, about to walk to the beach where it's still warm enough to swim.

  7. I love all of it! Do you know the Kate Bush song 'Oh England My Lionheart'? The lyrics give me goosebumps...

    ...Flapping umbrellas fill the lanes
    My London Bridge in rain again
    Oh England My Lionheart
    Peter Pan steals the kids in Kensington Park
    You read me Shakespeare on the Rolling Thames,
    That old River Poet that never, ever ends
    Our Thumping hearts hold the Ravens in,
    And keep the tower from tumbling...

    1. I'd forgotten that song, what great lyrics and so very, very English. Well said Shoestring.

  8. I love this post.

    Kitty and Victoria Wood. My all time favourite. I'm off to youtube the rest!

    Leanne xx

  9. Hi Froogs

    I've spent hours over the last week or so reading every back blog (though some in more detail that others!). I love reading your frugal tips and am facing the challenge myself. Tonight's blog gave me a giggle - we certainly can and do laugh at the rest of the world as much as at ourselves!

    I'm writing my own blog, though on a very different topic, but am loving the tips I find in yours - keep up the good work and thank you for the inspiration.

    Bluesingingdragon xx

  10. Hi Froogs, happy St George Day. Is it a public holiday?

    Love English comedies. Thanks for sharing Patricia Routledge. Love to have a laugh in the morning!

  11. Still laughing at Kitty !! ALAN BENNETT is an English phenomena! My American friends tell me they have little lamb... How about English Roast lamb and mint sauce ? English Strawberries are the very (seasonal) best. I also love that our animal welfare is so good yes, I know there are instances that say otherwise, but we still put others to shame.
    I love the way England is so GREEN.
    Like you, I could go on, but will look forward to the views of others now.

  12. I love the varied weather, and I'm looking forward to some nice spring weather so I can get some gardening done. It's still too cold here in Lancashire to even think about getting seeds into the unheated greenhouse, it will have to wait a few more weeks. But what I would like, right now, (and it's not a possibility) is some nice, warm abroad type of weather. Come summer, there might be both time and funds! Like FIB, bread cheese and pickles does it for me every time. Cornwall is a place I want to visit, and fairly soon, as a friend of mine lives there, we haven't seen her for over 20 years and it is time we caught up.

  13. I live in the US but come over as often as I can to vist my son and his family and many friends. I cry from happiness as the plane lands and from sadness as I leave. I love the English countryside, humor, food, fish and chips, the Nat'l Trust,....I can go on and on!
    I willingly babysit my grandchildren because when thy are asleep I get the remote to myself and watch English TV, which I also love!

  14. Have visited the UK although fairly briefly. Some of my ancestors came from Devon, next door to you. Have visited Bath twice and just loved it and have also visited Cornwall - lovely. I especially enjoy the English self-deprecating humour which Australians also used to have. Unfortunately we have all become a bit important so that is disappearing. Too many US TV shows?

  15. My parents were Swedish by birth. We always said if you can laugh at it you can live with it. I love British humor.

  16. As for me, I love the magazines and the gardens ! The sheep in the countryside and the mansions and castles.
    Great post, I'll send the link to my students.

  17. Old British sitcoms like Only Fools & One Foot in the Grave
    Twinings tea
    Bacon butties
    Autumn - cold but sunny days, autumn colours, crunchy leaves
    The NHS
    Fantastic scenery within a short drive of most places
    Robin Hood's Bay and similar quaint seaside villages
    Period drama, nobody does it better
    Daffodils in Spring

  18. Here , here Froogs. I love the country I live in. As for the NHS , I work as a staff nurse. When I hear people complain it really annoys me. I sat in a very busy eye clinic with my DB one very hot afternoon last July. He is 46 and developed a large blind spot in his eye at work one day. He went options and was seen in eye clinic the next day. We had been waiting for three hours, we were having a chat etc and the lady next to us had been waiting for 20 minutes and then starts shouting at one of the nurses because she was being kept waiting. The lady the other side piped up with " myself and the lovely couple the other side have been waiting three hours. The sure thing is you will be seen . I then chimed in with we are very lucky to have an nhs. At least we do not have to walk miles and miles, sit in the scorching sun with flies bothering us to be told that we will have to come back tomorrow. Those that moan should maybe go and try living elsewhere to see how lucky we really are. I am not Biased about the nhs. I was downgraded last year as part of a cost cutting exercise in our NHS trust last year.I am not bitter, I still have a job.

  19. I love the English countryside and how green everything is, I even like how changeable the weather is which is saying a lot from someone who comes from a much warmer climate.

    I love tea and scones, Fish Pie with smoked fish. I love how so many very worthwhile projects are entirely run by volunteers. I love coming back from our short Summer stay in our homecountry and feel we're coming home.

  20. My son was baptised on St Georges day so a special day for us. I love the weather, never really predictable, a sunny summers day in England is a delight, as is a brisk walk on the beach in the winter. Last Night of the Proms, who can resist, either Live from the Albert Hall or picnicking at an event in the grounds of one of our wonderful stately homes. I love the seaside, both the beautiful beaches and even the slightly tacky bits, saucy postcards and little pots of seafood ate with a wooden fork. Friends of ours have moved abroad for the weather, and whilst I love to visit I don't think I could live anywhere else but England. And I learned the rules of rugby at the Rec too.

  21. What a great post! I live in Australia and I like to think that we have inherited many of those things you mentioned. We love the British humour here, much more aligned to our own, your classic British comedies are well loved here. You make me want to visit. Sounds like a great lifestyle!

  22. The traditional Great British pub and real ale.
    There's nothing like them anywhere else.
    Sadly there's very few of them left, the town centres are full of "fun" pubs and the village pubs are just about extinct. A reflection of beer taxation policies and smoking bans.

  23. I am crying with laughter. So, so funny.

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  25. I grew up on everything British. Our little island was actually called Little England.
    Others in the Caribbean would say we were more British than the British...alas, no more, we are heavily influenced by the US these days.
    I still love British comedies, food, books and my great British education.

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  27. My favourite things about life in Britain - so many!

    Asparagus, strawberries, Russet apples - everything in its proper season.
    Peas, eaten straight from the pod!
    Blackberrying and making jib jab.
    Taking a picnic somewhere nice on a rare sunny day.
    Spotting places in Wales where Doctor Who is filmed!
    Real ale and cider - especially down the pub on a rugby match day. I've moved to a town where rugby is much preferred to football, and it's so friendly.
    Live comedy. Often free to get in round my way, and quite unpredictable.
    Free festivals down the park with all the local bands and poets entertaining the crowds.
    Morris dancers and mummers.
    Walking round old churches and churchyards.
    Hot cross buns.
    Pikelets - or crumpets, if you will.
    Conkers. The world championship take place quite near my town.
    Free museums and art galleries to walk around.
    Free libraries.
    Colourful market stalls, the traders calling out as you walk by.
    Cycle paths that stretch down the spine of the island, like a secret road for the fit and adventurous!
    Town criers.
    Rock pools, crabbing, buckets and spades.
    Usborne spotters.
    Trilobytes just under your feet.
    Stately homes.
    Amateur dramatics.
    Blue Peter.
    The fish-sellers who go to pubs to sell little packs of crab sticks, cockles and scampi fries.
    Ice cream vans.
    Fish and chips with mushy peas or curry sauce.
    Pimms and lemonade with all the fruit and cucumber. Or Vimto if you're not drinking.
    Strong cheese, and pickle.
    Village cricket greens.
    Climbing over stiles.
    Public footpaths!
    Pasties :)

    1. Donna- just what is jib jab? Do you make it with the blackberries? Please do tell ;)

    2. Hello! Yes. You basically put the blackberries in some kind of receptacle and mash them with a stick and eat it off the stick. Purists don't add sugar and use a real stick, not a lolly stick.

  28. I loved Are You Being Served!

  29. I love everything about our lovely little Isle. I love that our accents are so varied from place to place, that different languages are spoken and kept alive. I love the green hills, the seaside and the big cities, we have so much in so small a space. I love the Royal family and the pride and ceremony they give our country.

    I love that in a day I can drive through it all and choose where to stop, we are very blessed. I even quite like our varied weather.

    And of course I love good old Fish and Chips straight from the chippy with lots of salt and a blob of mayo, and always, always, always to be followed when at the seaside by the obligatory 99.

  30. I love the seasons, the different counties, cream teas, fish and chips, bacon and eggs, mussels and Cromer crab. Hills and valleys, mountains and fells, big Norfolk skies. Tradition and ceremony, humour and laughter, I even appreciate queuing after being somewhere that doesn't. But I do have to agree, that oval ball chasers are far more engaging. Must be all down tk a better class of legs !!!

  31. Yes the NHS, celebrated in the Olympic Opening Ceremony!

  32. Well I am by birth a Welshman....,,
    But I did live in Yorkshire for 20 years
    Mr whippy!
    God love MAGGIE thatcher for inventing it

  33. The first thing i am going to do after i have unpacked my boxes when i have moved house is have tea and home baked cakes in my new garden xxx

  34. Brilliant post Froogs - my favourite things...BBC, John Lewis,Marks and Spencer,cream tea's, National Trust, Lake District my lovely city of Liverpool -something to do here every weekend and finally I agree with Jan Ward our NHS - so many people complain about it but where in the world could you be cared for free of charge.

  35. The ability to make a decent cup of tea, and have a nice but cheeky cake to go with it bliss x

  36. Good for you! Everyone should love their Homeland. Here in the US I am blessed--along with my oldest granddaughter--with being blessed on July 4th, our Independence Day. (Oops--maybe I shouldn't bring that up right now? LOL)

    1. Oops, i I mean born on the Fourth of July!

  37. I sincerely hope, one day, to get to "your side of the pond" and see your wonderful country for myself. I have to say you have only deepened this desire! Have you ever been to the US?

  38. I am from Indiana USA and I am looking forward to the time I can take a UK canal boat tour. My parents did awhile back and loved it. We plan to go with our daughter and future son in law in the soon to come years.
    We have the ''Britsh Channel'' here and I love it. I watch very little TV but when I do I will often be watching something there. It's wonderful to love where you live. I love the USA. Planet Earth is a beautiful place. When we lived near Victoria Island, Canada. I took my daughter to her first tea at the Empress. We often have ''tea'' at home. I have a lovely tea set that we use.


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