Five experiences I love having in England

The Guardian is attempting to convert all of us from being boring old cynics, blabbing on about how much we hate England, to a country full of optimistic patriots in love with where we live. Should the Guardian stop trying to fight the great British tradition for complaining, or could there be a turn around in public thinking where in conversation we begin to refer to “the government” as “our government”?

As part of this attack on our outlook for our country I was asked by the Guardian to talk about things I love about England. I think you can guess what the first will be..

  • Enjoying the great outdoors on a bike
  • Chavs
  • Being inside when it’s raining outside
  • Soaking up the atmosphere in London on a Friday evening
  • Singing as loud as I can at music festivals
  • Participating in an orderly queue

I know there are 6 there but who doesn’t love taking part in an orderly queue? Having travelled all round Europe, I can safely say that no-one knows how to queue better than the English. There should be an X factor style competition with people forming orderly queues with judges to rate the best queue. If there’s anything I love more than queues it’s how the word “queues” is spelt. Anyway, back to the serious business…..

Enjoying the great outdoors on a bike

Cars harm the environment, make the streets unfriendly to people and put a strain on the finances – money that I would rather spend on other things. So I choose to cycle. Luckily, I live in England and I have plenty of places I can go cycling. My favourite place happens to be the streets of London. I’m always discovering something new that I would never of come across sitting in a car or on the tube. If London isn’t for you then there is plenty of beautiful English countryside and canal routes to cycle along. My next mini-holiday in England will a trip to the white cliffs of Dover.

Bicycle advertising campaign showing female cyclist enjoying the great outdoors

Chavs

Before I proceed, for anyone who does not live in England the modern age Chav is someone who enjoys dressing in sports gear when not performing sports, and is generally bad tempered and unruly. What I love about the unique “Chav experience”, that does not exist in any other part of the world, is how clever they think they are using words such as “innit” and “safe”. I think in a way it makes me feel better about myself and creates a strong community between all those who are not chavs. When I first meet someone these days the first thing I think is: “good, he is not a chav”. A recent rebranding for London even suggested we should use chavs as the brand of the capital:

 london brand

Being inside when it’s raining outside

You are sitting inside, feeling nice and warm in your slippers, the fire is on and you look outside the window watching the rain come down. Listening to the sound of a raindrops hitting the window. One of the things I love about England is that you can have this unforgettable experience on most days of the year!

rain on window with heart drawn

Soaking up the atmosphere in London on a Friday evening

When cycling around London on a Friday evening, after everyone has finished work, the atmosphere is absolutely fantastic. You simply cannot help getting caught up in it and watching people chat enthusiastically about their weekend plans. This is what makes Friday my favourite day of the week in London.

people outside pub

Singing as loud as you can at music festivals

England has a huge choice of music festivals from the hippie Glastonbury to the hardcore Download festival. If you couple this with the thriving music scene the country has then you are onto a winner. I have attended a couple of festivals in the past and you always end up having a fantastic time mingling with like minded people. There is nothing better than watching your favourite band and singing along with the rest of the crowd.

music festival

What are your favourite three things?

Images courtesy of: Ashley Rose, MrLerone and RR and Camera.

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

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6 Responses to Five experiences I love having in England

  1. Drew 23/09/2009 at 8:19 am #

    Oh man – that’s quite sad.. so the only thing there that is unique to England is chavs?

    I was just hoping for a list of things that would remind me what England does better or really makes it special.

    I think Brit humour (sharp, fast, cheeky and often self-deprecating) is a very strong brand and those I meet in other lands remark on how much it has influenced the US. Even that’s not exclusively English of course.

    Well.. I suppose we do form a really good orderly queue, as you say. We’re not alone in that but yeah we can be proud of it.

  2. Andreas 23/09/2009 at 9:15 am #

    Hehe – you gotta love hating them!
    I could definitely have put British Humour on there – having lived in Greece for a couple of years I remembered how much I missed British humour, and could not stop laughing when I got back.

  3. Mule 24/09/2009 at 10:52 am #

    You probably forgot England’s lash culture…

  4. David Hembrow 25/09/2009 at 6:58 pm #

    Please assure me that the rebranding thing is a joke…

  5. Peter Lyons-Lewis 26/09/2009 at 1:07 am #

    What about the orderly queue that you can’t actually see? To picture this think of turning up at your bus stop to find that there’s a random gathering of people, but when the bus turns up everyone gets on in the order they arrived at the bus stop. I love it.

  6. Andreas 27/09/2009 at 11:32 am #

    The rebranding thing is actually happening but I don’t think the innit will make the final cut!
    Peter: I think it’s absolute poetry!

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