Friday, June 01, 2012

Jubilation Nation

You'd have to be living under a rock in this nation to escape knowledge that this weekend is the big'un: The Queen's Diamond Jubilee. The city is awash with Union Jacks, road closures, street parties, and a rubbish weather forecast (in keeping with the British theme). And to top it all off? A four-day weekend! I ask you, what could be better?

As this Land of Hope and Glory is my adopted country and one to which I've become a citizen, I hereby present my own Best of Britain, the very things I love.

In no particular order...

1. Free museums! I was astounded when I first realised 99.9 per cent of the wonderful museums you don't need to pay for. What a fantastic thing.

2. Drinking outside pubs. Drinking in parks. Heck, you could even drink on the tube until our kindly (ha!) Mayor put a stop to it. I like that alcohol beyond the bar confines isn't automatically vilified.

3. Black cabs. They cost a pretty penny, but they're roomy, plentiful, and the drivers knows the city like the back of their hands.

4. Markets. From Camden in the North to Borough in the South, London has a market for almost everything. They're colourful, vibrant, and perfect for people watching.

5. Rule Britannia. Seriously, what other country has a song that goes: 'Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves. And Britains never never NEVER will be slaves.' That never bit cracks me up. I get it, people. Never. Never ever.

6. Sticky toffee pudding. Moist sponge base, gooey toffee sauce . . . *slurp*

7. The Proms. Every summer for something like 100 nights, you can pay a fiver for access to the Royal Albert Hall to see legends of classical music. Over the past few years, I've heard Yo Yo Ma, among many others.

8. Red trousers. Okay, so it's a love-hate relationship. But it makes me giggle!

9. The fact that Canadians can simply exchange their driver's license without taking a test. Words cannot express how much this boosted my love for Britain. I was a bit of a danger on the roads until I figured out what half the signs meant, but . . .

10. Red double-decker buses. There's nothing better than grabbing a set at the front of the top deck and watching the city rush by.

So there you have it! What do you love about your country? (Besides freedom, la la la...)

52 comments:

  1. Have a great time this weekend and don't wander into the Tubes with your wine.
    I dig that America is the movie capital of the world! Lucky me.

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  2. One point for red trousers. And an extra one for velvet.

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  3. Oh, you lucky duck on the driving thing! I had to go through the whole process over here in France. It was hell. Public drinking, roomy cabs and free museums sound like my 'cup of tea';)

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  4. I LOVE London black cabs - they are so big lol! And sticky toffee pudding is pretty much the best thing ever. :D

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  5. I would love to be over there for this celebration. And now with your list, I think I'd like to move there. Have a great time!

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  6. Glad you like those things about the country I left behind. What do I like about Cyprus?

    Warm weather
    The fresh foodstuffs
    Driving license = I can drive on UK one.

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  7. Happy long weekend, Talli! I love that most of the museums are free. In my little corner of the UK I adore the beaches (Botany Bay, Kingsgate, in particular - it has featured in adverts!) and there's now a (free entry) Turner Contemporary art gallery so that's pretty interesting!

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  8. Hi Talli, what a glorious post! As a fellow expat, I am with you one hundred percent of the way in terms of the things you love about our chosen homeland. I would also like to add:
    **sweet milky tea (still horrifies my German relatives, no idea why), the ultimate cure for everything
    **Pimms (ditto), ditto
    **Most public holidays being on a Monday (=long weekend!)
    **Amazing coastlines
    **Hugs (everybody here hugs. I love it! Try hugging a German acquaintance in the street... or rather, don't!)
    **Equanimity, aka the infamous Stiff Upper Lip. Nothing is so bad that it deserves to cause a crisis. Not always true, but immensely calming!
    Happy Jubilee weekend, Talli and all!

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  9. I love all those things about England too, and when we were there (In October) a few years ago, the weather was beautiful. It's rubbish here right now too: lots of rain and cool but we needed the moisture.

    I HATE it that drinking is vilified here; if you even step your little toe outside a pub, they act like you committed a cardinal sin. It's ridiculous. So many rules instituted by prigs. What I like about my country?? The list is growing shorter these days, I'm sad to say, but I LOVE our national parks.

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  10. Sounds like so much fun! When we visited my brother-in-law's family there, it was during St. Patrick's Day. I remember being surprised by the amount of drinking all over London. People were in full swing celebration by lunchtime.

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  11. Sounds like so much fun. I'd love to visit London. Finding out about the free museums is a plus. I suppose one of the things I love about my country is the variety of any and everything you can find. Last weekend, at a farmers market in Tennessee, I found myself falling in love with dried veggie chips made by an Amish group.

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  12. Awesome top ten! I think I need to move England to the top of my to-visit list. Besides freedom, one of the things I love most about my country is diversity 'from sea to shining sea'.

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  13. Ughh yes, the Proms! I'm so jealous! I wish I could be in London for this celebration, it sounds amazing. I love England so much. Hope I can go back and visit again one day! Enjoy your weekend :)

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  14. I'd really love to experience part of that some day. *sigh*

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  15. How fun! I love that you can go the Royal Albert Hall for so cheap--that sounds amazing! Ahh, you keep making me want to move to London!

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  16. Okay, now I see what happens when you actually follow a Blog! And such a great one too :-) The Proms are indeed wonderful and there are quirky little late night concerts as well. Have a brilliant holiday weekend. x

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  17. The NHS! :-)

    Happy Jubilee LOOOOOOOOOOOONG weekend!! Yay! Take care
    x

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  18. Oh Talli, I love getting glimpses of your life in London like this. So delightful. What I love about America is the beauty of the land - just got back from touring national parks in the Southestern part of the United States and it's awesome.
    Karen

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  19. I love Britain's red double-decker bus! I wish America had those. I was playing the game Lego Creationary (It's like Pictionary, but instead of drawing, you build the picture with Legos and everyone guesses what you're building.) last weekend and had to build a double-decker. So easy and everyone knew what it was immediately!

    Have a happy and safe weekend, Talli!!

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  20. For me, it's Canada that's the adopted country, and yes, I love it. Let's see, top three:
    -"Oh Canada". It chokes me up every time I sing it (even without NeverNeverNever in it).
    -bald eagles swooping over my car when I drive the kids to school in the morning
    -the sheer friendliness of the people- like Nicky says, the contrast with Germans is quite stunning
    Have yourself an awesome Jubilee!

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  21. What a great list, Talli - makes me almost proud to be British! I didn't know that about the driving license. I love the NHS and probably lots of other things I can't think of at the moment. Have a good weekend!

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  22. I love London and always enjoy visiting that exciting city. I can't imagine how exhiliarating it's going to be for you living there this weekend in the midst of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations!

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  23. Such a list of things to love, Talli!

    Let's see, for me, I'd say it's the grand vistas of the country, so much variety in the Canadian landscape.

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  24. The Queen, of course, is a grand lady. Good on her to have reached this point of her life.

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  25. I was wondering what the heck this Jubilee thing was (the UK people in my company get Monday and Tuesday off!).

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  26. Tea. Cures everything.
    Trees. It really is a green and pleasant land.
    Wildlife. Our biggest natural predator is, I dunno, like a badger or something. And the worst an insect can do to you in Blighty is a wasp sting.
    How we've managed to fool the world for a few hundred years into forgetting that we are, as Doctor Who put it, "a damp little island on the edge of the world".
    Doctor Who. Obvs.
    Complaining. We're allowed to do it. And the worst things we have to complain about are the weather, and VAT on beer.
    Pomp and Circumstance. Love a good ceremony, I do.
    That the royal family gives us copious excuses to hang out bunting and drink champagne and shout, "Cheers ma'am!" in the middle of the day.
    What a fine country this is!

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  27. Talli, I am SO jealous that you are able to experience this summer first hand in London! As someone pointed out on CNN, in response to an annoying American asking why this was even newsworthy: Queen Elizabeth II is one of the most recognizable faces on the planet. She is a pioneer whose portrait will hang in galleries for thousands of years. I, on the other hand, am just another person.

    I'm VERY excited for the Jubilee weekend. I just wish I had cable access so I could watch it on TV. I hope you have a great weekend and post lots of pictures. This is such a big deal!!

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  28. Yes, I like the free museums and many other things about England too. I am not even a non-Brit! Have a good Jubilee weekend.

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  29. I love most things about England! Miss the space of 'back home' in Canada but other than that England fulfils me, and I am happy to call it my 'now home'.

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  30. Sounds like fun! If I ever make it over there to visit, I expect some "wine therapy". ;) Enjoy your weekend!

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  31. It is Queen's Birthday weekend here in NZ. Only 3 days and we have it every year. There hasn't really been any Jubilee hoopla here. Have a great weekend

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  32. London is going to be chaos this weekend! Hope you have an awesome time. There's not a whole lot going on in Cardiff this weekend, which is a shame.

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  33. I didn't know I'd be able to drive in England - that's awesome! Well, as long as I remembered which side of the road to use :)

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  34. I love the Proms, I was born about 20 minutes by train from London and as a child visited all the attractions.
    Here on the South coast there is much jubilation taking place....hope the weather is reasonable.

    Yvonne.

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  35. Have a wonderful weekend Talli, I so wish I could be home in London for the Big Event but I am still cat-sitting. I shall be watching the telly all weekend though.

    Coincidentally, I too was born in Canada though I have lived most of my life in England and think of myself firmly as British.

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  36. I love a long list of things but one I appreciate almost every day is the wide-open spaces. Miles and miles of woodlands, ranges, and lots of native wild life.

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  37. What a lovely post. I love that we have the NHS if I lived anywhere else my insurance would have ran out by now. I do think visitors to the UK should pay to visit museums and bring in much needed cash. I been in place where locals or country residents don't pay and everyone else does.Or am I just being mean?

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  38. Hope everyone has a great weekend! I am in Lanzarote so very much more muted bank holiday... I miss the green fields of England and the beautiful countryside generally. And good old fashioned English pasteurised milk! We mostly have uht!!

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  39. Jubilation Nation - your title but our song/video!!!!!
    With over 3000 hits in just a week i highly recommend you watch this and if you could link to it on here that would be gggrrrrreat!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7WPZ8yv85Y
    #JN

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  40. London life sounds fabulous!

    What do I love about my country?

    Eclectic food menus (especially Chicago pizza!), huge variety of sights & sounds, music, and most of all, the freedom to be who and what I want.

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  41. I'm loving this weekend and heading out to a street party tomorrow. It's just a shame that it's forecast rain for the day.

    What do I love? I love that we have a monarchy and that we can all come together as we are doing this weekend. I'm feeling all very British this weekend. :)

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  42. Love your list, Talli! I don't recall seeing any red trousers, thank goodness!

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  43. Well, this post lit up my day. So much joy and gratitude, and its justified by that kick-ass list of reasons why. Thanks for spreading the love, Talli!

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  44. What a wonderful list Talli! Loved it!
    I have London and red double deck bus on my list!

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  45. Hi Talli. This was a delightful little post. It's not a nice look when ex-pats or whatever you're called even after you become a citizen, rubbish their adopted country. What I love about Oz? A gazillion things, but I love the way so many Aussies will be Queen watching this weekend too! Such a failure, the Republican movement, lol! Rule Britannia, Rule! I'm just watching the flotilla floating on the soggy seas...

    Denise

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  46. I just got mad at my country because we can't drink in the park and I don't get a four-day weekend. Happy Diamond Jubilee!

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  47. Hi Talli,

    I watched the Jubilee celebration on the TV. Our small nation was a British colony and became a Republic just recently. But give us royals and news about them anytime!

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  48. Great post, Talli.

    What I love most about Britain is our history. But then I am a bit of a geek.

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  49. I love your list! And I can't believe I keep forgetting to tune into the Jubilee coverage here. I love that stuff.

    You're going to laugh at me, but I was so surprised that they CHARGE here for museums. It's supposed to be donation-based, isn't it? (*snort*) And see, I grew up on so-La. You can walk all over the place in NOLA w/a "go cup" in your hand. Baton Rouge is pretty similar. Just don't get in your car! ;p

    And I would be all over that DL exchange. Can you believe they made us take a TEST when we moved to Indy? OK, maybe that part about the "go cups" got out... :D <3

    (never never NEVER! *snort* ;p)

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  50. It sounds an odd, but fun celebration!
    The thing I like the best about my country is the natural beauty of the place.

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Coffee and wine for all!