This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.
William Shakespeare, 'King Richard II' Act 2 scene 1
England is the land of my birth; I am a son of England. It is my home.
Before you think that I am some one dimensional anglophile I am well aware that England has throughout its history - as with many other countries - engaged in some issues that I am far from proud of. However, I was not involved in that past and I am a child of the present. As the saying goes
So why do I love it so much when others are quick to deride it?
Well, it isn't just about people or culture. It is about the physical place itself, a precious stone set in the silver sea as Shakespeare said.
I especially adore the English countryside. I walk in it whatever the season and never fail to be uplifted. I love the magical feeling of a cold winter's night when the deep crisp snow is lying across the quiet fields. I cherish the faraway hoot of an owl and the cry of the fox. I love to walk through an English meadow admiring the rich variety of flora and fauna or sit around on a bale of straw at dusk during harvest time. I stroll through the beautiful woodlands in autumn and spring, and enjoy nature's riches there. Aah, it is tremendous to be in England.
We have huge appeal around the globe despite the negative rubbish that some people choose to dwell upon when the name 'England' is mentioned.The point of this page is to celebrate England, it's people, customs and heritage. There are other great countries in the world, and my life would be all the poorer for not having visited some of them, far and wide but this is a page for MY country...your country too.
Many think it is the English that always dislike the other home nations but watch a video of the football Match England v Wales from 26 March 2011 and listen to the Welsh booing the National Anthem of England - which is God save the Queen, the same Queen that is their monarch too. There was hatred in that booing but we are used to it (and probably they are too). Still, we won the match 2-0 with great ease so the last word was had by the English in their own back yard.
I believe with great conviction that we should not be afraid to be proud and show it now and then, despite others thinking that we are arrogant. It is time to reverse this perverse situation and once again be proud of our nation, proud of (much of) our past and proud to be able to shape the future. When I hear people say "I am ashamed of this country" it annoys me intensely. There's nothing wrong with the country, it's the people in it that make or break it. A different country will not be built by indifferent people.
There's reason to be cheerful, after all, to have been born English is to have won the lottery of life.
ST.GEORGE'S DAY IS ON APRIL 23rd. Wear a rose or a badge with pride. Put the flags out and celebrate being English.
Left: Susan and I celebrating St.George's Day 2011.
Right: This magnificent card has been shown in the Royal Society of St George magazine. It was made by those wonderfully talented people at
DID YOU KNOW - THE KILT WAS INVENTED BY AN ENGLISHMAN? Before the Scots arrive at my door with burning torches and demands for my Sassenach head, it's apparently true. In the eighteenth century Thomas Rawlinson (An Englishman) noted that his employees north of the border wore highland dress that was authentically 'cumbrous and unwieldy' so he got the tailor from the local (English) army regiment to design something more suitable. The tailor came up with a kilt design and the rest is history. Not that the Scots would like this or even agree with it but a myth is as good as a mile.
Here's a superb quote, from February 2011 before the England v France rugby match at Twickenham in the six nations championship
"I have been reading a biography of Winston Churchill but I left the book at home because I was starting to like the English"
SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL
"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead! In peace there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility: But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger; Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, Disguise fair nature with hard favoured rage; Then lend the eye a terrible aspect. On, on you noblest English! Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof; Fathers that, like so many Alexanders, Have in these parts from morn till even fought, And sheathed their swords for lack of argument. And you, good yeomen, Whose limbs were made in England, show us here the mettle of your pasture. I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, Straining upon the start. The game's afoot: Follow your spirit; and upon this charge Cry "God for Harry! England and Saint George".
(Henry V - Henry urges his men into the attack at the Siege of Harfleur)
Although I have never professed to being a dedicated royalist, I was delighted to have had some 30 years of public service recognised by being invited to the Queen's Royal Garden Party in July 2009. Susan and I had a tremendous day and we were privileged to have been to Buckingham Palace and had tea in the gardens. The cakes were so cool - they had royal crowns on them and tasted delicious. Yes, there were cucumber sandwiches and the tea was excellent too, as one would expect.
I never thought, as a back-street Brummie that one day I would be rubbing shoulders with Royalty but life has a habit of springing surprises. The queen was fantastic too. She is so energetic for her advancing years and always looks the part.It was all very English (British if you like) and it never rained so it couldn't have gone better.
I have the official DVD of the day but I can't see myself on it yet...there's a lot of people there!!
They think it's all over...it is now. How much more English do you want? We have at least won a world cup and even if you did discount THAT goal the scoreline would still have finished in our favour. Still, the Germans got their own back in the last world cup didn't they when we scored and it wasn't allowed. 'Ours' was clearly in whereas there was and still is debate about 1966. I tell no fibs when I say that I played in the same football team as Hurst as a kid. He visited us somewhere (I have no recollection where that was but I think in Shropshire) and he picked me as one of the kids on his side - he passed to me AND I scored. I think he quite liked me until he asked if the claret and blue I was wearing was West Ham United. I told him in no uncertain terms that it was Aston Villa. He was not amused.
Posted on 27 August 2012
Attending the English Celebration St George's Day concert in Birmingham in April 2012. We had a fantastic evening and it wasn't all pomp and circumstance. We had male voice choirs, a School Choir, Solo singers, a black country comedian, African Music, Brass band music and more. We will be back next year for sure...