Posted on April 16 2003
We are proud to be British, and this includes queuing, drinking tea at regular intervals, taking a special interest in the weather, and celebrating with the Queen.
Taking a Sunday stroll along the Southbank in the pouring rain, I was amused by all the couples: woman clutching umbrella, man pretending not to notice as he became increasingly drenched. I'm sure he would say it was only a bit of drizzle. Whether this was a case of English gentlemanliness or macho stiff upper lip, there was certainly a pattern. Anyhow, the rain did not deter the English spirit.
The poster below: Summer sales quickly reached by Underground, shows that rain does not put off the British shopper, and we love a good queue when a sale is involved. The women's loos, Wimbledon, or the January sales, queuing almost becomes the purpose rather than a means to an end. The satirist George Mikes wrote in 1946: An Englishman, even if he is alone, forms an orderly queue of one. Well it's just polite, isn't it!
Where would we be without the queues and the rain though? The British love a good moan and we love to talk about the weather. We'll lament the gloomy clouds until the sun comes out but we'll enjoy doing it. Then the moment the sun does come out we'll be in the parks skipping work and slapping on the sun cream â€“ that is until it gets too hot to bear and we start discussing when the rain will finally return.
As a nation our opinion of the Queen is divided, but that is similar to our love hate relationship with weather and queuing. The Queen's birthday is on April 21 st, but wherever you stand on your opinion of the Royals, she kindly makes allowances for our British weather through celebrating her Birthday with the public officially with Trooping the Colour on the 15th June when sunshine is more likely. That isn't to say it won't rain in June though any more than in April, but we'll still be joining in the celebrations, umbrellas at hand.
The Queen's real Birthday is marked by a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park, a 21 gun salute in Windsor Great Park and a 62 gun salute at the Tower of London. After all that noise I'm sure she enjoys a nice calming cup of tea. Saying that though, tea definitely doesn't require an occasion, although mighty special. We Brits will use any excuse for a cuppa. Rough day at work? Just got to work? Need to ponder the meaning of life or just discuss the weather? Anything can be fixed with a good old brew. So, if the April showers persist until June or even further still, don't worry, just pop on the kettle and have a good chat about it in true British fashion.
Dates for your Diary
April 21 st â€“ The Queen's 87th Birthday
April 23 rd â€“ St George's Day