There are few things I miss while living on the opposite side of our world but one thing is British Real Ale. Pardon my grin on the photo above but when you occasionally get the treat of finding such a thing in a bar in fairly remote New Zealand, especially with the distinctive taste of Old Speckled Hen, you just have to have it (and ignore the cost).
Nobody brews beer like they do in Britain, and while foreigners may scoff at our enjoying it warm, they often forget or are unaware that it comes straight out of a cold cellar and is gloriously not gassy.
You can badge your lagers as beers, you can call them “craft”, you can pack them full of hops, you can persuade yourself it is artisan…but you’ll never make them as varied or as interesting as the British do.
I feel like the national anthem is about to play after all of that!
(Enjoy Responsibly. Drink in Moderation. Acting Like a Prize Ass while Inebriated is Not Acceptable. Drinking While Pregnant Can Harm Your Baby.)
I had a wonderful moment today when 3 of my dear colleagues (Cathy, Sue and Kath) bought me a gift as I leave work tomorrow in the UK…and what a delightful surprise as I unwrapped the following…all adorned with the Union Flag…
3. Luggage Tags
5. Key Ring & Bottle Opener
Who would’ve thought you could get tissues branded with your nation? Sneezing will be done with pride from now on…and beer opened with metaphorical hand on heart. Fabulous gifts and I shall endeavour to include them into NZ photos when I get there!!
Anyway, it got me thinking about national pride and what it means to be British and proud of it. As a nation, we are quite a cynical breed, a type of humour (especially in Northern Britain) which some nations don’t quite understand. We are quick to criticise ourselves and make fun of our response to many of life’s challenges…so what is there to be proud of?
I immediately thought of the London Olympics in 2012…that was something to be proud of – what a show! How about some of what we have given to the world…our history perhaps? (You would have to turn a blind eye to the warring and other such enforced colonisation I guess). All of the sports we have given the world? How about our contribution to the arts, music and film? How about our rich tapestry of local dialects? How about our Queen (who I saw in Leeds once) and the Commonwealth? How about simply the down to earth, delightful people that you meet every day who make your life a pleasure?
I am no philosopher, and perhaps my time in New Zealand will help me to learn what it means to be British…especially if I eventually become a Kiwi! We shall see…