This Sceptred Isle…. This Wonderful Life

It has been a glorious St George’s Day.

The weather, to start with, was doing what it should at this time of year and gave us a beautiful sunny day.  I drove to Greenwich to have lunch with the Daughter finally – we hadn’t seen each other for five weeks as we both lead such busy lives! – and we had a great natter and catch up and as always it was just so lovely to see her.

And as the weather was so good everyone was sitting outside; all the terraces and grass area taken up with people who were finally able to eat their sandwiches and ice-creams in the open air, while watching the cable cars go over the Thames to the Excel Centre.  And it was great to see how many people were actually wearing a red rose to honour our Patron Saint’s Day.

It’s such a pity that we don’t celebrate our national day as people in other countries celebrate theirs.  Instead of holding street parties and flying our flag and having a day off to raise a glass of good English beer to toast all things English, we’re told that we can’t do it – often because it might offend people.  Who?  How could anyone be offended because a country celebrates its national day?  It happens all over the world but here, instead we celebrate St Patrick’s Day in our capital city and our ties with the West Indies through the Notting Hill Carnival.  I like both these events and celebrate alongside my Irish and West Indian friends, but I also want to recognise and rejoice in my own ethnicity; my Englishness.

As I was driving back home this afternoon, through the lovely Essex villages of Horndon-on-the-Hill and Dunton, full of flowers and trees in blossom, I thought about all the things that make us English – our self-deprecating sense of humour; our love of tradition; our sense of justice and fairness; our tolerance; our lack of ability to speak anything other than English.  Whenever I’ve been to Scotland, Ireland or Wales, I’ve always envied the people their sense of national identity.  Oh to have a family tartan!

But seeing the red roses appearing is encouraging and let’s hope that the movement will snowball and soon we can celebrate St George’s Day without the ridiculous accusations of jingoism and racism being hurled. 

The one thing that did spoil the day was the not very pretty sight of so many mums on the school run dressing for the beach.  I saw bikini tops and very short shorts.  What on earth will they wear when it gets hot?  Perhaps this lack of awareness of looking ridiculous is another English trait?  One that we share with American tourists.  When I lived in Spain, Spaniards would express their bewilderment that we and the Americans used our national flag as underwear.

But all in all, today was a good climax to what has been a hectic, eventful, exciting week.  I did the pre-pilot for Zeppetron/BBC on Friday which I thoroughly enjoyed and yesterday had a great audition for Elastoplast, which I really hope I’ve got.  My friend M, who I was in the Ladykillers with was also at the audition so it was great to see her and have a catch up.  On Saturday night I went to see Shake It Out, the show put on by my friend Julie Carter, the Principal of Tip Toe Stage School.  I had a great evening watching her talented students (see my review Tip Top Tip Toe Show in this journal) and it really cheered me up.

Sunday would have been Mum’s 88th birthday and it was poignant, obviously, as it was “her” first birthday without her.  Added to that, Sunday was also the day of the London Marathon, which always reminds me so much of Dad as he ran it several times raising loads of money for charity.  But I tried to stay positive and think of them lovingly and not with sadness and grief.  And the lovely messages I had from family and friends really lifted me, so thank you, everyone.

And we have great news on The Amazing Adventures of Maisie and Em.  We now have shoot dates – August – and Production Managers and it’s all systems go.  Hooray!  Hooray!

And in less than two weeks the Actors’ Factory @Stages Studios will have started.  Hooray again!

So, today was, indeed, a lovely day.  And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I got an e-mail from British Airways confirming that as per the EU Directive on airline delays, they were going to refund me $600 for the delay I suffered going out to Antigua on 26th March!!

The perfect end to a perfect day!  I love my life; I love being English.  Life is wonderful.

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