Things to celebrate

Punting Ok, I admit, perhaps it is a tad early to write England off in their quest for world cup glory on the strength of one game. But just in case celebrating our victory in South Africa seems a bit of a long stretch away, or even our migration to the next round of the tournament, I thought we could ponder on things that we have to celebrate instead. (Incidentally, if someone could let me know which other teams play in white so I can get the pleasure of imagining it is England playing that would be splendid. Germany were a good start. My theory on following teams who celebrate the Queens birthday was shattered last night).

So there I was, lying in the sun, thinking of all the wonderful things that are not football related that we can be happy about. It is, for example, practically summer. In the Northern Hemisphere at least. The denizens of the UK do not in fact believe that Australia gets cold, or that even if they do get cold spells, it is not worthy of mention as there is always somewhere in the country that is warm. Which seems to be a fair point. Anyway, summer time in the UK.

Admittedly this can be a patchy affair, with glorious days during the week, teasing you with promise, followed inevitably by rain at the weekend. Such is life. Still, on the days when it is sunny and you get to go outside, there is nothing quite like an English summer, sitting outside, quaffing Pimms and listening to the neighbours mow the lawn. Interestingly, laws exist restricting lawn mowing in Germany on public holidays and weekends so as not to disturb the peace. How terribly efficient of them.

Other things to celebrate about the whole England and summer thing then. The cities, for the large part, and yes, there may be a hint of rose tinted spectacleness going on here, are rather pretty. Lots of old buildings and stuff to wander around gawking at. Picnics in the park, if you happen to live near a park. Punting! Well, yes, punting is restricted to Oxford and Cambridge for the most part, but who is to say you couldn’t go for a punt on the shopping trolley infested canals of Manchester? If the cities don’t float your boat, then the countryside, filled with rolling greenery and quaint dry stone walls (if you live near quaint dry stone walls that is) are nice too. 

Pubs. Beer gardens in particular. Is there a greater joy in the world than finding a spiffing beer garden in the sun, drinking oddly named ales all afternoon, and falling asleep by eight in the evening suffering from third degree burns because we don’t believe in sun cream? I think not. I’ll certainly drink to it.

The perennial British tradition of BBQ’ing is never to be excluded from this time of year. Questionably sourced meats, charcoaled tenderly over a fire that becomes just the perfect temperature for cooking about ten minutes after you’ve finished, accompanied by beer and wine that have gone a bit warm in the unexpected heat. Or all of this done indoors because it started to rain which wasn’t forecast. Tremendous stuff.

And of course, who could forget the other great sporting event of the year, the strawberry and cream filled spectacle of Wimbledon, where we can all get very excited about having a decent English British player for the first time in ages, who will probably get right through to the final and then lose to Federer. Wonderful, gripping, media frenzy stuff. Secretly, I think we prefer losing at stuff, it gives us something to gripe about as we bask on our punts sipping Pimms as butterflies waft pass in the breeze. Now I have lost the plot.

I will be popping over to the UK a couple of times this summer where I hope to recreate all of the above before scurrying off to New Zealand to see what their summer is all about. I have also recently learnt that the Hobbit is in need of a new director, so perhaps a new career option could open up for me. Here’s hoping. Anyway, I hope summer will be a wonderful time for everyone, football aside :

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