As an English person, I have, as do most of my compatriots, a constant radar tracked on the weather. If I am not rejoicing at a sudden spell of sunshine then I’m complaining about it raining at the worst moment… like when it is imperative that you look your most brilliant but then find that it buckets it down with rain just when you remember that you forgot your umbrella… which would have been useless anyway because the flimsy thing would have broken a few wings in the unforgiving gusts of wind which is also picking up your skirt and showing your knickers to everyone. We have such a fraught relationship with the weather; we say that if we do take an umbrella then it won’t rain, and, conversely, that if we wear a light summer dress on a summer day then we will not get summer sunshine… it’ll probably rain. We say, if you cannot think of anything to say, then talk about the weather, it is our constant go-to. And lastly, we have developed so many phrases to try and accurately describe what the weather is doing at any one particular stage, so, as mentioned, when it is bucketing it down with rain, we mean there is just so much of the stuff falling from the sky that we may as well turn a full water trough on ourselves, we’d be no wetter!
This all being said, I will add that I love my country and, if I had to make the choice, England is the country I’d marry. But why? Well, it is like a relationship. Sometimes you can be dating someone who is just physically so beautiful that they have never had to work on developing an interesting personality. Harsh, I know, I’m exaggerating, mostly. But, it’s true. England is beautiful, sometimes, but it might not catch peoples breath like the mountains of Switzerland might do, or the intricate beauty of Venice, or the hot clarity of the Caribbean. No, for me, what it does, is it makes me laugh. It can come down to the same thing in a relationship between two people; when the passion subsides a little and everything eventually goes south like melting wax, laughter can remain, forever. I’m an advocate for laughter.
Many people move themselves abroad to live with all-year-round sun, warmth and relaxation. On the other hand, youthful travellers may spend years globe trotting for excitement and attraction, leaving their birth country and it’s apparent lack of foreign thrills for years until they eventually think, right, suppose I should get a job and settle down. Does that not paint England into the unfortunate image of the ball and chain that demands that you be sensible and serious? England suffers under such an estimation.
For me, holidays are just that, holidays. And I adore them. Every week I consider where my finances might stretch to take me. (Then when I finally make up my mind the flight prices have soared to join the plane at 35 000 feet!) But I love going somewhere and discovering new places and cultures and, err, food! We speak of people coming to living in England because of our democratic laws, the NHS, schooling… it is a nation that politically does it’s best to take care of it’s residents. But there is more to England than that, surely. Alright, so it doesn’t necessarily have the hot, sexy shores of Brazil, or the cool beauty of Finland, but it is brimming with character and a calmly humble beauty. The yellow stone streets of Bath are enchanting and the rolling hills of the Lake District look like a giant’s patchwork quilt, laid out but un-ironed.
So yes, England undoubtedly has it’s physical charms. But, as I said at the start, I love it for something other than its modest beauty. I love that I can be sat at my window, bathed in the sun that seeps through the glass, then, in a matter of minutes, I can be sitting in the shade of clouds and be listening to the war cry of the rain assaulting the front of my building. Yes, England and it’s wonderfully unpredictable weather makes me laugh. It’s not convenient, but it is spontaneous. An English wedding will turn many into stubborn fools; women pat down the back of their dresses, discouraging it’s drunken dancing in the wind and the groom will try not to be strangled by the bride’s excitable veil. But, no matter what, come rain or shine, they will get that group photo outside! A sunny summer’s day can be truly glorious, and, I think equally, dashing around in the rain, who’s touch makes every surface smell muggy and earthy, is just brilliant too. Just like a romantic relationship, England has it’s charm, but it will also, always, do it’s best to keep things exciting, to surprise you when you need cheering up, and, oh yes, to make you laugh.
So there, dear England, you will never fail to make me smile. I Do.