Saturday, 20 April 2013

Land of hope and glory


In which G.M. Norton waves the flag of St. George.


The 23rd April marks St. George’s Day, when England collectively Morris dances, feasts on the finest roast beef our local butchers can muster and Afternoon Tea becomes an all-day affair.

As I write this, I am stood in a queue, draped in a flag of St. George, eating fish and chips, with a cup of tea, outside in the rain. 

Shortly, the sun will put his hat on and I will enjoy a brisk game of croquet. With my hair slightly mussed after my sporty escapade, I will sip fragrant, amber Earl Grey tea in a delicate, china cup and tuck into cucumber sandwiches. These will quickly be followed by freshly-baked scones, covered in clotted cream and a big dollop of jam.


If it’s still sunny, I will take a trip to the seaside and inhale that bracing sea air; scoffing more fish and chips as I walk along the promenade. On the journey back home, I will pass the rolling hills of the countryside with little thatched cottages and a quaint country inn whose landlord later sends me on my way following an evening of merriment. 


Ladies and gentlemen, this is England and I love it.

For me, St. George’s Day stirs up these thoughts and imagery. I am proud to be English. I don’t care if St. George was from Turkey and never foot on English soil. I can also appreciate that St. George’s slaying of a dragon is rather hard to document (although so too is St. Patrick’s banishment of snakes from Ireland). 

Considering myself to be as English as cricket on the village green, you can image my surprise to discover that my ancestry extends to both Ireland and America. I was rather pleased as it now affords me the chance to rightfully revel in St Patrick’s Day and Thanksgiving celebrations; almost as much as I intend to mark St. George’s Day this coming Tuesday. Splendid! Although I am not sure my physician will share in my joy.


Have you any plans for St. George’s Day? Pray tell, dear reader.

I will now sign off and play The Kinks’ Village Green Preservation Society on my gramophone, a record described as a “concept album lamenting the passing of old-fashioned English traditions”. Well, it would be rude not to. 

Toodle-pip!

G.M. Norton
Protagonist of ‘Norton of Morton’

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