This is the country that gave us bangers and mash, "cashier number two please", the mini skirt design, B&Bs and thousands of Kings and Knights fighting for or against God knows what. This is the country where you drive on single track roads, where you've got history left, right and centre (sometimes too much when you think about it) and where you enjoy a splendid lunch in a lovely country pub which is probably a lot older than most constitutions in Europe. The pub, that is, not your lunch. This is the country where you learn how important patience, politeness and calmness in life are, where people are saying "I'm terribly sorry but..." all the bloody time, where you eat beans on toast and where you sit at seaside piers that have seen glorious days decades ago.
This is the country where you are used to single-glazed windows, faulty heating systems, separate hot and cold bath taps and miles, stone, feet, inches and pints because that's the way it is and that's the way it always has been and that's the way it always will be. This is the country that gave us the Routemaster and the Triumph, the Mini, the Lotus, the MG, the Austin Healey, the Jag and the Rolls and the Bentley and a crappy train system which is so blinkin’ old and still works, ah well, and black cabs, that are always there when it all goes terribly wrong. Bless.
This is the country where the idea of the World Wide Web was born and where The Beatles, The Who, the Sex Pistols, John Peel, Madness, The Smiths, Glastonbury and countless, countless incredibly amazing bands and unique music styles came from and where every kid form the age of five knows what "The Blues" or the "Old Trafford" mean. This is the country where you enjoy the most delicious Sunday roast, where you've got mates, literally minutes after you arrive in the country and where you're "love"-d at the local shop, where you can order "coronation on white please" for lunch or fish'n'chips in your chippy and you know that American football is for wimps because rugby is the one and only game.
This is the country that created the importance of the word "fair" and of the expression "fair enough" and that believes in one massive health system, the NHS, a health insurance that looks after each and everyone of us and oh, did I mention those most excellent writers that were born here? And this is the country where you can spend months exploring the most beautiful countryside without ever getting bored for a single day.
This is the country that created a comedy born out of this unique sense of humour, because life is short and if you can't laugh about yourself and about almost anything in life, what’s it all about anyway? This is the country where you queue and you order an all day breakfast, all day long, either just because you adore it or you simply got hammered last night. This is the country where you drive on the right side, which is without a doubt the left-hand side, where you speed through thousands of roundabouts because traffic lights are bloody useless anyway – you know what I mean, don't you?
This is the country where you can place a bet on almost everything that might or might not happen. This is the country where certain weird and wonderful people are addressed as "The Right Most Honourable", and if they turn out to be not at all honourable, you can always attack them with the almighty force of British Comedy, big time, and of course this is the country that created an Empire and then lost it because it could not administrate it and whether this is bad or good is to everyone's guess.
This is the country that lives and thrives because it is built on an island, and if you don't understand the sea you will never ever understand the country or the people who live on it. And this is the country that doesn't excel in that many aspects. Instead its used to being second or third, but what the hell. And still this country seems to think that it should play a role as a world power and apart from those stupid politicians every inhabitant of this country knows deep down that it doesn't work. It just doesn't. But in this country one learns how one should lose. With dignity. And with pride. And with a good laugh, for crying out loud.
This is the country with endless miles of stone walls and beautiful hedges, gorgeous Victorian and Georgian houses and fireplaces, millions of castles and listed buildings, and this is the country that gave us Oxbridge, (God knows why) and malt whisky, real ales and a real headache by declaring silly pub closing times, as if those would anyone keep from drinking, yeah right, and by playing endless hours of cricket. What a fine sport that is.
This is the country where you "put the kettle on, love" to enjoy your afternoon tea, while HM The Queen is drinking the same kind of tea at exactly the same time and that brand of tea is promoted by chimps. In fact, this is the country with probably the best ads in the world. This is the country that gave us companies like John Lewis which is owned by its staff or Selfridges who created the claim "the customer is always right" or Marks and Sparks who invented the sell-by date, and eighty percent of all the blokes are wearing underwear from M&S anyway because it simply lasts forever and you can't really argue with that, can you?
And this is the country where when everything goes pear-shaped you just go down the pub and spend some quality time meeting your mates for a pint or just listening to the locals going on and on and on about what seems to be worth discussing. Not. And this is the country that created expressions like "dear" that you really can’t translate, and that are so important once you've discovered the true meaning behind them.
This is the country where I live, where I work, where I pay my tax. This is the country where I love and where I am loved. This country is so far from perfect. But this country is, as far as I am concerned, the best place in the world. I’ve said it before and I am more than happy to say it again: this is my country. And I love it.