What provokes this post is that I went to the village here this morning and everyone I met, some 20 plus souls, all wore a hat. If one looks round in a big city, not many people wear hats, whatever the weather. Perhaps people fear that they will look foolish in a hat or that they'll leave it somewhere. Here in rural Cornwall, people seem to care less what they look like and care more about keeping warm. I can't ever remember an outing before today's where everyone I met wore a hat.
There has been some debate in political circles about what it means to be British. Yesterday I defied my mother and went for a walk. (I have a cold and had been strictly forbidden to go outside; this despite the fact that I am in my 60th year and might, just might, have some idea about how to look after myself.) I walked for 2 miles or so along a long beach some 3 miles from where my mother lives. Here was the definitive view of Britishness. Some 150 to 200 people were on the beach, 6 teenagers were swimming in the sea, there were games of cricket and football being played, kites were being flown and various wind powered buggies and boards were being piloted up and down the sand. Three gentlemen were wearing shorts under their windproof anoraks. Some 60 to 70 dogs were running, sniffing, chasing, playing and doing the things that dogs do.
Yesterday was 1st Jan 2008. The wind was cold, the sea must have been more so but the best, the absolute best aspect of the whole scene was that everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
I could not help thinking to myself that when Cecil Rhodes said that "to be born British is to win the first prize in the lottery of life" had got it absolutely right.
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