Wednesday, 23 April 2014

St George's Day

Well today is St George's Day. A day celebrated in England not even a little bit as enthusiastically as St Patricks Day. Why is this? Don't get me wrong, I've nothing against Ireland but I find it a little amusing that we celebrate the national day of Ireland over the national day of England. Then it hit me... This is what's so fantastic about England. We're so self deprecating that we don't want to celebrate George for fear of being branded a nationalist, we're such a vibrant multi-cultural society that we'd rather drink Guinness with someone whose great aunt was born in Ireland than toot our own horn.

England is a melting pot of nationalities and cultures and religions. For me, that's probably my favourite thing. For the most part we're an accepting and tolerant society and long may it continue this way. However, just for today, please allow me to share with you my favourite things about England that are English. The reasons why, once a year, we can head down the pub and raise a pint of ale and boast about this little island in Northern Europe...

  • The Beatles
  • 1966 and all that
  • The Royal Family
  • Charles Dickens
  • William Shakespeare
  • Charles Darwin
  • The spirit of the Blitz
  • Winston Churchill
  • Dunkirk
  • D-Day
  • Bobby and Jackie Charlton
  • Geoff Hurst
  • Queen
  • Paul Weller
  • Yorkshire
  • Water Desalinisation
  • The Sewing Machine
  • The Christmas Card
  • The Invention of TV
  • The World Wide Web
  • Sir Francis Bacon
  • The Steam Turbine
  • The Humber Bridge
  • Bangers and Mash
  • Brown Sauce
  • Fish and Chips
  • A Full English Breakfast
  • The Lawn Mower
  • Gravy
  • Isambard Kingdom Brunel
  • Sir Isaac Newton
  • The Geordie Lamp
  • Michael Faraday
  • Stephen Hawking
  • Football
  • Rugby
  • Cricket
  • Snooker
  • Tennis
  • Darts
  • Bowls
  • The Jet Engine
  • The Great Western Railway
  • McLaren F1
  • The Hovercraft
  • The Coastguard
  • Our Police Force
  • Our Fire Service
  • The Scouting Movement
I'm sure there's many more I haven't mentioned so feel free to comment. But tonight, just tonight, don't have that Belgian Lager or that take away. Go to your local pub, raise a pint of London Pride above your pie, mash and liquor, then toast England.

And tomorrow we can be British and Europeans again.

Happy St George's Day.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

The Grand National

Alright so it's not in London, in fact it's a long way away in Aintree, near Liverpool but this weekend is the long awaited Grand National. The FA Cup Final of horse racing. I'd imagine true racing fans find it a bit annoying that there's this day where everyone jumps on the wagon and betting shops are filled with once a year experts but for one day only, the sport comes to the attention of every living room in the country.

It's the one day a year when everyone allows themselves a bet. From your nan having a sneaky £1 on a horse and inexplicably winning to 20-somethings in pubs who've read the Racing Post over a fry up, laying £50 over 12 different each way "long shots".

And the tragedy is, calling this race is damned near impossible. Forty riders over 4 miles and a prize of over half a million pounds to the winner makes this race one of the most competitive in the world. Reputations are won and lost over Aintree's fences and some poor horses race their last race in this classic.

Of course, with all the interest around the day, parking is in short supply. And let's be honest, who wants to have the car for a day at the races? Hopefully you'll end the day with some champagne! The only way to enjoy the National in true luxury is to be chauffeur driven, to the door, and have your car waiting for you when all the races have been run.

Chirton Grange, through partners in the area can supply a car for the day at some of the most competitive rates going. Click here to make a booking.