Great Britain

What’s Happening To British Food?


First Great Britain had a brilliant national cuisine utilising all of the colours and flavours of a country with four distinct seasons (and you could eat a swan). Then it was wrecked by two devastating wars and the arrival of bullying supermarkets. Americans teased us about our national food, forgetting that rationing rules shuttered restaurants […]

The Dreamliner Of Space


When space was still the ultimate goal and perfect fantasy, Concorde was a dream come true. Now a group of Concorde fans have raised £120 million to try and get one of the decommissioned Concorde aircraft back in the skies by 2019. They’re ex-captains, ex-charterers and people passionate about Concorde, and the models they want are […]

Britain’s Good And Bad Coastal Towns


I once ran this shot from the film ‘Genevieve’, which shows Madeira Terrace, the unique wrought-iron Victorian glory (the world’s longest) that defined Brighton’s shore. Now after decades of council infighting and neglect it has passed beyond repair – so it is to be torn down. Wherever you live – especially if you don’t live […]

Always Reigns In England


An extra post today because Queen Elizabeth II became the longest reigning monarch in 1,000 years of British history at 5.30pm. That’s 63 years and 216 days on the throne, overtaking Queen Victoria. I’m not much of a royalist when it comes to those in the lower branches, but Elizabeth II has been there all of […]

A Surfeit Of Lampreys?


I blame Henry I. First our rivers were filled with these prehistoric river monsters, and then they weren’t after he died from eating a surfeit of the buggers. The lamprey is a really fugly snake-like creature that was around 200 million years before the dinosaurs. It’s the world’s oldest living vertebrate, and was once a […]

Things To Make & Do


Never begin a sentence ‘When I was young…’ and never continue with; ‘we made our own amusement.’ However, when I was young we made our own amusement, from which something fell out of the Jamboree Bag of my mind; giveaways in British comics, one of which was a piece of cardboard folded from corner to […]

Does It Matter That Rhyming Slang Is Brown Bread?

Dick van Dyke as Bert the chimney sweep in Mary Poppins

To any Englishman over 40 years of age, a curry can still a ruby and a suit a whistle (it’s male-centric), but apparently the Youngs have killed off rhyming slang, despite the invention of many colourful additions to the street slang – remember Brian Clough, Bobby Moore, Pete Tong and Gary Glitter?  According to new […]

Another Library Reveals Its Treasures Online


Museums and libraries can rarely display much of their collections, so they rotate exhibits or lend them out, but now all over the world they’re putting them online. The latest is the Bodleian Museum in Oxford. This summer I was there for an exhibition of Gilroy drawings, and in one gallery they have Roman statues […]

Goodbye To One Of The Great Northern Humorists


David Nobbs, the author and comedy writer who created the Reginald Perrin books, has died aged 80. Nobbs worked on many leading British comedy shows including That Was The Week That Was, The Frost Report and The Two Ronnies. It was typical that he should dedicate a novel to the county of Hereford. Here is […]

Reinventing England


Miguel Coyula, urban architect, has this to say about Cuba normalising its relations with America: ‘When you talk to people, and you ask them, Why are you visiting Havana? The common answer is, I want to see it now. … I want to see the real Havana. … So they share the fear that Havana […]