Happy birthday, Shakespeare - he'll be 442 today if he's alive. It’s also the feast of St. George – England’s national day. You probably didn’t know that – but then neither does anyone else, including most English people. Which is significant because we all know everyone else’s national day – France’s Quatorze Juillet, the Fourth of July, (commemorating when one George unloaded a troublesome colony onto another), St. David’s and St Andrews’s days in Wales and Scotland respectively. And of course March 17, when IRA members are allowed – nay, encouraged – to strut along Fifth Avenue protected by New York’s Finest to the applause of well-meaning, shamrock-wearing pseudo-Micks getting legless on green beer while real Micks stand around embarrassed.
But no-one cares about poor old St.George – not even the English, whose patron saint he is. (He’s also the patron saint of Germany – no wonder he looks confused.)
Let’s face it, we Angles are not very patriotic. We don’t have flags in our offices –we wouldn’t even know what it looked like if it weren’t for our football hooligans. We don’t stand moist-eyed, hand on wallet singing the national anthem (what is it; ‘God save the Queen’? ‘Land of Hope and Glory’? ‘Sergeant Pepper’?) In fact the more our tax-maintained satellites sing their ‘Scotland the Braves’ and ‘Sospan Bachs’, the less inclined we are to emote. As the ultra-English Dr. Johnson said, ‘Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel’.
But enough of that kind of talk - the World Cup starts in 49 days.
Off to Rome tomorrow – seven hours on a train with Herself, the Sunday papers and a bottle of Tuscany’s Finest: bliss! And of course a few days of bliss for RR and WM readers - we’ll be offline.