What Makes Britain so Brilliant?

“A lot of things actually. Far too many to mention them all…” so said the 4-page Carling advertisement covering this morning’s free Metro newspaper.

Reading their list brightened my rainy Mancunian morning, so if you don’t mind I’d like to share it with you.


Since it’s the Queen’s Jubilee (and we’re about to have a FOUR DAY WEEKEND to celebrate – Yippee!) here are 60 reasons, one for each year of her reign (shamelessly reproduced without permission…)

  1. Marmite. Mmm…yuck.
  2. Our devotion to our wonderfully gripping soap operas.
  3. Vivienne Westwood’s heels. It’s worth the pain.
  4. The Earl of Sandwich’s groundbreaking concept of putting a savoury filling between two pieces of bread.
  5. Glastonbury – mud and all.
  6. Our modesty – we never boast about how great we are, apart from today.
  7. The pound and our reluctance to adopt the Euro.
  8. The best selling music artists in the world are our very own: The Beatles.
  9. Our politeness – no matter how irritated we get, we are always too British to say anything.
  10. Kate Middleton and her sister.
  11. The Great British Summer (don’t forget the brolly).
  12. Driving on the left (the right way to do it).
  13. No matter where you are in Britain, you’re never far from a pub.
  14. Any excuse for a cup of tea.
  15. Curry, the unofficial national dish, with a pint of cold larger.
  16. We don’t moan because we’re miserable, we moan because it makes us happy.
  17. Our international language. Travelling abroad is a doddle.
  18. The Queen and her graceful wave.
  19. The Great British countryside, when you’re not stuck behind a tractor.
  20. Freedom of speech.
  21. Deep fried food. Fish, sausages, Mars bars… absolutely anything.

  22. Some of the very best museums and galleries on the planet. Free.
  23. The national tendency to cheer the underdog and ridicule the mighty.
  24. We apologise way too much. Sorry about that.
  25. Crisps. We eat more of them, in more varieties, than the whole of Europe put together.
  26. Shakespeare. When thou can understandeth it.
  27. Sir David Attenborough and his soothing voice on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
  28. British strawberries, perfect with cream.
  29. Our cobbled streets, watch your heels ladies.
  30. Chips with fish, or cheese, or beans, or pies, or steaks, or curries or in a sandwich. Chips with pretty much everything.
  31. We know the importance of a good queue.
  32. Beans on toast, brilliant no matter what your age.
  33. Courtroom WigCourtroom wigs. Our great way of making very smart people look very silly.
  34. Pantomimes. The jokes never seen to get old.
  35. No matter how cold it gets it will never keep us from our nights out.
  36. HP sauce. Chuck it on everything.
  37. The 3pm Saturday kick off.
  38. Cream teas. In case you’re wondering, Cornish is jam first, Devon is cream first.
  39. Jellied eels. And jelly. Though not necessarily together.
  40. Beer gardens. Because we love our beer and we love our gardens.
  41. Saying ‘I’m fine’ no matter how we feel.
  42. A love of mowing the lawn.
  43. Plugs with switches. Amazingly nowhere else seems to do this.
  44. Tolerating nearly everything, but banning hosepipes.
  45. Llanfairpwllgyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwlllantysiliogogogoch in North Wales. Just wait till your sat nav tries that one.
  46. World Cup, 1966. We’ll be clinging to it forever.
  47. Egg and soldiers. Those brave and tasty souls.
  48. The BBC. The only time you’re not constantly reaching for the fast-forward      button.
  49. Our British seasides. Watch out for the seagulls.
  50. Archie Gemmill’s goal against Holland.
  51. Prime Minister’s Question Time. A no-holds-barred, public bashing for whoever’s in charge. Every week.
  52. The Full English breakfast. Served all day.
  53. The weather. Although we get less of it than almost anywhere, it’s still the major talking point.
  54. 99 FlakeThe 99 flake.
  55. Morris dancing. We know how to move it 15th Century style.
  56. Allotments. Our very own little patch of the countryside.
  57. Our love of everything pickled.
  58. Carry On films. Oooer Missus.
  59. Our talent. Be it our artists, musicians, directors or just dancing dogs.
  60. And finally…

(Seeing as the list was a Carling advert I’m sure you can figure their last one out).

Happy Bank Holiday / Queen’s Jubilee / Weekend everyone!

Do you agree with the list? What are your plans this weekend?

All comments are welcome 🙂


14 thoughts on “What Makes Britain so Brilliant?

  1. That is a GREAT list! I would add ‘lists’ to the list, we do love our lists. Although something would then have to come out…maybe we could combine number 11 (the great British summer), with number 53 (the weather). Regarding number 4, the Earl of Sandwich, I live really close to Sandwich, and as if Sandwich isn’t a funny enough name for a place anyway, there is also a village near it called Ham, so quite often around these parts you will see Ham and Sandwich together, on road signs, or the fronts of buses etc – how we laugh! (We’re easily amused around here).

    • I know, it’s a great list, isn’t it. A great piece of marketing – I’m sure loads of people who saw the advert have been discussing it.

      We do like our lists, don’t we? Dave at http://manchestersartisticson.com/ often writes lists on his blog, then of course there’s my Day Zero List (see above), which includes the challenge of making several lists, including write 101 things that make me happy, 101 things I’ve already achieved and 101 random acts of kindness. (That last one is quite tricky – I can’t include acts of kindness that I would do anyway – They all have to be extraordinary things that I’ve gone out of my way to do, if that makes sense).

      I bet tourists love the ‘Ham Sandwich’ buses. I’d probably try to photograph it if I saw one. 🙂 We have several funny locations in England – I heard lots of people used to post their Valentines cards from the village of Lover, so it would say ‘Lover’ on the postmark. Their tiny sorting office couldn’t handle it though, so the post was taken to a town with a far less romantic name. It made the national press. (Why do I remember a silly story like that? It wasn’t even interesting! lol).

      Thanks for visiting Vanessa. 🙂

  2. (The formatting has gone a little weird on this piece. It didn’t look like that last night when I published it. I won’t try reformatting it just yet – It looks as though WP might just be playing up again.)

    • We do have a lot of idiosyncrasies – and these are so true! I can’t help but smile reading them. 🙂

      I’ve tried eel but not jellied eel. Yuck! It just sounds awful! It’s very much a southern (London?) thing. We don’t have them up North. Instead we have Chip Barms, Doner Pizza and Chicken Parmesan. 😉

      I love your travel blog. The photos are stunning!

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