Ten (All Right, Eleven) Things you need to know about Great Britain

Photo by Alice Froude

There are a many number of wonderful things about our small country that so many people don’t know about. As Hugh Grant once said in Love Actually (posing as the prime minister), “We may be a small country, but we’re a great one, too. Home of Shakespeare, Churchill, The Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter… David Beckham’s right foot. And David Beckham’s left foot, come to that.”

I’d like to take a moment to enhance this list. I’ll start at the top:

One: Football
The football culture in Britain is not dissimilar to that of ice hockey in Canada. The fans are aggressive, dedicated, and incredibly excitable. The game is often brilliant; balls flying here, there, and everywhere. I am certainly not going to boast the England football team, but pretty much all of the leagues get the whole country in a tizzy and it is a whole lot of fun to watch and support.

Two: London
London is one of the best cities in the world. Fine, I am biased. But I promise it is. We have the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the British Museum, Tate Modern, the Tower of London, the Greenwich Maritime Museum, the London Zoo, and the London Aquarium. Even getting around is a dream with our tube map, black cabs, and London’s iconic red double-decker busses.

Three: the Royal Family
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. “The Royal Family? Pfft.” But you’re the ones who practically pissed your pants on William and Kate’s arrival.
However unwilling we may be to admit that we really do like the Royal Family (or at least find them entertaining), it is certainly true. None of us ladies can resist gushing over Kate’s dress or the lads drooling over Pippa’s bottom. Not to mention the imminent arrival of a Royal baby.

Four: the Weather
Ironic, I know. But we do not get winters like you do. It may be a bit cold… and rainy… and windy… but I am sure a lot of you would choose this over a hundred feet of snow that takes 10 years to melt. No? Help me out; I am a Brit trying to be positive about the weather.

Five: TV/Geordie Shore
I have mostly specified Geordie Shore because it will make any English person reading this cringe. Geordie Shore is an atrocity of a program that after watching for even five minutes is impossible to tear yourself away from. Embarrassingly funny, the show simply films a bunch of people from Newcastle living together and drinking. Shamefully entertaining, I’d recommend this to any Canadian who thinks that all of the English are well-spoken and proper. I’ve got a funny feeling this might change your mind.

Six: the Fashion
Long story short, the fashion and style in Britain is so incredibly diverse. I have always found it intriguing to spot outrageous and wonderful fashion statements all over the country. It seems that in Britain people are often a little bit more experimental with their clothing, which can be for better or worse. I’ll let you decide.

Seven: the Music
Really, this is an obvious one. We have given you some of the best music ever created. I am not going to offer a list. You should know. I am merely reminding you.

Eight: Travelling
You can travel from the top of Britain to the bottom in no time at all. This means visiting places and people is generally very easy (unlike in Canada, where it can take what feels like weeks to arrive at your destination). Secondly, it means we all have a really good excuse to get a cheap flight to somewhere hotter with even cheaper booze.

Nine: Tea
Yes, it does taste different and ours is generally better.

Ten: Fish and Chips/Seaside Holidays
I have decided to keep ‘fish and chips’ and ‘seaside holidays’ in the same category, as generally you go to the seaside for a day or two and eat as many fish and chips as you can. The seaside is place where, as you may have heard, reeks of fish, is overrun by obnoxious seagulls that will literally steal food from your hands, is a bit dirty and run down, and offers unlimited crappy coin machines/casinos. But we love it and we always will (even if we say we don’t).

Eleven: Pride
I have saved the soppiest ‘till last. I’ll use the 2012 Olympics as an example. Before the Olympics the whole country was laughing at itself: “we can’t pull this off,” “it’s gonna be shit”, “an embarrassment”, “it’ll just rain.” However, when the opening ceremony finished and nothing was royally screwed up we started to think that, maybe, this could be a bit of fun. As the medals started rolling in it was as if the whole country was on steroids. People were visibly happier. No one was complaining about our Prime Minister.