Brits do like the wet....

YOU can't help but swell with pride can you?

James Marston

YOU can't help but swell with pride can you?

Each time our athletes win a nice shiny medal over in China it puts a smile on your face.

Of course being British we don't shout about it too much - that would be far too vulgar and we're not American thank you.

What with all the sailing, cycling and rowing - I think we're doing rather well don't you?

As regular readers will know I recently re-opened the never-closed subject of what makes us British in last week's column inches.

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Re-uniting with my old university friends - with whom I spent many a happy hour singing show tunes in a pub in Putney throughout my mis-spent youth - this weekend in the Midlands city of Coventry, the debate was sparked up again.

A friend of mine called Ian who remembers me with thick hair and now lives in the Edwardian seaside town of Weston-Super-Mare (with damaged pier), is able to keep up with the shenanigans and ups and downs of my somewhat frenetic life thanks to the miracle of the Evening Star website.

Over a cold meats and quiche fork buffet, prepared by my old friend Sarah, who studied drama and is now married with a child called Archie, with salads and a glass of white wine he informed me that he has been keeping up with the debate.

He said: “I wanted to comment on what makes us British - I know I'm not a local Felixstower so perhaps I am taking a liberty.”

I assured him he would be doing no such thing.

Ian went on: “I think one thing that makes us British is lining up in department store restaurants to purchase soggy battered cod, chips and peas and a cup of tea for four nine nine and turning to our best friend behind to say “avoid the gateaux Connie - she just scratched her armpit with the cake slice!”

I agreed.

Ian, now in full flow, went on: “Similarly, camping trips - from which we have just returned. Now don't get me wrong - we have a large four man with sewn in ground sheet and we even have an electrical hook-up.

“However, only the Brits would stick it in the howling wind and rain. Because I've paid for it that's why" - as the fat man from two tents up said.

“Also, only us Brits would struggle half-way up a farmer's field to take a shower in a block then try to dry oneself and cover what little modesty one has with a guest towel.

Ian posed one last question: “Did you realise that grown men get up at 7am to cook a full English on a two ring primus stove in the rain under an umbrella??”

I had no idea.

REGULAR readers among my ever-growing and what must be considerable fan base despite the curious lack of fan mail will recall I recently cruised the Adriatic on board the MS Balmoral.

It was a lovely trip and we saw some unforgettable places.

Well, my various write-ups in the pages of the Evening Star about the experience promoted a lady who lives in Ipswich to get in touch with me and reminisce.

She was on the same cruise.

She said: “I have enjoyed reading your two pieces about life on board and find it all very familiar I think it's a wonderful way to see lots of places but still sleep in the same bed and avoid having to keep packing.

“There was always something to do and I met lots of nice people. The food was terrific. I had a birthday on board and their treatment, although embarrassing, was wonderful - six white-coated gorgeous men with guitar and tambourine, singing Happy Birthday to you with a kiss from your own special waiter.

“Sorry we didn't meet up at deck quoits or table tennis or something. We met some people from Valley Road and I am only just round the corner in Tuddenham Road - strange!”

THERE'S much excitement in the seaside Edwardian Spa town of Felixstowe where I have made my home - we have a new eaterie.

Called Café Bencotto it's all smart and stylish and in Hamilton Road - there's even a smoking area.

I have yet to eat there, though I'm sure as a wanna-be celebutante with journalistic pretentions I shall no doubt be asked to a red carpet official opening in due course.

DID you go to the V festival in Chelmsford?

I didn't - festivals have never been my entertainment of choice to be honest. I don't like crowds and I'm not much bothered by all the loud music that goes on there.

I prefer to stay in Felixstowe - parts of which I learnt the other evening over a glass of strawberry wine has a similar rainfall to Jerusalem.

Is this fact true? Does Felixstowe really get lots of sun?

Do drop me a line and let me know.

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