May 17, 2003

It may appear from my

It may appear from my mutterings and murmurings that there is not good on or about this island where I live. I know I have exploded the myth and legends held dear by various Americans, and I will no doubt continue to do so.

So what is good about the United Kingdom? First of all, let’s write off politics. But there’s more to life and the quality thereof than politics. This is especially true for Christians, because our citizenship is in heaven.

Three things come to mind when I think of what is Great about Britain.

The first is scenery. I took my parents for a drive today. We went from here to Ludlow, then across to Llandrindod Wells, and returned home. We drove though some of the loveliest countryside in the Marches and mid-Wales. I live in a truly beautiful place. All around me I am surrounded with reminders of the innate goodness of creation reflecting the glory of God which managed to shine through the fallen condition.

We often complain about the weather in Britain, how it is cool and rainy all the time. It was rainy all day today. But as my father wondered how the fields could be so green, my wife observed that they aren’t bleached and withered by the sun. Not only did this make sense, but it reminded me of why I prefer to live here. The temperature in my hometown today was around 95F. As an expat in the US, I can see what Tom Jones can sing with such conviction about the green, green grass of his home in South Wales.

The second great thing is sustenance. (I would have just said “food” but I needed an “s” word.) I know that Brit-food has a reputation for blandness. I suppose if you are talking about much of the native fare of roast dinner, bangers and mash, Lancashire hotpot, Cornish pasties, the full English breakfast, or even fish and chips, these are not know for their spiciness. Good solid meals, but admittedly a bit boring. What is great about British food is what could be called British Empire food.

Outside of large cities in the US, Indian food is virtually unknown. Here is everywhere. The main benefit of owning the recently relinquished Hong Kong? The proliferation of Chinese food. Where exactly did all the Turks come from? I don’t know, but they all own kebab shops here and I have elsewhere opined about my fondness for the doner kebab. To sample the real British cuisine you have to visit the restaurants and takeaways of a British town of any size.

Then there is the junk food. When it comes to chocolate, the US is not in the same league with the UK. There is so much more variety and it all tastes better. Then there’s biscuits. No not the kind you eat with gravy, butter, or jam. Over here, those are made a bit sweeter and called scones. “Oh, you mean cookies!” Well, American cookies are sold on the biscuit aisle of the supermarket. (That’s right, it takes a whole aisle of most supermarkets just for the biscuits.) But biscuits are different. And better. They have names like rich tea, hobnobs, digestives, Jammy Dodgers, fruit shorties, nice, and malted milk.

As a subset of junk food, are the beverages. Lemonade is a soft drink – or what are called “fizzy drinks” here. Then there’s Tango, in the traditional orange, as well as cherry, apples, and other flavours.

I’m out of time for today, so I’ll leave the last “S” for tomorrow. I’m sure that all these things seem rather superfluous, and you want to see something of substance. I'll be getting back to that idea of our citizenship in heaven.

Posted by david at May 17, 2003 10:31 PM