Posts tagged with ‘UK’

Those crazy Brits!

There’s speculation that we might have a general election soon; November 4th was a date I heard suggested on the radio today. Which means, since we don’t have any kind of hand-over period, that we might have a new government and a new Prime Minister on November 5th. To those of you who live in […]

Tender American sensibilities

Via bookofjoe; the OED and BBC are repeating their exercise of inviting the public to try and find earlier citations for various words. It’s a somewhat interesting idea but, having seen some of the last series: the results don’t make for riveting television. What I found interesting was a couple of things from the Washington […]

British food

I’m always somewhat irritated when someone from The Land of Industrial Food is rude about British cooking. If it comes from one of the great foody cultures (the Italians, the French, the Indians, the Japanese…) I’m willing to admit they’re talking from a position of strength. But the country of processed cheese, marshmallow fluff, and […]

Colonial troops in WWII

I found this article in the Independent interesting. There’s a film coming out in France called Indigènes about “the 300,000 Arab and north African soldiers who helped to liberate France in 1944.” Apparently about half the French army in 1944 was African or Arab. The director and producer, both French of North African descent, “hope […]

Militant Atheism

I’ve just finished The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, which I enjoyed more than I expected, since generally I prefer Dawkins when he’s writing about biology. I might blog about the book later, but for now it got me thinking about religion. My own opinions are uncompromising: I don’t believe there is anything beyond the […]

Still thinking about books to explain the UK

Well I’ve still been thinking, on and off, about that list of ten books to explain the UK. Which is an interesting exercise. I quickly decided to eliminate Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Not that I have anything against the Celtic Fringe, but it was complicated enough dealing with Englishness. There’s no difficulty in finding […]

FSotW: Tyneham – the village that died for D-Day

Flickr set of the week is Tyneham – the village that died for D-Day by Whipper_snapper. ‘In 1943 the War Department closed Tyneham village near Lulworth in Dorset for D-Day training preparations. The villagers never returned as the War Department kept the village as a post-war training area and tank artillery range for nearby Lulworth […]

Ten books to explain America

A really interesting question at the cassandra pages: ‘If you were recommending, say, five to ten books you most felt would “explain America” to a foreign person who had never been here in person, what would they be?’ You can read people’s answers there. I’m not about to try and pick ten books about America, […]

Rough Crossings by Simon Schama

During the American War of Independence, the British promised freedom and land to any slaves who left their masters and served with the British. Many thousands did so, and after the war they were taken first to Nova Scotia and then settled in a colony in Sierra Leone. This book tells that story. Among the […]

FSotW: Car Boot Britain

Flickr set of the week is Car Boot Britain by Whipper_snapper. Boot sale, originally uploaded by Whipper_snapper. Boot Sale 2, originally uploaded by Whipper_snapper.

Intellectuals, science, and the English Channel

Something Todd Swift said pointed me to an article in the Guardian about the lack of public intellectuals in Britain, written by Agnès Poirier, a French journalist working in London. It’s worth reading just for the culture-clash exhibited in the comments. I noticed that the unspoken assumption, from both sides of the argument, was inevitably […]

Figgy Dowdy, Sussex Pond Pudding and English food

I got back to England to find, appropriately enough, that some food blogs, English or otherwise, celebrated St George’s Day (Apr 23rd) by cooking English puddings, cakes, biscuits and other sugariness. Why British food has such a bad reputation, and whether it’s deserved, is a question for another day. One kind of British food that […]

It’s a whole different world.

This article about atheists in Texas (via Pharyngula) is just mind-bogglingly odd to me. I grew up in secular, middle-class London where the default position was a casual agnosticism, so the image of atheists as a secretive minority, afraid to give their name in a newspaper interview, seems surreal. The flipside of that is the […]