The uniting sounds of summer
I absolutely love Wimbledon.
Everything about it.
It evokes a British summertime with the smells of freshly mown grass and the chink chink of glasses of Pimms consumed on the lawn.
I’d be devastated if this stalwart of our summer calendar vanished as it is indelibly imprinted on my life and my identity as British.
Which is quite ironic, as I’ve never actually been let alone sampled an overpriced strawberry while watching the tennis greats in action.
But then I’ve never met the Queen and she makes me feel British too.
As does queuing, drinking tea and talking about the weather.
I’ve definitely done those.
It really is fascinating to think how we identify ourselves with events and geographical areas and the impact that has on our every day lives.
The inhabitants of Britain have always had a strong island mentality, something which perhaps is a product of wartime.
We perhaps have never identified as European as strongly because of that strip of water separating us from the rest of the continent, something which probably played its part in last year’s Brexit vote.
Maybe we just like being different, feeling isolated, feeling independent.
We are constantly sub-dividing.
We identify with our own country, our own county, our town, the area of our town, our road.
In local newspapers we have to be super sensitive to these divisions. These bubbles.
Here in Lancashire woe betide the reporter who says Penwortham is in Preston, or suggests that St Annes is Lytham.
Each of these small places have their own individual identity, their own traditions and norms but most importantly, pride.
It’s the one thing we call have in common in our tiny island, our need to be proud.
The notion of Britishness itself is a culturally confusing one, as many of us are born to families who have landed on this rainy land in days gone by.
Which is where events and traditions come in.
The Wimbledons, the London marathons, the Edinburgh Festival - the weather.
These are all things which unite us in our differences, as we get behind those representing us on the national and world stage.
I’ll raise a glass of Pimms to that.