Happy Birthday to me!

My birthday was actually Sunday, but I didn’t want to write about it then, it was Silent Sunday after all, so was going to tell you about on Monday and the riots happened so I’ve changed my mind a little bit.

This is an email I sent to BBC Surrey this morning in response to the many comments about how dreadful it all is, everything’s out of control, this country is screwed.

Sunday was my birthday and I went to London with my partner. We walked from Waterloo across Westminster Bridge, past Downing Street, Horseguards, St Martin’s church, up to Trafalgar Square where we enjoyed a fabulous steel pan band. We continued our walk up to Leicester Square and had a meal at my favourite Japanese restaurant. Afterwards, we walked through Chinatown and found a pub down a sidestreet where we sat and read with a pint for an hour or so before heading back to Woking on the train. It rained, we got saturated, the train broke down and I had the most fantastic, memorable time.

I’m telling you this because you British easily forget what a wonderful country this is. I love the architecture in London, the black cabs, red buses and telephone booths. The parliament buildings never fail to impress me, the river is beautiful. I wish more people appreciated the good things about Britain as a matter of national habit. Of course it’s harder to see it at the moment. There are no easy solutions, this time will be a serious test for our leaders. I don’t think the answer is to bring back the death penalty, shoot the
riotors, use live ammunition as has been suggested by many on Twitter. People are right to be angry, fearful, disappointed and all the other emotions that are boiling now. I would like to remind people that Britain is not a country going to the dogs, it isn’t better somewhere else. There are issues we need to deal with that are global as well as national and they won’t be dealt with by people who moan about how rubbish it all is. They will be solved by the leaders (and I’m not just talking about the politicians) who keep their eyes on the future and make the difficult decisions in the present.

I was really proud that that presenter said it was a good email :-), but I really mean it. I take great comfort in the fact that there are many thousands more people volunteering to clean up the mess than created it and that says something about this country.

My birthday was a day of ups (walking the streets), downs (rain), laughs (a great book, see below) and frustration (but only a little bit) and I hope my 42nd year will carry on in much the same way.

Rain at The London Eye

Rain at The London Eye

Houses of Parliament

Houses of Parliament

Downing Street

Downing Street

Rain on the street up to Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

Lunch before...

Lunch before...

...and after

...and after

Bit of a friendly warning, the following video contains some swearing. I don’t suggest you play this with young children around. It’s the lovely Noni Hazelhurst, long of Play School fame in Australia, reading a bedtime story with a difference…

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