Saturday, 25 February 2012

Great Britain, Keep My Bones

(photos are taken from over a two year period in various parts of the UK such as Plymouth, Bath, Portsmouth, Cardiff and London)

My love affair with all things United Kingdom related began when I was 5 and my dad taught me my first English sentence to send me off on my first day of school with: 'Hello my name is Nina'.  That was the start of my long and ongoing love for the United Kingdom.  

The lessons in my international school were all taught in English.  When I first went to school I spoke German and Dutch having lived in Holland for 5 years but not a word of English except the phrase my dad had taught me that I used as an answer to everything.  But according to my memory learning English was a fast and painless process, one day I couldn't communicate with my classmates and then the next day I could.  My maths problems were to do with ‘if Bill has one pound and the apples cost twenty pence how many apples can he buy?’ The only difference was that we never used inches and miles.  We celebrated the Queen's Golden Jubilee where we decorated the gym with blue, white and red ribbons and sang the national anthem.  Today I can sing verse one and two of the God Save The Queen but can never seem to get past the second line of the German national anthem.  I learnt all about the United Kingdom without ever having actually visited.  I read about what the British girls liked to wear and do in magazines such as Mizz and Sugar which were imported into Oman.

I visited the UK for the first time when I was 13, it was around that time when my mum's favorite read became The Good Schools Guide because we were in the process of choosing a boarding school for me.  We had a short list of 5 school we chose to look at and drove around the country visiting them.  At first I didn't like the UK very much.  Compared to Oman, where it's illegal to have a dirty car and to beg, the UK felt a little grimy and shabby.  I went to boarding school when I was 14 and that was the big moment when I really grew to love the UK.

I couldn't have asked for a better place to grow up in and become a teenager.  There is something very special about the United Kingdom.  The country in itself has so much to offer.  From the amazing Yorkshire Dales, to the valleys of Wales, the Devonshire coast and the amazing big cities like London and Leeds.  The weather is notorious but that's what makes it so fitting.  But it's the little things about the great attitude that the British have and their way of life that really strike a chord with me: the late night chippies, polite and dignified queuing, the crazy stag and hen dos that you see partying on the streets on a Friday night, rugby weekends, Bank Holiday, fish and chips by the seaside, endless reruns of Come Dine With Me, people saying sorry for everything, custard creams, tea with too much milk, Mr Green telling you to go to cashier number 3, Harry Potter, festivals in the rain, Welsh daffodils in March, crumpets, celebrities turning on the Christmas lights in November, TopShop, double decker buses, cider and black and of course the Royal Family.

I miss the UK so very much when I'm in France, sadly I've not had the money to visit since I left last June so I'm making the best out of my life on the continent and for now will look forward to spending my summer back in Britain.

(NB: I wrote Great Britain in the blog title because Great Britain includes England, Scotland and Wales.  The United Kingdom is England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  I've not been to Northern Ireland yet hence 'Great Britain Keep My Bones)


  1. I'm a Londoner and have to agree with you! It's easy to take a place for granted when you live there, but if I'm honest I still get a little bit excited every time I see Big Ben xx

  2. Your photos are great
    Now following you!
    Katie xx

    Dreaming of forever

  3. This is going to sound hella creepy but I think you'd be really fun to be around. Beautiful photos. x hivenn


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