April 23 is St Georges Day. A chance for the English to celebrate their patron saint – and their sheer englishness.
We were lucky enough to be invited to the local St Georges Day Ball which was held in Bedford, about 20 minutes from where we are staying.
It was a black tie affair and included a reading from Shakespeare’s Henry V, the parading of the roast beef by the chef and members of the local Queens Guards regiment, and the singing of Land of Hope and Glory, Jerusalem (an odd choice of song to celebrate England I thought), Rule Britannia and, of course, God save the Queen.
And when I say singing, I mean at the top of our voices and accompanied by frantic flag waving – St George’s crosses of course. Anyone who walked in would have thought we had all been drinking – which we had.
The serious side of the evening was fundraising for a local mental health charity, and the fun side was enjoying a level of patriotism that we Kiwis don’t really understand, mixed with some great Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding and some fine company.
A very special thanks to our friend Andre who managed to squeeze us onto the guest list.