Friday, 29 April 2011
My greatest memories of the marriage of Charles and Diana in 1981 was me and my mates racing our pedal bikes along streets that were completely free of traffic as everyone was inside watching it on the telly.
Then we went to one of my mates houses and were surprised to find his mum watching it and crying. The surprise was that she was a Socialist and member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and didn't like the Royal Family.
When we asked her why she was crying she pointed at Diana and said "She looks so beautiful".
I can't by any stretch of the imagination be called a Royalist. Not that I dislike them or think the monarchy should be abolished, just that I am indifferent as the Royal Family don't have much impact on life.
I spent the last two days with my wife camping and hiking in the Lake District, so far to the north of England that southern Scotland could be seen from the summit of Scafell.
As we set off on the long drive home today we put on the car radio, tuned into BBC Radio 4 and listened to the Royal Wedding live.
As we drove south from the Scottish border we drove through the incredible mountains of the Lake District, the sky was clear blue and the sun shone. We drove through rural villages with bunting strung out across the streets and village greens.
Driving through this beauty and listening to something that a third of the world's population was listening to gave me a real sense of pride in being British, somethng that I cannot remember feeling in a long time.
The media build up has been so saturated with it that it had become an annoyance but on the day the excitement was catching and I was glued to the radio.
We even tried to get home in time to see the balcony kiss.
What I am trying to say is that today I felt genuinely proud to be British. I know it rains a lot here but the rain makes the land green and pleasant.
We are not perfect and get a lot of things wrong but when I look at the disastrous governments in some of the Third World countries then I know that this is a great country to live in.
So let me blow a trumpet for Great Britain, no-one can put on an overblown, pompous wedding like we can and as for our countryside I give the last word to my mates mum, "She looks so beautiful".