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Letter From England Number 1

22 June 2009

As this my first letter, tradition quite rightly dictates an introduction.

Letter From America

Photograph Of Alistair Cooke

One of my earliest recollections as a young boy growing up in England is the radio. It seemed to be on all day as my mother did the housework, cooked or when we sat down to eat. Cricket and tennis in the summer, but always news, radio plays and the comedy half-hours. One of the programmes I remember is "Letter from America".

Let Wikipedia tell you more:

"Letter from America was a weekly 15-minute radio series on BBC Radio 4, previously called the Home Service, which ran for 2,869 shows from March 24, 1946, to February 20, 2004, making it the longest-running speech radio programme in history.

It was presented by Alistair Cooke, who each week spoke of a topical issue in the USA, often tying together different strands of observation and anecdote. He frequently ended his letters on a humorous or poignant note."

As a child I found it rather confusing that the man on the radio with the American accent was English, but here he was explaining about events and how things worked in another land.

Arthur Weasley's Spark Plug Collection

Arthur Weasley Played by Mark Williams

Now, Mr. Weasley is my favourite character in the Harry Potter series. For those of you who have read the books he will need no introduction, for those who haven't I will explain. Mr. Weasley is a wizard who has a fascination with "muggles" (non-wizards) in other words you and me. He is very fond of them but finds their lives all a bit confusing, including their old sparkplugs he collects.

I guess there is a simple reason why I feel an affinity to his character. I have travelled in Europe and the United States and always had great times. But sometimes things can be a bit confusing, it's like home but then a bit different. Things don't work quite the same way.

Birth of "Letter From England"

Painting Of Child Birth

Well here is an attempt to explain the "something a bit different". Hopefully you will join me on this small journey and take a look at England through my eyes. As we go I will explain and hopefully spread a bit of light for both you and Mr. Weasley. Cricket and the Ashes, warm beer, chippies and fat men in football shirts.

Once a week on a Monday I will be publishing a little insight into England and being English.

What's News

Pigs Eating Out Of A Trough

The biggest news story here is about Members of Parliament expense claims. This has been rumbling on for a few months now.

Our members of Parliament have been taking GREAT liberties when claiming expenses to do their job. This is across all the political parties and everyone agrees it's a DAMNED disgrace. Just a few examples of the 1000's of claims:

These took me 5 minutes to find on the Net there are many, many more. Also the MPs have routinely been claiming money for second homes "to be closer to parliament" when their primary homes are easily within distance. In other words they have been using the public purse to develop or fund their own properties.

So what happens when this information enters the public domain? Most have offered or paid back the money. This has me thinking that I'll rob a bank or two and if I get caught I'll just give the money back and that should be the end of the matter

To add insult to injury the MP's have been doing an appalling job in the last few years. This has meant that the credibility of the "Mother of all Parliaments" has received a mortal blow. Another rather worrying aspect is that the minority parties have gained support on the back of this, in particular the far-right.

Wimbledon

Photograph Of A Game At Wimbledon

Today is the first day of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. So for the next couple of weeks it's tennis fever.

This seems to involve: young girls shrieking at overpaid tennis players, bankers enjoying corporate hospitality and British players getting beaten in the first day or two. The last British man to win the Wimbledon singles was Fred Perry in 1936, 73 years and a World War ago. Mind you Virginia Wade won the women's in 1977 only a mere 32 years ago.

But wait maybe just maybe Andy Murray (who is Scottish) might actually do quite well. I think I'll stock up on sick bags I might be needing them.

Goodbye

Right, so that is the end of my first letter. Hopefully I have explained what this site is about and next week it's all about the root of all evil - Money!

I hope you have a good week!