Who is the patron saint of England? It is St. George. English people celebrate St. George’s Day every year on April 23rd.
It has to be said though that unlike the Scottish and Irish, who celebrate their patron saints in style and by drinking alcohol, the English really do not celebrate their day! In recent years efforts have been made to increase the day’s importance, but it actually lacks serious effort by the English.
Back in the 60s, when I was a boy at primary school, in class we used to play St. George and the Dragon. This was done in the form of a Mummers play, as it was known. The story being that St. George would kill the dragon then rescue the damsel in distress. It is a fairytale. By the 12th century the legendary story had become widespread.
Today let’s talk about the UKs top tourist attractions. Top of the list is the British Museum (6.8m) in London. This is followed by the National Gallery (5.9m). In third place is the Natural History Museum (5.2m).
The figures were compiled by the Leading Visitor attractions (Alva). Altogether some 124.4 million visits were made to 230 Alva sites last year. This is 3.2% higher than the year before.
The rise was due to increased interest in big temporary attractions in London – up 1.6%, and in Scottish attractions – up 5.5%. London claimed the top 10 most popular sites.
Today, let’s talk about April Fools’ Day. Known also as All Fools’ Day it is celebrated on the morning of the 1st April when practical jokes and hoaxes are played on people. The victims are called April fools! Newspapers are fond of reporting fake stories, which are normally explained the next day.
April Fools’ Day in the UK can be traced back to around 1392 to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The Nun’s Priest’s Tale mentions ‘Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two’. The passage was meant to mean 32 days after March – 2nd May – but was mistook for 32nd March i.e. 1st April.
Should Britain leave the EU? Britain’s Daily Express newspaper thinks so. It recently explained why and hopefully it now makes an interesting theme to discuss. The British newspaper demanded ‘our country’ back from the EU! They called it ‘a crusade for freedom’. They wish to see Britain break free from the ‘EU dictatorship’.
Certainly many in Europe and beyond now jokingly call the EU the ‘E.U.S.S.R.’. This point definitely rings alarm bells in Eastern European countries, who clearly remember the U.S.S.R. and communism, and whose citizens now see the EU for what it really is. Is the EU a Big Brother state like the U.S.S.R. once was?
The Daily Express states those behind the EU have been intent on one goal: the creation of a single political and economic European state with absolute sovereignty over the nations under its control.
(Flashback lesson:This is an interesting lesson from 2011 that is still actual today)
Today, the question is: Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?
During the 2015 General Election British Prime Minister David Cameron promised British voters a referendum about the UK membership of the EU no later than the end of 2017. The referendum will take place on Thursday 23 June 2016.
The “Brexit” vote is likely to affect everyone living in the EU, as a vote to leave could mark the breakup or even the end of the EU. “Brexit” is a term commonly-used for the British exit from the EU.
Recently, teenage blogger Jordon Cox decided to do a return journey from Shenfield in Essex to Sheffield in northern England. Cox, 18, managed to book himself a cheap £19 ticket for the journey north but discovered the cheapest fare home was £47. An open return would have cost him £97.70. He decided to look for an alternative way to get home.
Following some online research he discovered he could save money on the rail ticket if he included a flight via Berlin in Germany. The ticket would normally have cost £47.00 by train and taken 3½ hours. By going via Berlin it took him an extra 1,017 miles and 13 hours to get home. It also included a quick tour of Berlin.
(Photo: Jordan Cox)
Today, let’s talk about student uniforms - what students wear to school, college or university. Depending on the country you live in and its habits may determine whether students wear a uniform or not.
In Britain schoolchildren wear a uniform to school. It installs a form of discipline in them that is valuable in later life. If a girl wears a skirt that is too high on the hemline or too tight a pair of trousers she will be sent home to solve the issue. Come in with a funny haircut and a student will be pulled out of the class, reprimanded and sent home. In Britain students do not wear uniforms to college or university.
Today, let’s talk about great British inventions. There are many. We will look at a few of them.
The jet engine was invented by a chap called Frank Whittle from Coventry. He was fighter pilot. Whittle realised that piston powered flight was old technology. He designed the gas turbine ‘turbo-jet’ in 1930. Thwarted by the military it wasn’t until 1941 that his jet idea took off in the form of a Gloster E28/39 for a 17 minute flight.
Tin cans used for baked beans and vegetables were invented by a man called Peter Durand. He copied the preserved food in a glass jar idea that Frenchman Nicholas Appert had created, doing it this time with a tin can. The first commercial canning factory was opened in England in 1813.
Recently in the UK the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announced the approval of the first new grammar school in England in 50 years. It is a breakthrough decision, as under socialism grammar schools were banned.
The new grammar school in Sevenoaks, Kent is officially an annex of the Weald of Kent Grammar School for girls that is based in Tonbridge, Kent 10 miles (16km) away. The new all girls grammar school will offer a mixed sixth form.
Today, Queen Elizabeth II became Britain’s longest-reigning monarch when she passed the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. The Queen has reigned now for more than 63 years seven months.
The Queen, who is 89, spent today on official duties in Scotland. It is a normal working day for her with no special celebration. Originally though it was to have been a ‘no-fuss day’ spent at Balmoral, but after caving in to demands that she should be seen on such a momentous day, she agreed to undertake an engagement.