As I visit the motherland, I reflect upon things I love about Great Britain:
ACCENTS: There are a number of regional accents one encounters while traveling throughout the United Kingdom. The scouse intonation of Liverpool is a sharp contrast to the posh cadence of London's uppercrust. I love it all, even though I might not always understand it. I recall an incident from the last time I was in England, 2007, when my father and I went into a restaurant in Lowestoft, a small coastal town on the easternmost edge of the country. As the waitress warmly greeted us, with what I suspected were the daily specials, my father turned to me, puzzled, and whispered "I have no idea what she's saying."
Well, neither did I. But I turned to her and ordered the safest bet "two fish-and-chips, please" (which ended up being delicious).
On this trip, I am most looking forward to hearing the Manx accent, as my ancestral home is the Isle of Man.
MEN'S FASHION: Men in London dress well. Really well. It's as though they believe meeting the Queen herself at the supermarket is a possibility and therefore must always be donning a clean pressed suit. It's glorious and a huge contrast to the much more relaxed land of flannel and denim that is North America.
IDRIS ELBA IN A SUIT: On that note, take a moment to appreciate the most handsome British male wearing the shit out of this suit. Sigh.
CORGIS: When I'm having a bad day, I image search corgi puppies. INSTANT mood elevator. I am so thankful to live in a world with dogs.
MUSIC SCENE: There's something in the water when it comes to British musicians. Some of the most iconic, influential artists have come from the island nation. Their songbooks – ranging from a variety of genres – have played much of the soundtrack to my life. Even part of my name is derived from "Beatlemania"; my mother was/is a HUGE Beatles fan (and is probably still in love with Paul McCartney to this day, tbh). Her own background is French and wanted one of my names to reflect this heritage. Enter my first connection to the Fab Four and their 1964 track, "Michelle", off the Revolver album which my mother chose as my middle name.
Secondly, the name of my creative services business was obviously an ode. It is the perfect nonsensical life mantra. Life goes on.
And while they may not be direct family lineage, two individuals with the surname Clague have, in turn, influenced The Beatles. John Lennon's mother, Julia, was unfortunately killed in a vehicular accident during the former Beatles teenage years by an Eric Clague of Liverpool. Her passing is considered by many to be the catalyst that led to his expression of emotion through song and the eventual formation of the beloved group.
Then, while doing genealogy research last week, I came across this:
Who knows if it is something but the interconnectivity of it all and possibility that a family member may have indirectly influenced the creation of some of the greatest songs in modern history makes my imagination run wild.
LEMON CURD: I don't even really know what curd is but it's delicious and one of my favourite desserts is to stir it into vanilla-flavoured yogurt.
CADBURY: And on the dessert note, Cadbury is FAR superior to Hershey's. Like ...
LITRATURE: It is of course a result of history being written by the victors (or perhaps the more controversial term "oppressors") that our language and educational system in the west is heavily influenced by England and the artists, poets, and scribes that called it home. The older I get, the more I invest in learning about world literature but the magical, transcendent works of Shakespeare, Austen, Doyle, Rowling and numerous others still resonate the human experience across time and space.
Just one more for good measure: