By Laura Collins.
Us Brits are known for many things and there are certain characteristics we should be proud of. Our great sense of humour, our politeness, and our ability to keep a stiff upper lip are positive qualities we can pat ourselves on the back for. One certain trait that isn’t to be boasted about, however, is the weather. Still, no nation is perfect and I for one am feeling rather proud to be British this year, what with The Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and the 2012 London Olympic Games.
So when my Dutch friend, Tim, said he wanted to come over to London during the Jubilee weekend I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to show off what being British is all about. Plus, with the rare 28 degree heat we’d been experiencing, I couldn’t wait to show him just how Great Britain is great.
Cue dark skies, cold winds and torrential rain. So proud. Instead I relied on the city-wide celebrations to demonstrate how special the weekend could be and, with two tickets to the Bourne and Hollingsworth’s Diamond Jubilee Party in my hand, I hoped luck was on my side. Persuading a Dutchman to go to an outdoor party in heavy downpours is not easy. Believe me, I could understand his hesitation.
Set in the picturesque surroundings of Bedford Square, the Bourne and Hollingsworth’s Diamond Jubilee Party aimed to capture the true spirit of the uniquely British occasion. By encapsulating everything typically British and bringing it all together in one leafy, but rather waterlogged, garden, the event couldn’t have been more patriotic.
After dragging a slightly unenthusiastic Dutchman to the event, I was ecstatic to see it full of people embracing all our British values. There was a coconut shy standing proudly (if a little unused) in the rain, people in their wellies playing croquet under umbrellas, floorshows, games and even a large but sheltered BBQ smoking away. Added to this there was a beauty tent, quizzes and competitions, live music – accordion player included – a buzzing Bourne and Hollingsworth pop-up bar (Pimms and G and T’s were obligatory) and a tea and cake table (as standard).
The best bits, however, were the marquees that were emblazoned with Union Jacks and crammed full of Brits who proved that London could hold a darn good knees up in any weather. As a nation we have learnt many a time that we can’t let the weather dampen our spirits, especially not the alcoholic kind, as this event proved. Even Tim the Dutchman embraced the British attitude. He got cosy in the marquee, tucked into a hefty Aberdeen burger and drank cups of tea; although, by asking for tea without milk, he proved that I still had a little way to go. You can take the Dutch boy out of Amsterdam, but.
Despite the weather being a right royal washout, the event really proved that us Brits can keep the stiff upper lip we’re known to have. Bourne and Hollingsworth showed that anybody can enjoy British patriotism, even the Dutch, and with Tim by my side I couldn’t have felt more British.
The good news is that Bourne and Hollingsworth hold other typically British events that are ideal for everyone - such as the Prohibition parties and The Fourth Wall - especially when the weather is bad and one’s patriotism is lacking. Taking a Dutch friend is, of course, optional but it certainly helps the British spirit and sense of pride.