I have been on holiday in south-east England - London, Suffolk, Essex - for the last ten days. They were having a party, and hung the place with bunting, and decorated it in combinations of red, white and blue, some ingenious. The Union Flag appeared everywhere.
Fabric shop, Colchester
Hi fi shop, Saffron Walden
Fashion shop, Saffron Walden
China shop, Saffron Walden
The prize went to a chap who had union flag covers on his wing mirrors. No doubt it rose and sank on condoms. The impression to a foreigner was of a country in cheerful, celebratory mood - not over-weeningly nationalistic but happily patriotic and pleased to join in with what fun was going. Every pub was promising live music.
On the day of the flotilla I was in Saffron Walden, and it was chucking with rain. We went to a pub to watch the Thames procession on the television. The sound was muted, so I couldn't be outraged by the shallowness of the BBC coverage, which people are complaining about. The patrons at the pub were fairly disrespectful about Phil the Greek, but I bet there wasn't a republican among them. "Abolish the House of Lords, but keep the monarchy," said one.
I enjoyed drinking a good pint and eating Stilton and grape flavoured crisps under the exposed beams of a comfortable English pub.