What a green and pleasant land I live in, I mused (like Brent) as I made my way to the sunny South Coast today, past such exotically titled hamlets as Woolbending, Liphook, Cocking and Hurtsmore.
OK, so our national football team is sub-standard from time to time, but after soaking up the beauty of small country villages such as Midhurst (which has been only fractionally buggered-up by the eyesore of a Tesco Metro), and Chichester (famous for tea-rooms and SIr Francis), I've decided that I love my country and that aside from Sydney, Singapore or a Paris devoid of Parisians I could never live anywhere else.
I was on my way to meet the country's foremost astronomer, Sir Patrick Moore, who apologised for his immobility - well he is a nonogenarian - and the fact that I would have to make the short trip around the M25 and down the A3, and A286 to greet him.
As he had described, his front garden did indeed have an observatory in it, and for that matter I saw more telescopes than you could shake an 25 inch polymethylmethacrylate ocular star-gazing device at. Sir Patrick, who insisted that I simply call him Patrick, was a most welcoming host. As soon as he saw my weakened and feverish state fresh from the lengthy journey, he uttered "What can I get you? Tea? Coffee? Fruit Juice? Brandy?"
I considered the long drive home ahead of me and opted for a brandy, (single).
We chatted for a few minutes about peacocks, cricket, and the United Kingdom Independence Party, which I confess I know very little about, before Patrick's friend took a couple of snaps with Michael's camera (the latter stayed in London, so no arguments today), offered me a lovely book on astronomy for the auction and saw me on my way with a cheery wave.
On the way back I drove past a landmark called the Devil's Punch Bowl, which intrigued me. I've just found out what exactly that is and am rather upset that apparently I drove past one of the "Seven Wonders of England" without so much as a cursory glance. See here.