John Walsh

By George: the unofficial guide to being English

Fish’n’chips on the pier

The sound of ball on bat at a cricket match on the village green

The graceful 6mph ‘speed’ limit of a Norfolk Broads canal boat

Beer-bellied men stripped to the waist; women sunbathing in parks in their bras




Mushy peas

Being plucky and doing jolly well

Country fayres and music festivals


Burning the May Queen

The village tombola

The Archers

Laura Ashley frocks

Cider in a pub garden

Strawberries and cream

Bank-holiday traffic jams and deferential visits to National Trust properties

Gardening (and a love of gnomes, windmills and water features)


Eccentric pastimes (model aeroplane makers and fliers, restorers of steam railways)

Pickled eggs

Red post boxes


Chip butties

Tea and scones

Pipe smoking


The village fête

Sandals with socks

The smell of wet pavements when a thunderstorm punctuates a heatwave

Giving American tourists the wrong directions


Pimm’s No 1 (with fruit salad)

The smell of mown grass

School sports day

The Pennine Way

The stiff upper lip

Talking about the weather

Steak-and-kidney pie

Henley regatta

The Last Night of the Proms

England’s Dreaming, The Independent, 25th June 2002