Pretend for a UK moment

In times of awful world crisis, when the vile, the arrogant and the ignorant prevail, I like to turn to the imagined decency of Great Britain to distract myself from reality.

This does take a series of steps to fool oneself into believing that what was once a brutal coloniser of the terrific islands we are privileged to inhabit, and many other parts of the world, was ever or is now decent, but the end result is worth it.

The English just sound so very, very polite, and there can be few who sound more decent and upright than the lovely Julia Bradbury, a television presenter best known for presenting BBC show Countryfile.

This Sunday at 7.30pm on Prime, Julia will be taking us on a tour of the UK (which, let's imagine for a moment, has not recently been through the post-truth Brexit campaign), where the countryside is lovely and there are no dark shades of anti-immigrant racism behind the hedgerows.

Julia, looking elegant yet cool in a leather jacket, T-shirt and jeans, promises The Wonder of Britain will celebrate what I think put the great into Great Britain.

And because she is clearly a woman of the highest intelligence, she delves into the art form of the very best sort of people: architecture.

In episode one, Our Beautiful Buildings, we find Julia hurtling through the countryside in a motorcar, looking dashing in a lime-green rib-necked acrylic jersey as she heads to that great British institution, the stately home.

One needs to force from one's mind the cruel English class system that allowed an ultra-wealthy few to inhabit such massive piles and pay a pittance to the hundreds of servants that ran them, but let's overlook that for the moment.

Because Julia has found her way to Castle Howard in Yorkshire.

We see her sweep into the fabulous home, looking magnificent in a mid-length grey coat accessorised by a white silk scarf with yellow, green and blue highlights.

We see a portrait of Charles Howard, the third Earl of Carlisle, born circa 1669, a British statesman and member of the peerage of England.

Charles was MP for Morpeth, Governor of Carlisle, Lord-Lieutenant of Cumberland and of Westmorland, and William III made him Gentleman of the Bedchamber.

But most importantly, Julia tells us, the chubby-cheeked Charles was a dandy with a penchant for red heels, and it is thought the phrase well heeled was coined just for him.


He was probably a terrific fellow, if you can for a moment forget the undoubtedly tyrannical monarchy in which he was clearly a key figure.

But worry not about such matters, instead enjoy the show and pretend there is an inherent decency in mankind.

And whatever you do, don't watch the news.


On 'Countryfile' today, the English Rose will discuss one of the ruins that Cromwell knocked about a bit. I'd best hurry if I'm to get on location in time.

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