Tag Archives: Rupert

It’s an English Thing

Whenever somebody asks me where I am from, I always pause to answer.

I was born in Weymouth, England to an English father and a Sri Lankan mother. We lived in and out of England for the first few years of my life, I went to pre-school there, and then we moved to Australia where I grew up in Berry, NSW and was brought up as an Australian.

However, my father never really lost his accent (I still pronounce garage differently to everyone I know), I received a UK passport at birth and have spent a few trips, including a gap year, back in England.

My grandmother never left Weymouth and I always loved going back to visit her. The green rolling hillsides, the little wishing well behind her house and the thatched rooved cottages. The typical English seafront, the rocky beach and the harbour filled with fishing boats. The gorgeous Dorset countryside of quirky towns, white cliffs plunging into the blue Channel and walks through fields picking blackberries along the way.

I also love the city of London. Red telephone boxes, double decker buses, Big Ben, the tube and my favourite Tower of London. I love the parks, the palaces, the plays and the feeling of being at the centre of the world when you walk down Oxford St. I like mixing with the hip crowd at Covent Garden, standing on the edge of Greenwich Mean Time and imagining what it would be like to live inside the houses of Notting Hill. I enjoy seeing the gold encrusted Buckingham Palace gates, Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square and the bustling Piccadilly Circus. It’s also fun meeting all your Australian mates in a London pub as they are living there temporarily too.

So of course, I am Australia, but I also identify with all things English.

I was brought up on Sooty and Sweep, Noddy and Blue Peter on the TV, Punch and Judy shows at the sands and reading Beatrix Potter and Rupert at bedtime. I enjoyed eating treats from grandma like Hula Hoops, Hob Nobs and Quality Streets.

It’s always fun to go shopping at Boots, Marks and Spencers, H&M and window shopping at Harrods. I love drinking at one of the many great traditional English pubs with the same names in different places like The Golden Lion, The Red Lion, The Swan, the White Hart, The George Inn, The King’s Arms; and running to get into a nightclub before lock out. I have seen people being out on the pull for a snog, have worn a thong on my bottom instead of my feet and flitted off to Europe for a long weekend to escape the long dark winters.

The English culture is not so different to ours which makes it easy to relate to and it’s those little details that help strike up a conversation with a visiting Brit come to Australia to escape the bad weather for a time.

So, I guess I’m not English, as you are from where you grow up. But it is nice to know that I have the experience and knowledge to morph into an English person if needs be.

Related posts: It’s a Spanish Thing,  Toys, People vs Place, England, 2006England, 1997

Toys

My favourite toys growing up were a pyjama rabbit called Rabbit and a wombat puppet called Wombat. Very imaginative names I know.

I was only allowed to have one Barbie doll, so I got tropical barbie who lived in a white house with a red roof (which was modelled on our house) with Inspector Gadget who had spring arm legs and a helicopter that came out of his head. Their regular relations produced a daughter called Penny.

Having too many soft toys and collecting everything under the sun from stamps and coins to rocks and erasers; I was devastated to find out that my entire shell collection had been dumped in the backyard creek after a clean out of the shed and still feel guilty for stealing an eagle feather that a boy brought to school for show and tell.

I never received board games as an only child and was always every jealous when my cousins received Guess Who and Twister for Christmas. No, it was books for me- fortunately I loved to read.

My English connection meant that I received Beatrix Potter’s complete collection and all the Rupert books from grandma. I was also into watching Blue Peter, Noddy, Sooty and Sweep and the Punch and Judy show at the beach in summer.

I developed an early interest in science fiction by watching Doctor Who and in Japanese anime before I even knew that was what it was with Astro Boy; but my favourite show was the Lost Cities of Gold. I also liked Snoopy, Felix the Cat and Bugs Bunny with his Looney Toons.

There was always some craze at school- skipping ropes, then marbles followed by elastics.

Strawberry Shortcake, Snow White and Mickey Mouse were childhood staples and Archie double digests in my teenage years; but it was nothing compared to the Frozen mania that has swept the world of today. Disney has sure worked out how to capitalise on a brand there.

What was your favourite toy as a kid?

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