Thursday, February 08, 2007

100th Post
Snow Day

Early this morning we huddled around the radio, listening carefully as the woman with the wonderful local accent on BBC Coventry announced the school closings. Kenilworth School and Sports College was among the many schools closed today because of the snow—4.5cm (about two inches) of it! Later this morning, the sledders and snowboarders were out in force in Abbey Fields, which is the perfect venue for sledding. The main streets have been salted, and are black and slushy but mainly clear.

In Julian Barnes' novel England, England, a wealthy developer decides to create, on the Isle of Wight, a replica of England containing all of the things most associated with England. The idea is that tourists won't have to travel all over the real England, since everything they most want to see will all be in one place. To get started, a Concept Developer is charged with the task of taking an international opinion poll to identify "the top fifty characteristics associated with the word England." Here are the top ten:

1. The Royal Family
2. Big Ben/Houses of Parliament
3. Manchester United Football Club
4. Class System
5. Pubs
6. A Robin in the Snow
7. Robin Hood and His Merrie Men
8. Cricket
9. White Cliffs of Dover
10. Imperialism

This morning's snow provided me with an opportunity to photograph #6 on the list, a robin in the snow (click photograph to enlarge to full size). The English robin (Erithacus rubecula) is unrelated to the thrush-like American robin. Barnes' list of icons of Englishness finds a real-life parallel in the website Icons of England, which allows people to nominate and vote for favorite English icons, including the robin.

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