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ABC of British Eccentricity

Updated on July 27, 2010

Nobody does eccentricity better than the British. Whether it is their obsessive gardening, ice cream cone hats for attending a horse race, devotees of the queue and summer holidays at a rainy seaside, Christmas pudding and marmite, eccentricity is a British tradition. No one beats the British for odd or whimsical behaviour and perhaps, more than geographical location, that is what separates them from the rest of the world!

ABC of British Eccentricity:

A is for Ascot, a national institution and the centrepiece of the British social calendar.

B is for Bog Snorkelling, a sports event that takes place in Wales.

C is for Christmas pudding, only a couple of spoonfuls a year are enough!

Royal Ascot

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HRH Princess Beatrice walks around the parade ring on the first day of Royal Ascot 2009 at Ascot Racecourse on June 16, 2009 in Ascot, England.  (June 16, 20092009-06-16 00:00:00 - Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images Europe)  HRH Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall smiles in the parade ring in a horse drawn carriage on the second day of Royal Ascot 2009 at Ascot Racecourse on June 17, 2009 in Ascot, England. (June 17, 2009 - Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images Europe) Aishwarya Rai@Longines Royal Ascot 2009 in U.K.
HRH Princess Beatrice walks around the parade ring on the first day of Royal Ascot 2009 at Ascot Racecourse on June 16, 2009 in Ascot, England.  (June 16, 20092009-06-16 00:00:00 - Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images Europe)
HRH Princess Beatrice walks around the parade ring on the first day of Royal Ascot 2009 at Ascot Racecourse on June 16, 2009 in Ascot, England. (June 16, 20092009-06-16 00:00:00 - Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images Europe)
HRH Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall smiles in the parade ring in a horse drawn carriage on the second day of Royal Ascot 2009 at Ascot Racecourse on June 17, 2009 in Ascot, England. (June 17, 2009 - Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images Europe)
HRH Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall smiles in the parade ring in a horse drawn carriage on the second day of Royal Ascot 2009 at Ascot Racecourse on June 17, 2009 in Ascot, England. (June 17, 2009 - Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images Europe)
Aishwarya Rai@Longines Royal Ascot 2009 in U.K.
Aishwarya Rai@Longines Royal Ascot 2009 in U.K.

Ascot


Royal Ascot, the horse race held in June every year, a unique event in the summer social calendar, steeped in tradition, heritage and pageantry dating back almost three hundred years. It is without doubt the greatest race meeting in the world and a celebration of everything that is uniquely British. But, if Royal Ascot is the ultimate stage for the best racehorses in the world, why on earth do the public and the media concentrate on only one thing: Women’s hats and who has the most outrageous hat on the hat wearing festival of Ladies Day.

Bog snorkelling

Bog snorkelling an annual swimming world championship first held in 1985, that takes place in Wales. It is officially a sporting event where competitors have to complete two consecutive lengths in a 55 m water filled trench cut through a peat bog, in the shortest time possible.

Competitors must wear snorkels and flippers, and complete the course without using conventional swimming strokes, relying on flipper power alone. Wet suits are not compulsory, but are usually worn. The winner is entered in the Guinness Book of Records.


Bog Snorkelling Championships In Wales

Christmas Pudding Quote by Charles Dickens

"Oh! All that steam! The pudding had just been taken out of the cauldron. Oh! That smell! The same as the one which prevailed on washing day! It is that of the cloth which wraps the pudding. Now, one would imagine oneself in a restaurant and in a confectioner's at the same time, with a laundry next door.”

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Christmas pudding

 

Christmas pudding is a British dessert traditionally served on Christmas day.  The pudding's origins can be traced back to the 1420s when meat was then kept in a pastry case along with dried fruits acting as a preservative.  Who but the British could transform a way of preserving meat at the end of the season into an institutional dessert? 

British Christmas Pudding
British Christmas Pudding
HM Queen Elizabeth II laughs in the parade ring on day four of Royal Ascot 2009 at Ascot Racecourse in Ascot, England.  ( CHRIS JACKSON, GETTY IMAGES / June 19, 2009 )
HM Queen Elizabeth II laughs in the parade ring on day four of Royal Ascot 2009 at Ascot Racecourse in Ascot, England. ( CHRIS JACKSON, GETTY IMAGES / June 19, 2009 )

What do the British have to say about eccentricity?

Like all the best families, we have our share of eccentricities, of impetuous and wayward youngsters and of family disagreements.” (Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom)

I used to think anyone doing anything weird was weird. Now I know that it is the people that call others weird that are weird. (Paul McCartney)

Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigour, and moral courage which it contained. (John Stuart Mill)

There's something about being in the country that makes you stick out like a sore thumb – you're an anomaly. But in London there's always someone wilder and woollier. (Cornelia Parker, British artist)

Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric. (Bertrand Russell)

There's not much room for eccentricity in Hollywood, and eccentricity is what's sexy in people.(Rachel Weisz, British actress)

HubChallenge day 5

This is only the start; one could go through the whole alphabet and would always find at least one or two British eccentricities for each letter.  What’s more, Britain is probably the only country in the world that is totally proud of its eccentricities. 

What about yourself?  Which are your most loved and hated British eccentricities?

Comments

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    • profile image

      nnua 

      7 years ago

      Eccentricity is when one has an original opinion without following the herd mentality, then proceeds to act it out without concern what other people would think of said behaviour. And have a sense of humour regarding oneself ^-^

    • profile image

      yaseen kop 

      7 years ago

      attemptedhumour 2 months ago

      I was standing in the supermarket the other day, naked except for my wellies, when i realised that the forcast was for a fine day! We like silly hubs and this is one of them. Godbless.attemptedhumour 2 months ago

      I was standing in the supermarket the other day, naked except for my wellies, when i realised that the forcast was for a fine day! We like silly hubs and this is one of them. Godbless.

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 

      8 years ago from Australia

      I was standing in the supermarket the other day, naked except for my wellies, when i realised that the forcast was for a fine day! We like silly hubs and this is one of them. Godbless.

    • profile image

      Lord Gaga 

      8 years ago

      Eccentric, us? Poppycock, sir! Tis the rest of the world who are eccentric. Can't dally here, one of my foxhounds seems to have caught fire. Tally-ho, you oicks!

    • Albertttt profile image

      Albertttt 

      8 years ago

      Good hub.

      Albert

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 

      9 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Lovely hub, being British living in the USA it reminds me how wonderful British eccentricities are. In the food department, check out my hub on StarGazy pie from Cornwall. Loved the hats by the way, thanks for a great hub. Us Brits can always laugh at ourselves!

    • robertsloan2 profile image

      robertsloan2 

      9 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Uncensored British humour. I love British comedy, from Terry Pratchett to Monty Python. It doesn't shy away from things or sweeten everything up the way American comedy does. There's no pretense of happy endings. It can start out with blowing up the world and then leave the three surviving loonies bickering over socks that stink.

      And of course British spelling, which I think of as more elegant and prettier than American. Words like honour, colour, aluminium, recognise and so on always seem a bit more solid. American spelling looks like a contraction after I've been reading British for a while.

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 

      9 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      In some parts of the country, people eat slices of cheese on their Christmas cake - it's supposed to bring out the flavour. There's loads more of our eccentricities you could check out - how about the Peter Pan Swimming Race across the Serpentine in Hyde Park on Christmas Day? Or the Furry Dance that takes place in Helston in Cornwall every year?

    • Anath profile imageAUTHOR

      Anath 

      9 years ago

      That is so funny/weird, Brian. Great link, I think you are right, cheese rolling beats the christmas pudding in eccentricity!

      I think I must go with Princessa this time compu-smart... me too, I hate Marmite!

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 

      9 years ago from London UK

      Marmite..I love it!

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      9 years ago from France

      Marmite... I hate it!

    • BrianS profile image

      Brian Stephens 

      9 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      You need to check out cheese rolling as your C option, think it will beat Christmas Pudding hands down. There is a video on my https://hubpages.com/travel/Gloucester hub. Sorry to use you as a link to one of my hubs, but I really think you will like it.

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