Saturday 9 May 2009



I’ve never really thought of myself as “English” though clearly I am, and if asked I would deny being proud of my country – there is much in its history and politics that merit shame.

However, watching the ice-cream orchestra brought home how MUCH of home is housed within me.

Last night I saw “Good Morning England” at the local cinema, a tale around Pirate Radio Broadcasts of the late Sixties, and the film was seeped in reference to a cultural background that I share and come from and which defines me as much as blood or parentage.

In many parts of the world people happily or unhappily change nationality yet if I did this it would feel unreal to me, even a pretence – how could I deny my cultural bedrock.

I’m not sure where the Mini, fifty years old this year, sits in all of this- I have never owned one, never driven one- but it was something that surrounded my youth in such intensity that now when I see an original design I smile.

Maybe you would do this if you weren’t English anyway but my mother’s mother-that-i-never-knew was also called Minnie so the sound of the word runs deep in my associative consciousness, my blood history and in my everyday too.

I live with a Minnie.


Janet Bianchini said...


I have had fun looking through your lovely blogs tonight! It's amazing how one comment on a blog can lead to new insights and horizons.

I have driven a mini and loved it. For me, it is the quintessential "English" car even though it is now owned by BMW..

My parents are both Italian and I was born in England and lived there most of my life until I moved to Italy in June 2008. I suppose I am "bilingual" although my Italian isn't very good.

I have often been asked this question: "Do you consider yourself to be English or Italian?" My answer has always been "English, but my blood is Italian".


popps said...

It's interesting that you describe yourself as "suppose bilingual" .

Like everything a lot depends on what you personally mean by bilingual - i have always considered the cultural context and associations that weave through language almost impossible to fully understand unless you lived that time and place.

So much is communicated and understood by what is in fact unsaid.

Janet Bianchini said...

I was brought up entirely in Italian as my parents and my grandmother always spoke to me in Abruzzese dialect and I always answered back in English. I find that is quite strange, really. I must have learned English when I went to primary school. My parents still communicate in Italian and I respond in English to this day. I definitely consider English to be my mother tongue, however, and I speak Italian with an English accent.

popps said...

Ok, this question will seem a little odd, especially as i've only known you two comments ago and you have probably never thought about it and i hope never have to ...........but where would you want your remains to rest after you died?
Don't feel you have to answer if it is either too discreet or too weird.

Janet Bianchini said...

Yes, this is an interesting question which made me think a lot but in truth I don't know the answer to it, yet. It has inspired me to write a new post on my blog which I'll publish soon...Also, it got me and my hubby talking about it and I now know his express wishes regarding this matter.

popps said...

I'm glad the question didn't scare you away, and i look forward to your post.

i wrote a bit on the topic here in Feb and i still think it is a question i can't answer.

popps said...

the link is now here