Regular readers of my blog may recall that the parish church of Berwick has no bell tower because it was built under the puritan regime of Oliver Cromwell, and so bells were installed in the Guildhall when it was built in the next century. (For more on the church see the post of 10.5.12.) They may also recall that the seagulls in Berwick are a dratted nuisance, and so will not be surprised to see a gull flying towards the camera at the bottom of the picture. I do have seagull-free photos of the Guildhall, but I quite like this one.
This window display was snapped in a sports shop in Marygate, the main shopping street of Berwick. It is not entirely clear why any visitors to this country would want to buy their souvenirs of London 2012 in Berwick rather than in, say, London, which may be why all Olympic souvenirs now have 20% off. Except the replica torches, which have enjoyed an inexplicable popularity.
I used to be a hard-core Olympic refusenik but I was completely won over by the fantastic opening ceremony. The next day I held my head a little higher as a proud citizen of what Danny Boyle called the Isles of Wonder. Only a few killjoy Tories have dissented from the rapturous reception given to the ceremony. They thought it was 'leftie' - which was exactly why some of us liked it! Considered within the particular remit of this blog, there seemed to be nothing to upset any of the 'nations and regions' of the UK. Danny Boyle scrupulously segued from Jerusalem's celebration of England's green and pleasant land to traditional songs from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales (alphabetical order, in other words). The uniforms of Team GB look a lot more blue than red, so that should gladden the hearts of Scots. And one of the young athletes who lit the cauldron comes from Westruther in Berwickshire, very much part of the Debatable Land. Take a bow, Callum Airlie.
The Commonwealth Games of 2014 are being held in Glasgow, which Scottish nationalists calculate will generate a surge of national pride that will translate into votes for independence in the referendum to be held in the same year. There is nothing at all 'debatable' about Glasgow, indeed a city with a stronger identity or more clearly defined sense of its place in the world would be hard to find. But it is within day-tripping distance of Berwick, and after enjoying the Olympics so much more than I expected I am seriously thinking of attending some events at the Commonwealths. I'll be the one not waving a saltire.
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