Every cloud has a silver lining.

Britain is renowned for its weather – or more accurately its rainy weather – and our obsession with it as a topic for social conversation, so this Summer we have had lots to talk about!

2012 to date has been one of our wettest years on record with the rainy weather hitting all areas of Britain even through the “Summer” months when we should be experiencing some sunshine.  Music fans have seen concerts and festivals interrupted and sporting events have been affected at the British Grand Prix (where the car parks werewaterlogged) and at Wimbledon where almost every day of the tournament saw interruptions of play due to rain (thank heavens for the roof on centre court!).

Wild Bee Orchid in English Meadow.
Wild Bee Orchid in English Meadow.

However, always one to focus on the positive, there has been one winner comeout of all this: the British countryside!  England, Scotland and Wales are renowned for their lush green landscapes and the rain fall this year has seen our woodlands and meadows come out in bloom with an unprecedented vigour.  Horticulturists have been in their element as their gardens have blossomed and as a host of new and rare wild-flowers have flourished in our countryside.  In particular a number of rare species of Orchid have thrived including the unique and beautiful bee orchid whose colourful bloom appears like a small bee insect perched in the centre of the pink and purple petals.

The 15th of July in Britain is known as St Swithun’s Day, a day dedicated to the 1st century Bishop of Winchester.  According to folklore the weather that occurs on his day each year will continue for the next forty days.  It is a bright morning today here in Cardiff so I will be selectively superstitious and hope that the next month or so will bring some sunny weather, not least for the Olympic games which is coming to London in a couple of weeks time!  But whether the weather rains or shines, if you’re walking in the countryside this Summer, make the most of the colourful array of rare flowers and keep an eye out for the bee orchid!

Wimbledon 2012 – Murray Makes History!

Yesterday evening most of the British population were glued to our televisions sets whilst perched on the edge of our seats as British Andy Murray made history in his Wimbledon semi-final against Frenchman Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.

Wilmbledon Logo
The Wimbledon Logo

Annually around this time of year again we Brits become avid and obsessive tennis fans for two weeks as our television screens are filled with the sight of the prim green courts of Wimbledon Tennis Club in South West London.  And each year the tournament ends leaving us with a slightly dispirited feeling of disappointment as our home players are dumped out in the early rounds with the exception of one or two who manage to make it to the latter stages only to lose against the big names of the game.  So much is our obsession with Wimbledon and our national players that in the late nineties the word “Henmania” was officially recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary as a result of the annual national frenzy surrounding Tim Henman’s progress (or lack thereof) at the tournament.  Tim did indeed reach the semi-finals on four occasions during his career.

This year however it will all be different!  On Friday evening Andy Murray from Dunblane, Scotland, battled his opponent and the pressure of expectation of a nation, as he won his opponent and the pressure of expectation of a nation, as he won his semi-final encounter!  In fact Murray is now the first British player to reach the Wimbledon Men’s Final in no less than 74 years!  In that year Englishman Fred Perry won the event.  Murray is also the first Brit in the men’s and women’s games to reach the finals since Virginia Wade won the ladies tournament in 1977.

Centre Court Wimbledon
Centre Court Wimbledon

So now all eyes are on Murray to seize the moment and go one better on Sunday’s final where he’ll face a stern challenge in the form of seven-times champion Roger Federer.  The superstitious may have notice that Virginia Wade won the event in the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee (2012 is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee) and that Andy Murray’s and Fred Perry’s Birthdays are just three days apart and Perry was 25 when he won the tournament – Murray turned 25 in May.  Also, the last time Britain held the Olympics (1908) a Brit, Arthur Gore, was champion at Wimbledon and the Olympics are coming to London in 2012.  So are the stars aligning for a momentous British Wimbledon victory?  Either way the British public are looking forward to a Sunday afternoon of nail biting, gut wrenching drama and will live every minute with Murray!