Man About Town: Bastille Day made me realise, other countries' national days are way more fun

 

Whenever I hear people (or myself) complaining about trains in the UK, I like to think back nine years when I was on holiday in California. After having explored the Golden State, I thought that jumping on a train to Seattle would be the relaxing, scenic route.

When we got to the station at Oakland, we were told the train was delayed, being British we were used to this. Until we realised just how delayed. Seven hours. So late, in fact, that we had time to have dinner and go to watch a movie and still have to wait a couple of hours for the train.

This was, of course, no great hardship, but it was a disappointment as we ended up arriving in Seattle, around 2am on 5 July, and our plans to go to a 4 July party dashed against the rail tracks.

It was a shame as celebrating other country’s national days is usually much more fun than your own. This week I celebrated Bastille Day at L’Escargot’s private member’s club in London, complete with two of France’s most popular party exports – champagne and canapés. Among our number were a group of Brits who arrived in berets, striped t-shirts and garlic strings and wielding baguettes. They seemed to be getting more into it than the locals I’ve seen when in France on 14 July.

The UK, of course, doesn’t have its own national day - partly because we are collection of countries and partly, according to some, because when others were setting their ones in the calendars, we were too busy taking and then granting independence (the usual reason for a “day) to other countries to get time to create one.

And among the union, England is perhaps the day least noted - every April, the same arguments roll around about whether St George’s Day should be a public holiday.

While the same people rehash that debate, I say it’s far better to make a habit of celebrating other countries’ days. UK town centres are often packed with revellers on St Patrick’s Day and Australia Day, so it’s only a small leap.

Follow this plan and next month alone you could be out eating and drinking a variety of things every other day as you toast a broad line-up of independence days including Switzerland, Bolivia, Jamaica, Indonesia and Moldova…

Luke Blackall is a video journalist for London Live

twitter.com/@lukeblackall

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Casual Visitor Experience Assistants

    £7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: To work within the Visitor Experience Departm...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

    Tribal gathering

    Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
    Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

    Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

    Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
    10 best trays

    Get carried away with 10 best trays

    Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
    Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

    Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

    Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
    Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

    Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

    He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
    Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
    How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

    Heavy weather

    What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
    World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

    World Bodypainting Festival 2015

    Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
    alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

    Don't call us nerds

    Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
    How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

    How to find gold

    Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
    Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

    Not born in the USA

    Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
    10 best balsamic vinegars

    10 best balsamic vinegars

    Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend