Wednesday, April 9, 2008

English hospitality

As a journalist accustomed to reporting the news, at first I was dubious about being in an Evening Post feature.

But the response since the article was published last week has been wonderful. Sure, there were a few slightly rude comments on the Web version, but they weren’t too bad. I was very touched that one reader even apologized for the other Brits’ sarcasm! I received a couple of other letters congratulating me for the article, including one delightful missive from an older gentleman welcoming me to his hometown.

All this makes me realize, once more, that the English do hospitality better than any other nation I know. Each time I open my mouth I betray my nationality, but every comment is friendly and welcoming. I’d be a rich woman if I had a pound for every time I heard, “Whereabouts in American are you from?” but I can’t get annoyed because folks genuinely want to hear the answer.

I even benefited from English hospitality while in America. While looking for my first reporting job, an English expat family in Chicago invited me to stay with them awhile. I ended up staying for a year, well after I’d found a job, and that family became like my family. Now here I am in Nottingham, staying with yet another gracious and hospitable family who welcomed me into their lovely house with open arms, even though I was a stranger.

Rain and English reserve may be real but the sense of caring and warmth that pervades this land is realer still.

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