The referendum in Scotland has meant a lot of focus on the land of Whiskey, Kilts, Bagpipes and Haggis. Down here in England it feels like we’ve almost been forgotten. The United Kingdom remains just as united as before and we thought what better way to celebrate than to take a look back at the past few months So here it is, our review of summer 2014 across the British Isles and beyond….
In sport there was a lot of expectation. Sadly – after the past two years of punching well above our weight on the world stage – 2014 was something of a damp squib.
The world cup in Brazil was a low key affair, with England Manager Roy Hodgson playing down our chances. He was right to – despite a whole lot of secret could-do-better-than-expected optimism – Stevie G and the boys left the competition almost as quickly as the World Champions Spain. And to rub salt into the wound Germany won.
The Tour de France ‘Grand Depart’ got underway in Yorkshire – acknowledging British winners of the event over the past two years: ‘Le Gentleman’ Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome. Whilst for Yorkshire, the spectators and organisers it was a massive success, any English hope took a tumble early on with Mark Cavendish crashing out and breaking his collarbone on the very first day and defending champion Froome coming off more than once on day 5 and damaging his wrist.
Then of course there was an event, up in Glasgow as 6,500 athletes took part in the Commonwealth Games. Hailed as a great success, they were a bright light in a dark room from the English point of view – the cross of St George topped the medals table with 58 Golds, 59 silver and, 57 bronze. Highlights – from an English perspective – included Lizzie Armitstead and Emma Pooley winning Gold and Silver respectively in the women’s road race and Greg Rutherford coming back from an horrendous injury riddled 2013 to take Gold in the Long Jump – almost as a warm up – as less than a month later he went on to take Gold in the European Athletic Championships.
At the Championships, Wimbledon, Scot Andy Murray only made it to the Quarter finals where he lost to Bulgarian Dimitrov. In the final there was an element of Deja-vu as Djokovic beat Federer in a 5 set thriller.
In remembrance. July 28th marked the centenary of the outbreak of World War I and to commemorate those who laid down their lives to freedom the Tower of London organised the stunning ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ installation. An army of volunteers us filling the Moat with ceramic poppies – 888,246 to be exact – one for each British military fatality in ww1. A picture – in this case – says 888,246 thank you’s.
In Music. The Capital has played host to some amazing music – not least Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park ‘Festival in a Day’ last weekend. 12 weeks previously DJ Chris Evans twisted legendary musician, composer and producer Jeff Lynne’s arm – to commit to performing live with his Electric Light Orchestra. It was the first time in 28 years. The result was an acclaimed performance. A Blue-Sky moment indeed.
The weather was a very mixed bag. The first part of the summer saw above average temperature – June was 6th warmest on record and July 8th , whilst August opened to a whole month’s worth of rain in the first two weeks and below average temperatures. The lowlight (quite literally) was the traditionally dismal wet August Bank Holiday weekend. So meteorologically summer had its ups and downs – but the Met office declared it as average.
Average. If you combine the highs with the lows that’s what you get, something in the middle, mediocre.
So as we put away the summer furniture (incidentally if you need storage for that we can help) let’s ponder that. If you don’t have the lows you won’t appreciate the highs. England’s performance at the Commonwealth games, Jeff Lynne’s gig and that truly awesome poppy field are testament to that.