The heart and soul of the English is to enjoy simple joys. Collecting stamps, studying butterflies, having a cuppa, maintaining a shelf of books, putting a few wildflowers in a jar...these are the sorts of things that give pleasure. Living with an English hubby has taught me this and a lot more.
There is a certain protocol to the day; no dressing gowns at meals including breakfast. There must be tea served on a tray several times a day and by the way, I am the server. This ritual includes a sweet biscuit or cookie, possibly two but never more. There is usually economy about all his food...he can make a meal on boiled eggs and a can of sardines, what would be considered snack food the way I grew up. Despite the blandness of so much of the diet he was used to, he has an inexplicable love of curries, Thai food, and tacos. Oh yes, and hubby loves his boxed chocolates, the fancier and darker, the better.
The love of cardigans (a word familiar to those over seventy or us knitters), good mystery shows, well-made furniture, and reading newspapers cover to cover; this is my hubby.
I've read that the English had a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals a hundred years before they had such a society to protect children. This is perhaps one of hubby's most English characteristics...his love of animals is truly amazing, especially dogs.
Hubby extends his sense of economy to his wardrobe; old coats are never given up on, there just might still be wear in them or as he said to me one day, perhaps I could find a good use for the lining of one such poor example. Yet, good shoes are a necessity for ones feet, no matter what the cost. Money is happily spent on proper tools, anything made of good leather, pursuing hobbies, cars, and travelling. And meanwhile, in his office, he is using both sides of every piece of paper and saves all pennies in old coffee cans.
Perhaps this is not describing just the English as I set out to do, but many of us at this stage of life. I'm thinking of the part about enjoying simple joys, in particular.
The older we get, the more we all learn to appreciate the small, little, lovely bits and pieces that fill our days.