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What is your favourite word? I have to admit to being rather partial to “serendipity”, and another one I favour is “mellifluous”. “Recalcitrant” is satisfyingly sharp and sculpted, while “erudite”, “eloquence” and “nuance” roll off the tongue pleasingly. “Gumption” is another good one, then there’s “insouciance” and, as we’re in that area of the alphabet, how about “indefatigable”? For me it’s not just the definition of the word that attracts me to it, but the sound it makes – the musical and rhythmic quality it possesses.

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Celebrating Britain’s calendar of colourful and often quirky customs is something we make a point of doing in each issue of Evergreen. Our autumn edition, which is published on 6th September (click here to arrange a subscription), finds us wending our way – or perhaps I should say jigging – to the Staffordshire village of Abbots Bromley, where we witness the Horn Dance, which takes place every September. As you will discover, this remarkable dance, complete with its cast of impressively costumed characters - including a hobby horse, Maid Marian and a jester- is many centuries old and, understandably, the villagers are deservedly proud of the tradition and its ancient history.

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When was the last time you took a walk in the countryside? How about the picture above, any idea what sort of tree it is? Now, hold those answers for a moment as we put on our walking boots, reach for our rucksacks and set out on this week’s Evergreen blog.

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Just as I am fascinated by the stories that people have to tell, so too am I enchanted by the history that Britain’s glorious buildings have locked deep within their walls. Not only are these landmarks testament to architectural glory and the skilled builders and craftsmen of the past, but they are symbolic of our heritage and identity. This was powerfully demonstrated to me earlier this week when I visited London and went on a tour of the Houses of Parliament.

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The pages of Evergreen yield some real gems of popular nostalgia as we make our seasonal journey of discovery across Britain. Reminiscences are always cherished and when we're working on each edition we love gaining an insight, from you and our valued contributors, into past decades. It is fascinating to see a picture take shape of the people, places, sights, sounds and events of a particular era - whether it was entertaining or epoch-making.

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This week I expect that many of you have seen the television coverage of the Wimbledon tennis championships. If you’re anything like me, then the action on the glorious green courts of SW19 is a highlight on your summer viewing schedule. I have to confess that it is the only sporting event which I make a point of sitting down to watch. This year’s championships are the 140th and I discovered the other day that their impressive heritage is linked with another more colourful moment in British social history. Any ideas what it is?

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Are you still crossing off the days until your holiday this year, or are you an early bird who escapes at the earliest opportunity? And, when it comes to travelling, do you prefer to fly, set sail, or remain rooted to terra firma? What about holiday planning: are you one of those spur-of-the-moment holidaymakers, who books at the last minute, or are you a meticulous planner who starts organising the trip many months in advance?

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There are certain events that characterise and capture the spirit of the British summer. Some have a history going back hundreds of years whereas others are rather more recent additions to the seasonal calendar. Many of them focus upon sporting endeavours at such hallowed places as Wimbledon, Ascot, Henley and Lord’s; while others, most notably Trooping the Colour, are an exceptional display of pageantry and a celebration of our monarchical heritage.

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Throughout the centuries Britain has been a cradle of invention, enterprise and discovery. Whether inspired by the desire to cure disease, improve safety, reduce domestic drudgery or enhance our everyday lives, there are countless examples of individuals who have applied their expertise and ingenuity to ways of improving our existence and enabling our progress. From gadgets to ground-breaking discoveries, technological marvels to time-saving devices and industrial achievements to enterprising innovations, these visionary men and women have made their mark on British history.

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Are you ready to dip your toes into summer yet? Well, I can appreciate that the good old British weather might not be doing its best to summon up the spirit of the season, but I promise that the sun is most definitely shining within the pages of the summer issue of Evergreen, which is now on sale (click here for subscriptions).

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