Britain might be in recession, or on the brink of it, or just recovering from it, depending on which economist/s you're inclined to believe, but that didn't stop the nation reaching into its collective pocket on Saturday to have a flutter on the Grand National and FA Cup Semi-Final.
According to the bookies, nearly half the British adult population will have had a flutter of some kind this weekend, with nearly £300 million placed on bets. The £1 I threw into the office sweepstake suddenly seems rather miserly, although as someone who grew up obsessed by ponies and practically weaned on National Velvet, the thought of a woman winning this year's race meant there was even more reason to tune in.
If we are a nation of gamblers, we are also a nation that loves to moan. Let us count the things that have collectively upset us this week.
We are still worried about the impact of the Olympics on the capital and its businesses. We don't like the fact people dressed up in period costume for the anniversary voyage of the Titanic. Scratch that. We don't like the fact there even is an anniversary voyage (never mind that millions of us are quite content to watch the doomed ship sinking over and over again in 3D on the big screen, and on a Sunday in our living rooms on the small screen - although we don't like the latter very much either.)
We don't like ex-London Mayors being moved to tears. Or if they use actors in their adverts. We don't like girls in fascinators and fake tan enjoying themselves at Aintree, and we really, really don't like it when officials in Europe try to tell us what our hairdressers should and shouldn't wear. Quite a few Scots don't like The Economist much either.
No wonder we're all so tired and stressed when there's so much to be upset about...
Thankfully, there are a few members of the population who think a little differently.
Tim Smit - famous for creating Cornwall's The Eden Project, and the annual Big Lunch - told The Times on Saturday that 'we have become addicted to being negative'. He proposes that, as well as looking on the positive side just now and again, the whole country turn out for this year's Big Lunch, to be held on the Sunday of the Diamond Jubilee weekend, and get to know their neighbours. A fabulous idea and a great excuse to crack out the bunting and bubbly.
With less than a week to go to the London marathon, when thousands of people will be pushing themselves through personal pain barriers to raise money for charity, and with only a few months until the world's eyes are on the UK for the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, maybe now's the time to drown out our inner Victor Meldrews, and focus on all that's good in this country.
If you need a few other positive stories to focus on, there are a host of new websites popping up, which only focus on the good in the world. As well as HuffPost Good News, which launched recently on our sister American site, a little closer to home, Positive News is doing exactly as it name suggests and spreading positive stories to its growing readership. If your horse didn't come in yesterday, hopefully a few clicks in their direction can put a smile back on your face.
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