On the breasts of a barmaid in Sale
Is printed the price of the ale.
And on her behind,
For the sake of the blind,
Is the same information in Braille.
The quoting of the above limerick was provoked by my experience on 4 July in the Old Town of San Diego, California, USA. Let me say first of all that I was immensely moved by the ceremonies that day. I shed a tear when the flag was raised, and even pledged allegiance to it (my grandchildren were watching me VERY closely). I sat through a reading of the Declaration of Independence, trying to cope with the anti-British bits. It was a moving moment. I only wish we showed such overt patriotism in Britain.
Which leads me neatly on to the connection with the barmaid. I discovered, as all we perfidious Albions do, that foreigners are totally confused by the various ways in which we describe ourselves (I suspect that a lot of my fellow citizens are equally confused). So, without the benefit of the boobs or bum of a barmaid, I wish to lay out the following:
The British Isles is a geographical description of all the islands in the group, including all of Ireland.
Great Britain is a geographical description of the main island, ie without Ireland and all the little islands.
The United Kingdom is a political description of the constituent parts of the Queen's Realm, namely, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (sometimes known as Ulster). ie, omitting the independent and very beautiful Republic of Ireland to the south.
Britain is a vague term that could mean any or all of the above.
The language we speak is known as English, except to linguists, who call it British English, the relativist bastards. Unfortunately, nobody apart from me, Queen Elizabeth II and the late Richard Burton still speak it, it having been replaced by Estuary English, a simplified form of the language based on a two-hundred word vocabulary, the glottal stop and an excessive use of the word "like" (You can hear it on any soap opera, and on most other TV programmes that do not involve vicars).
Be fair: how the hell could I have got all of the above on to a barmaid's curvy bits?