“Land of hope and glory, mother of the free,” oh, how the words of that stirring anthem about this fair nation seem so far from removed from the recession-hit, depressed land we now live in.
As the pound struggles against the Euro and holiday-makers whinge about paying £6 for a coffee in Greece, I went in search of a slice of inspiration – and a small reminder of what Great Britain used to be.
And where better to look than in the nation’s capital, London. Surely here the spirit which created an empire, which built magnificent bridges, which defended the world against tyranny, which made Britain anything but “little”, would still survive?
Absolutely, old boy! And nowhere better was that greatness encapsulated than at my choice of hotel.
The five-star The Dorchester in London’s elegant Park Lane had billed itself as “inherently British”, I wondered what that meant in these modern times (hooped earrings and rolled-up tracksuit trousers?).