Tag Archives: Arthur C. Clarke

How They Celebrate The 4th of July In England, Britain.

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
by Anura Guruge

Related posts:
++++ Search on ‘July 4’ & ‘4 July’for many, many other related posts >>>>



Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, MP and Mayor of London, born in New York, is not amused.


 The Scene

donaldct4th of July 1985. Donald Court, Woodbine, Maryland — a new, ‘middle class’, 4-acre lot housing development. We had been there for about 2 months.

My 2nd 4th of July in the U.S., the FIRST as a British citizen. The other had been in 1968, in Buffalo, NY, when I was 14. I was, however, a citizen of Ceylon at the time (only having changed nationality in 1983).

Big, neighborhood cookout across the road. Very communal community. Around 3 in the afternoon. The sun is beating down. As ever I have a glass of wine in my hand. A lady, one of the neighbours, sidles up to me and puts her delicate hand on my arm.

“So, Anu, tell me, how do they celebrate the 4th of July in England?”

“Quietly, very quietly!”

I kid you not. This is a true story. It was my best rejoinder EVER. I am so proud that I was able to come up with that. I have got so much milage out of this story, in Britain, when I used to do seminars over there. I would start off with this story. The Brits loved it.

So I am sharing it with all of YOU in case you too were wondering how the British celebrate the 4th of July.

Some Other Memorable, “This Really Happened To ME”, U.S. << — >> U.K. contretemps during my many (30++) years in the U.S. as a British subject.

>> “These, what did you call them, ‘pounds’, is that like a currency, like money, like the dollar?” ((“Know they are better than the dollar, about two and a half times better”. This was in 1980 when a U.K. pound (£1) was worth around $2.40. Phoenix Airport, Arizona — trying to pay for excess baggage using airline issued MCOs (Miscellaneous Charge Orders).))

>> “Arthur C. Clarke was British? Well, we wrote damn well for NOT being American!” ((This was by a retired, highly respected surgeon in Laconia, New Hampshire, in September 2001 during a Laconia Rotary Club Meeting.))

>> “He got his first degree from the “University of Whales”. ((Laconia Rotary Club Newsletter, Fall 2001, after I had told them that I got my first degree from the University of Wales. The writer of the piece, a newspaper editor and now the Mayor of Laconia, claimed that he had NEVER heard of Wales!))

New Hampshire Stories: Laconia Rotary Club and Arthur C. Clarke Being American.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

  by Anura Guruge

Arthur C. Clarke in Sri Lanka with the famed Sigiriya rock fortress with its fabled images of topless beauties behind him.

What Arthur C. Clarke is MOST famous for though this was BUT just a small part of his huge legacy … Click image to read about Arthur in Wikipedia.

“New Hampshire Stories” sets out to chronicle noteworthy, but mostly amusing, events from my 3 decades in New Hampshire.
Check the CATEGORY ‘New Hampshire Stories’ or do a SEARCH using sidebar search box for ‘stories’ for other posts.

Please read this post
for more about my induction to the Laconia Rotary Club ….

So per President Kinney’s instructions I did my two presentations to the club about my life, the first devoted to my early days.

A few weeks later, per the club edict that you really must mingle, I sat at the informally designated ‘head table’ for what was always an outstanding buffet lunch. The professional dignitaries invariably gravitated to this table.

On of those at the table was a recently retired surgeon from Laconia. Big guy in every sense of the word, but very nice. He had just recently been the President of some prestigious board of NE surgeons (possibly doctors). His brother was a dentist (in Laconia) and a member of the club. They always sat at the same table. The dentist was a chair-smoker. Whenever I saw him I would have these images of him, in the 70s (when I assumed there were no laws against where you smoked), leaning over his patients with a cigarette dangling from his lips.

I am seated diagonally from the surgeon; his brother seated next to him.

The surgeon puts down his cutlery, looks up at me and says: ‘So Anu, who is the MOST famous American author living in Ceylon … Sri Lanka?

I am stumped. I don’t know. I THOUGHT that maybe he was getting Arthur C. Clarke confused, but dared not mention that name.

I had, in my 1st presentation mentioned Arthur C. Clarke. Pointed out that he had moved to Ceylon in the late 1940s for the sunken shipwrecks that he dove (and for some other local ‘attractions’). Mentioned that my father knew him and that the very first telescope that I had seen (and used) belonged to Arthur C. Clarke. It was a brass telescope and Arthur had lent it to my father for a couple of nights. My father managed to find Saturn with it. Was I impressed and hooked. Wow. Yes, I could see the rings. I am sure Arthur gave my father directions as to where to point as my father, though an expert in many fields, is not an expert when it comes to the night sky. So I had covered Arthur in my presentation. So you can blame Arthur for my abiding interest in astronomy.

So, I am hesitating.

The surgeon by now is visibly getting excited. He goes: ‘Hhhhmmm. I thought you would KNOW. It is Arthur C. Clarke‘.

I am shocked. I am amazed. But, I have a knack of always hedging my bets …

So, I say: ‘You know, I am fairly sure Clarke is BRITISH‘.

This is a TRUE story with no embellishments whatsoever. But, can we PLEASE have a drum roll here …

He turns a bit pink and splutters:
Ha … He writes DAMN WELL for not being American’!


That to me will always be how I remember Laconia Rotary.