I don't often feel proud - I am much more likely to be disparaging and to knock myself, and the things around me. I'm not sure whether it is my inherent Britishness - mustn't blow my own trumpet and all that, what, what? - or whether it is a hangover from school, where the aim was to duck my head and not stand out at all costs.
However, a number of events over the last couple of weeks have left me feeling proud. I'm proud of myself for getting my green belt in Tae Kwon Do, after only a few months of being green stripe. I was sure that I wasn't ready, and, though I didn't pass with credit (getting pretty much everything right), I did well enough that, in my mind, I passed fairly, rather than just scraping through.
I'm proud of my work team - we got through to a demonstration in a very big tender, and we were repeatedly complimented on the presentation and professionalism of the bid work.
I'm proud of my hockey team - ever since I started playing, we have been losing - often really badly (I think the worst when I was in goal was 9-0) Yet this week, we managed to win a game, 4-0 - and we really ran rings round the opposition. It might just be a one-off, but we played really well as a team, and deserved the excellent score.
And I'm proud of where I live. This is really a new sensation for me - I've moved around a lot through my life, usually following my father's work, and have always seen each new village/town/city as another stopping point. But we had a friend over from Australia to stay for a couple of days, and decided to go out on one of the open topped bus tours. We had an excellent tour guide, who came up and sat with us on the top of the bus, even though it was blowing a gale and threatening more rain (hey, who comes to the UK for the weather, anyway?). The commentary was fascinating - I had had no idea that Bristol had so many literary connections (Robinson Crusoe and Treasure Island being the books named, as well as the poem Vitai Lampada (The Close mentioned is the playing fields at Clifton College)), nor that it had so many "Firsts" or "Biggests" - everywhere we went there was something to be proud of. Yes, there is the slave trade, which is a shame that should never be forgotten, but Bristol is a place where I can be proud of living.