Came across this poll in the Guardian (20 July 2012):
All sparked off by a New York Times journalist who wrote that "low-grade grousing is [a British person's] default response to life's challenges, and part of the national condition – as integral to the country's character as its Eeyoreish attitude toward the weather."
A cheap stab from across the pond if ever I saw one. "National condition" indeed. What's wrong with a little therapeutic whinge once in a while? An innocent little grumble to grease the wheels. And it has so many uses - it's a wonderful ice-breaker (think interviews, lifts, queues, hair salons), it warms the blood, brings people closer together, and, perhaps most importantly, it lies at the very heart of that fabulously British talent for irony.
Obviously, you need to know where to draw the line and call it a day. Most of the time though, once it's out of the system, we do get on with it, don't we? Can't imagine Eeyore* popping on his wellies, sticking a smile on his face and braving the blizzards. That's the British for you. Of course you have a little whinge, a little moan. But then you roll up your sleeves and you get on with it.
*Eeyore, of Winnie the Pooh fame - the big, purple, self-pitying puddle of donkey. Eternally depressed yet somehow simply adorable.