“Et in Arcadia ego”
Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited.
My ideal English summer’s day is easy to paint in my mind’s eye.
It will, of course, be a Saturday and I will rise late, let’s say nine o’clock. I will share – with my super-model companion – a pot of Earl Grey, take a piping-hot drawn bath, and then find the sports pages ironed and ready to peruse.
After a brief stroll along the Thames and through St. James’ park, breakers will be taken at The Ritz – a full English with soft scrambled eggs. A gentle potter down Jermyn Street will be followed by a cleansing ale on my way to Lord’s where I will take in the morning session. Luncheon on the lawn is a splendid picnic of sea food, pork pies, and a glass or four of the French stuff.
I will travel – and time not being an issue here ! – spend the afternoon under my trilby admiring the sumptuous straight mile at Newmarket where I watch the 2,000 Guineas; discovering the new Frankel, I win a tidy sum whilst I’m at it.
To complete the day a few jugs of Pimms and a barbecue filled with linen clad friends and family would suffice. Finally, I, and those with the fortitude to join me, will burst into the local for last orders and a decent sing song.
Long live the queen – no I don’t mean the cuckolded Sir Elton – and God bless strawberry jam and all its different varieties.
I do sincerely mean that, for I am a patriot, a monarchist, and have an unswerving love for these green and pleasant lands. However, recently there has been a little less to be proud of and it rather feels as if we are on our way to ruin.
Firstly this endless rain is drowning our joy. Wimbledon will probably have to be played under a bionic roof, the cricket has been cancelled, and the Eclipse will surely be run in a quagmire. I’m consigned to the belief that the chap upstairs is playing a rather cruel joke on us English, with not only the rain but – equally – as he gave us the ignominious Nigel Farage.
We are only halfway through 2016 and I can already assure you, dear reader, that Her Majeesty will began her Christmas Day speech: “This has been an annus horribilis…” – with the worst horrors occurring in this egregious month.
Each morning,I awoke to cats, dogs, and herds of cows tumbling from an oyster coloured sky. Behind the refuge of a pane of glass, I shelter, and look for solace in the papers.
The lingering threat and infinite fear of terrorism still hangs in the backdrop of urban psyche.
The cataclysmic run of events began with the brutal butchery of 49 innocent revellers in Oklahoma by a homophobic psychopath, next came England’s finest export – hooligans – who find it impossible to watch a game of soccer, without de-robing and fighting Russians and policemen; then we saw the worst humans in the world – Geldoff and Farage – capering on Thames over Europe, and finally the senseless murder of MP Jo Cox.
Cox was doing her job when a lunatic – ears full of Farages’s spite – stabbed her multiple times then shot her twice in the face. It was little past noon on a Thursday.
“Batley and Spen will go on to elect a new MP but no one can replace a mother,” said MP Rachel Reeves, on the death of the 41 year old parent of two.
This murder is perhaps the most tawdry occurrence in English modern political history, which resulted in a certain numbness in the realm.
With this unpalatable taste in the country’s mouth one presumed that a referendum on whether we should leave the EU would be foregone conclusion…surely?
Now, I am a great believer in the power of democracy and I am forever thankful to live in country where my vote is worth paper it is printed on. However, when the honey tongued Barking Bonking Boris of House Johnson and Adolf Farage are at the lectern convincing people with single-figure IQs – it can become an issue.
Like our knuckle dragging soccer players, our country has left Europe and it has left me lugubrious; no more Chablis, chorizo, ciabatta, pastel de Nata, nduja…the list is endless and salivating.
Indeed, there are serious arguments for a return to British values and, perhaps, immigration has gotten out of hand. Nevertheless, we as a country made the wrong decision and it is one that we will have to live with.
We must, in my opinion, get behind Johnson and accept this mistake and hope that we aren’t too sullied. I want him in charge of negotiations with the EU primarily because it was he who convinced us to get into this mess, so let’s essentially stand back and at least enjoy something whilst the country is slowly pillaged.
Otherwise, I may find a lovely Swedish lady and emigrate to her homeland, where I shall read Wallander with a glass of chilled vodka and a slate of gravlax.