European Sweeping

At the Pub When You Called

Ranger, When you rang and spoke to Wendy I was across the road (25 paces) in the pub. Sank a couple of pints and the conversation went thus:

As I entered...

"Howdo, Malcolm, thee be orright?"

"Yes thanks Ken, and you?"

"Orright, orright, but my knee is summit bad."

"Be this rain then?"

"Oh aye, most likely. Good rain, mind."

General nodding, etc., from small crowd.

At the Pub
(Malcolm is the handsome fellow on the right looking at camera.)

"Oh aye, good."

"Make tatties come on."

"Will do right enuff."

"Been away then Malcolm?"

"Yes Bob, been in Barcelona."

"Oh, Spain then?"

"Aye, Spain."

"Good weather?"

"Yes, very nice, quite sunny."

"'Spect they need some rain like this then."

More conversation about cabbages, asparagus, proposed increase in the price of beer, last week's darts tournament, football.

Enter Old Jim, 92 years old, deaf as a beetle.

Jim "Howdo, half a pint of lager then. Not so bad , Not so bad." (The latter in anticipation of someone having asked him about his health.)

Conversation continues all around Jim who is incapable of hearing one word. This does not prevent him from entering the conversation at which point everyone looks at him, nods sagely and say "Aye Jim, you could be right."

Old Jim continues sucking on his half pint and is well pleased with his evening. After two halves, he leaves and drives home.

Conversation then continues.

"Old Jim looks orright." "Aye, not bad for his age." "Still driving I see." "Aye."

All of this is just wonderful, they have hearts of gold and of oak. You cannot and should not try to change England and why should you. There are so many things that frustrate the bejeebers out of you: a crumbling public service, a resistance to change, an inability to shift out of a slow trot.

However, the country has the best and worst newspapers in the world, has the most amazing and democratic parliamentary system, a monarchy they all love and hate, a history that drove the western world, a language that can be baffling but remains the most descriptive in the world and two universities, Oxford and Cambridge, that any country would kill to have just one of. It is an island the size of Arkansas that has not been invaded since 1066, surrounded by European countries that have been invaded and fought in on an average of once in every two generations.

I think you will like it, and that is before you set foot in Scotland, especially the highlands. That becomes another world again. There are two descriptions of the Scots that I like:

'Brought up on fresh air, porridge and the fear of the Lord.'
'Pray on their knees all Sunday and prey on their neighbours for the rest of the week.'

See you soon,

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