Archives for category: England

Five million people have now signed the petition to revoke article 50 and remain in the EU.


On my way home to Cornwall from High Wycombe last week, out of curiosity I dropped in at Horsleys Green. The entire Wycliffe Centre, including the new dining room, has been razed to the ground. My old office was literally a pile of matchwood. It was spooky, and made me reflect on the transience of all things.

… a single day of sunshine gets a slot on the national evening news.

…the kitchen cupboards are full of powdered this and powdered that:

  • Coffee powder
  • Gravy powder
  • Curry powder
  • Mashed potato powder
  • Soup powder
  • Egg powder
  • Mustard powder
  • Custard powder
I wasn’t aware of this national obsession until I lived elsewhere. The only one we have in Togo is milk powder.

Any Brits want to join me for a disturbing read?


… the security guard at Gatwick Airport greets you with “Hello, my darling!”

Down here in Cornwall, you’re more likely to be addressed as “my lover” or “my hansum”. And all this in a culture with a reputation for being reserved.

… having crossed the Sahara, the Mediterranean, the Bay of Biscay and the Channel in brilliant sunshine and blue skies, the plane begins its descent into a thick England-shaped cloud that exactly fits the contours of the coastline. Bill Bryson called it our tupperware lid.
But the fields of Sussex are green like nowhere else.

… you have to turn plugs on before they’ll work.

In the past week, two African friends have made the same comment about Brexit : “Why doesn’t your Queen intervene to stop it?”

If only.

An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king,–
Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow
Through public scorn, mud from a muddy spring,–
Rulers who neither see, nor feel, nor know,
But leech-like to their fainting country cling,
Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow,–

A people starved and stabbed in the untilled field,–
An army which liberticide and prey
Makes as a two-edged sword to all who wield,–
Golden and sanguine laws which tempt and slay;
Religion Christless, Godless, a book sealed,–
A Senate—Time’s worst statute unrepealed,–
Are graves from which a glorious Phantom may
Burst to illumine our tempestuous day.
Shelley wrote this sonnet at another low point in my country’s history, and some of the sentiments in it express how I feel following Brexit. Shelley was writing in response to the Peterloo massacre of 1819, where the British cavalry charged on citizens demonstrating peacefully for parliamentary reform. Fifteen people were killed including a two year old boy. The massacre was followed by a heavy-handed government crackdown on media and public gatherings. 
Let’s be thankful that, two centuries later, if nothing else, we have freedom of speech, and let’s cherish that gift.