ACCORDING to the weather forecast, you should be reading this column while bathed in warm sunshine, possibly planning the first weekend barbecue of the ‘summer’ – just in time for the nights to start drawing in.
As I write, between watching slates being blown off the neighbour’s roof (when I can see through the stair-rods of rain), it seems highly improbable. But I’ve de-greased the barbie just in case.
You see we’re Brits. We live in hope and expectation of brighter skies ahead.
If ever Great Britain gets an updated coat of arms, can I suggest the motto ‘Digitis Transierunt’ – or, in the colloquial, ‘Fingers Crossed’.
It kind of sums up the British attitude to life.
We’re (by and large) a nation of Brians, hanging on our ranks of crosses at the end of the classic Monty Python film, chorusing ‘always look on the bright side of life’ – despite every possible inducement to hang our heads and just mutter ‘oh bugger’ like so many Victor Meldrews.
But no. Our national default reaction in times of adversity is to say ‘not to worry’, ‘worse things happen at sea’ and my favourite (when summer has gone missing): ‘Well it’ll soon be Christmas!’
Just look at our national football team.
There hasn’t been a tournament in 49 years (which is 25 World Cups and European Championships) when we didn’t jump on the plane convinced of our invincibility – this in spite of fielding teams containing soccer gods of the stature of Carlton Palmer and David Batty.
You’d struggle to win the Spen Valley League with those two in the side.
Heck, half of the current England team can’t even get in the starting line-up at their clubs.
Even with England pondering boycotting the 2018 World Cup over Sepp Blatter’s mafia (cancel that, he’s just resigned!) it’s done with the supreme confidence that anyone would remotely miss a bunch of serial last-16, or at best quarter-finalists, staying away. And there’s nothing worse than snubbing a party and no-one noticing.
But in the proudly beating British breast, hope springs eternal.
At home, our politicians are currently getting their knickers all twisted over Europe. Should we stay or should we go?
I will say that the sooner the question is put the better, because otherwise it will linger worse than a curry-fueled botty burp in a broken lift.
Plenty is made of how much Germany and France (because let’s face it they ‘are’ the EU) are willing to concede to David Cameron in order to keep us in.
Here’s what I think they’ll offer the PM – two-fifths of sod all. Platitudes, that’s all.
Why? Because firstly they’re already sick of us being the moaning Jonah, and secondly, because although they’ll miss our substantial membership fees, it will make their silent agenda for creating a federal Europe that much easier.
Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande can’t say that and won’t say that.
Instead they’ll leave it to Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU president, who would probably declare war on us if he had the power and/or balls.
He was even at it this week, saying David Cameron was trying to stitch his own people up … prodding, provoking, stirring.
These people know that it won’t make a blind bit of difference to UK-European trade, despite all the scare-mongering we’re going to get from politicians, lawyers and the many vested interests for whom the EU is a cash cow that adds plenty to them, but nothing to us.
For now I find Cameron punting himself round Europe like a posh Oliver Twist rather unedifying.
Being snubbed by some of those countries is like being unwelcome at a pub you wouldn’t be seen dead setting foot in anyway.
But the PM, being a cheery-cheeked Brit, will put the best gloss he can on it, polish up the EU turd like it’s a brass buckle and try to sell us it.
I just hope that British backbone and natural optimism shines through. There are sunny days ahead, folks – even if it means buying a few islands off the bankrupt Greeks.
Now that’s a happy thought…
MY STAFF keep pestering me to have a computer clear-out. It’s like an elephant’s graveyard in the back of the sales office.
Well, they can throw those cheap and tatty old Windows PCs in the skip, but they’d better leave my lovely old Apple Macintoshes alone.
I might open a Mac museum one day, having used/owned them for 20 years.
A widow in California threw out her late husband’s old Macintosh computer recently. The recycling people who found the Apple I then sold it to a collector for £130,000.
And apropos that, a survey reveals that Yorkshire folk are not as tight as reputed. We’re just cannier with our cash than other Brits. No flies on us Tykes.
Which reminds me of my first trip to London, when dad warned me about those rip-off merchants in the big city.
Coming upon a pub which promised a pie, a pint, and half an hour with buxom Bella the barmaid, all for just a fiver, I was quick to check they were Cross’s pies and Tetley bitter…
PS: If Tykes generally are most appreciative of ‘value’ Dewsbury and Batley folk must top even that tree. I’ve yet to find anyone else in the Broad Acres who either uses the word ‘thoil’ or has an equivalent of it.
For the uninitiated (ie, posh) thoil means you can afford something, but not justify the outlay. I can afford £4.80 for a pint of Peroni in Leeds, I just can’t thoil it.
IT WAS sad about Charles Kennedy, the former Lib Dem leader who was that rare beast – an honest, humorous politician who actually answered a straight question.
You look across the Westminster landscape and it is depressingly bare of such people.
And never has it been more evident than this week with the stomach-churning ‘tributes’ of MPs competing to bring a tear to the eye with soundbites that would be cheesy inside a cheap card from Clinton’s.
Some of the worst of those came from the pole-climbing careerists like Nick Clegg, who pounced on Kennedy and kicked him out at his lowest ebb, brazenly profiting at his demise.
Luvvy-duvvy Lib Dems? I don’t think so.