Great! So we won second place in the medal tables in the Olympics beating China. It’s certainly pleasant to have something to feel good about in GB. We ‘beat’ all countries except the US of A, four times our size in terms of population. Sport entertains and engages so many people, I suppose that I should join in the congratulations.
Somehow though, it feels like a hollow victory. Will it buy us any real long term benefits? I doubt it. We will probably now enter into an arms-race with China to outdo each-other in the Tokyo Olympics. Is it too cynical to remember Juvenal’s quip about ‘Bread and circuses’ to keep the masses under control? We still have to face the awfulness that is our decision to leave the EU.
At the weekend I met an old work colleague; he proudly told me that he had voted to ‘leave’ in the referendum. Before I could stop myself, I called him a ‘bastard’. His revelation caught me short; the realization that sensible, ‘ordinary’ people that I had been friends with voted to leave... Yes, I’m bitter; no, it’s not sour grapes over the Olympics. I just wish that we, as a country, had done something about which we could all be really proud.
After a visit to the National Archives at Kew today, I decided to take a nostalgic No 65 bus back to Ealing Broadway; not before though I recorded the NA official Heron standing guard outside the building. The NA also have their own cormorant; I watched him swallow a sizeable fish quite whole last week.
Two things are extraordinary about Ealing: how much has changed, and how much hasn’t. So many buildings I remember from my youth are still there; so much else is different beyond belief.
Still, I have to record disappointment in Ealing Broadway; quite impossible to get a decent pint of beer there. I was forced to come back to Chelmsford to the Railway Tavern; now there’s a pub worth an hour-and-a-half’s train ride…
We are very fortunate, those of us who sail in the waters around Essex and Suffolk, in that there are some beautiful rivers and estuaries to explore. Of all of them, the River Deben is possibly the most attractive; but in the same way that a beautiful rose has its thorns, the Deben does have a sting in its tail. The entrance from the sea is a confusion of bluffs, a very shallow bar and cross-currents which tend to change year on year. It is said that the ebb tide can reach up to six knots; last week we encountered a flood tide of more than three knots at the entrance. If one is unfortunate enough to go aground in such a strong current, the boat could easily be overwhelmed.
But having run the gauntlet of the entrance, the river is picturesque and charming. We sailed up to Woodbridge and picked up a buoy so that I could row ashore to buy supplies. The supermarket staff were entirely unperturbed when I arrived at the checkout with a pair of oars in my trolley…
We then sailed down the river and moored off the Ramsholt Arms, going ashore for a brief sherbet before enjoying a curry on board. The picture was taken as we luxuriated in post-dinner contemplation of the world.
Welcome to the Mirli Books blog written by Peter Maggs