Last of the BritsWe tend to leave home around about ten in the morning when the worldis having its second mug of tea
. The travellers haven’t hit the road
yetand every-where is quiet. W
e’re on our way to town
gothere all that often, maybe
once a month, but it’s always worth the
trip.No need to spend a fortune on foreign travel anymore; the circus hascome to town.
Take this trip, for example. We’re
cruising along, half-chatting, half-listening to Ken Bruce on Radio-2, when a Chinese woman zooms past ona motorbike with a toddler sprawling on the petrol tank. There is nothingholding the kid in place, and neither of them is wearing a helmet.
“That poor woman’s
taken a wrong turn coming out of Manky Pooh and ended up in South Wales. S
probably trying to findher way back home, but the signposts are in gobbledegook. Poor girl;s
s doomed to wander the valleys forever
“How do you know she’s from Manky Pooh?” Liz demands
cynically.She challenges all my deepest revelations.
“It doesn’t matter,” I
The implications are horrendous. Thereare umpteen zillion motorcyclists in China. If they all make the samemistake and come zooming through the Channel Tunnel like a plague of locusts,
they’ll end up choking our
motorways and roads like so muchsludge in a gutter, to say nothing of the towns and villages. Before weknow it, everywhere will be knee deep in noodles and fried rice, and we
won’t be able to move.”
As a responsible citizen, I take these things
seriously. “Something has to be done, and quickly,” I tell her. That’s when
I was inspired to start my online petition to have the Channel Tunnelbricked-up at Folkestone.
“In the meantime,” I tell Liz, “we should
get everyone to lobby theirMP to have all road-signs displayed in English and Chinese, in the hope of helping these lost souls to find their way back to Yingyang County. Getthe WI onto it.
By now we are moving through the inner city. Bearded men inwhite nightshirts walk paces ahead of black shrouds that glide overpavements, silent and unswerving in hypnotic obedience. T
he ghosts of the night being led back to their daytime hidey-holes,
,” I whisper
, and step on the juice.In town, we mosey up High Street on the way to the market. Alongthe way we pass a gypsy woman
. She’s been standing there
ever sinceRomania boarded the EU gravy train, pumping furiously on a tunelessaccordion, like a desperate blacksmith aiming bellows at the last spark.
mentioned this girl before, not a note in her head, poor soul.
virtuoso myself, but this critter has been practising for months andgetting nowhere.
“I hope she’s saving up for lessons,” I mutter.
In a department store, I need to powder my nose and head for thetoilet. A gathering of Muslim women is blocking the foyer.
off their shoes and are having a prayer session, facing Mecca via theurinals. I navigate through them and point Percy at the wall.
If I felt theneed to pray while I was in this place,
I would head for theLingerie Department and meditate among those shapely dummies inflimsy knickers...
Outside, we encounter the last of the Brits; teenage girls withglazed eyes and heads full of din, lugholes bunged-up with earpieces.They could be robots; electronic cigarettes sticking out of their mouthslike teats. Further along, a posse of women gather at a bus stop, singingprotest songs..
. They carry placards that announce, “Every woman has a