I left work this evening and realised that today, August 11, summer here in Britain is already over. Although this is not at all unusual – in some years we don’t even have a summer, but this year there have been some remarkably hot weeks – but still it is disappointing. I like autumn, in fact it’s my favourite season, but I don’t really want it beginning before August is not even half over. There are no particular signs that summer has now been concluded in Old Blighty, but it is, to me at least, unmistakable. I went to the basement to get my car, drove onto Young Street and stopped outside the Nat West branch at the junction with Kensington High Street and a wind was blowing fiercely. And it was not a warm wind, but the chilly kind we get towards the end of September. Yet today is August 11.
Certainly, winds blow in June and July, and certainly we have, every year, days which, if not exactly chilly, are most definitely not warm. But there was more to it, that indefinable something you can’t ignore even if you want to.
It is nothing physical, but a sensation. Without being too fanciful it is akin to ‘regret’.
Most of you reading this will have experienced something similar when days, weeks, months, even years before a relationship reaches a sorry end, you know it has ended. You know it and can’t ignore it. Well, that’s what I felt – and feel, sitting here in the smoking area outside the Prince of Wales on the border of Kensington and Fulham. Shame really, but there you go.
As a rule we Brits are all pretty much ‘glass half full’ people when it comes to the weather. We always look on the bright side, we value the bright sunny days because for us they are comparatively rare compared to folk living in the South of France or Italy or Spain. And because we are almost pathologically positive and upbeat about what the weather might be like ‘tomorrow’ even though ‘today’ has been something of a washout, any Brits reading this might well tell themselves ‘he’s talking out of his arse. Summer ended? Before August is even halfway over? Nonsense. It’s just a bad day’.
Well, they are wrong and I am right. At least, fingers crossed and all that, there might be a longer summer next year. And if there isn’t, well, the year after then. Or the year after that. Who knows? But the Brits are still in shorts, despite the so-so weather. It’s a point of pride.
. . .
I wasn’t in London yesterday, but I gather there was a demonstration of several million people expressing their outrage over ‘Israel’s brutal attack on Gaza’. Well, you have your views on the conflict in and around Gaza and I have mine.
I have made mine clear in previous entries, but I shall add again that the one war which Hamas is winning hands-down is the public relations war.
Irrespective of the cynicism with which they ensured there had to be Palestinian deaths by launching their missiles into Israel from schools and hospitals (the UN confirmed that weeks ago) and that every dead Palestinian woman and child is a winner as far as they are concerned in the conflict the are fighting, and irrespective of the dismay of ordinary Palestinians who would like to be shot of Hamas and their brutal methods, their opponents, Israel are the demons in the popular view and they are seen as the plucky freedom fighters battling bravely against the assumed brutality of the Israeli state maching. Oh, if only things were that simple.
This occurred to me – again – when I read the news that 500 Yazidis have been executed by the psychos who make up ‘the Islamic State’ (formerly Isis) and that many more men, women and children were buried alive for refusing to convert to Islam. And where is the demo here in London by all those with a conscience urging the British government and the Weset in general to do something about it? And where is the action from neighbouring Islamic states, outraged that innocents should be butchered, to get something, anything, done to try to put and early end to it all?
The whole Isis business (I’ll stick to that name for the sake of convenience) has brought together some odd, very, very odd alliances. The US, Iraq (run by that arch-crook al-Maliki whose policies of shutting the Sunnis out of government were part of the cause of the rise of Isis), Iran and its clients Hizbollah are all strangely ‘united’ in opposition to Isis. And with the Assad also – to put it mildly – dead against Isis, it gets stranger by the hour. But I’m sure the UN will come up with some resolution or other. They are always very good at coming up with resolutions. But where is the expression of popular anger against Isis we have seen expressed as it was against ‘those brutal Jews’.
Don’t hold your breath.
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And just for the craic . . .