As you all well know, I subscribe strictly to the ‘wogs begin at Calais’ principle.
I have been nursing my xenophobia for a good 50 years and have no intention of changing the habits of a lifetime.
Every now and again one has to stand up and be counted. Last Wednesday was such a day. I spin every two weeks with a group in one of these heritage homes, as usual, a mixed bag of people but heavy on the woolly liberal do gooding ex university lecturing variety.
One pops up with an idea that for our Christmas do gooding we should contribute to some wretched group of peasants in Peru that spin and weave for a living. Pictures were passed showing perfectly healthy, fully clothed, non starving bowler hatted ‘ladies’. Cheque books at the ready, this was greeted with enthusiasm by all and sundry.
For some years now, I have refused to either give or receive Christmas presents and choose to send a cheque to an underfunded dog’s home in Carmarthenshire instead. I prefer dogs to humanity, they are easier to spay than third world denizens, do not bleat about ‘canine rights’ and do not arrive as parasitic immigrants. They, at least, give some satisfactory return for their keep, bouncing around jollily and all that wagging of tails, barking at strangers, chasing of cats and acting as canine hot water bottles in bed. (I ask you, who wants a bowler hatted Peruvian as a hot water bottle?)
Time to stand up and be counted. So I did, and said why in no uncertain terms which cast a certain pall on the proceedings.
Subsequent to this we found out that a good friend and regular member of this group had her husband drop dead suddenly. I announced the funeral particulars and enquired who would be going. None of them except me! Utterly bizarre to my way of thinking.
Contemplating all of this it occurs to me that even after 35 years of living in this country on and off one still finds these precipitous gaps in social understanding between differing cultures even with a common language. I find curmudgeonly principles are even more important than ever. One can only march to one’s own drummer even if one is solitary in the van.
(Anyway, I don’t like their tune! Screw Yankee Doodle, I prefer Dixie!)