THERE is something perverse about packing a van on the hottest day on record in order to drive to Spain in search of the sun. The irony is not lost on me as I struggle to fit the Fiamma bike rack I purchased on eBay from a chap in Holmfirth, and stack boxes of belongings, and restack them until they complete the three-dimensional jigsaw that represents the past thirty-three years of our lives . . .
Strange how some facts are facts while others are a little more tenuous. One news station claims it is the hottest day since records began, while another says it’s the hottest day for seven years. Can they both be correct? No. But it’s too hot to argue the toss.
But I’ll bet my house (which technically we no longer own because contracts have been exchanged) that tomorrow’s Daily Express runs with a splash headline such as: BRITS FRY IN HEATWAVE FROM HELL . . . with the strapline: NINETY PENSIONERS DIE AS SCROUNGER MIGRANTS DRAIN HOSPITAL RESOURCES. Don’t buy it out of curiosity, for heaven’s sake. The Daily Express is one of the many reasons we’re leaving the country.
Tomorrow we head for Folkstone and the English Channel. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Striking French ferry workers and piles of burning tyres on the Channel Tunnel railway line, and endless miles of traffic jams on the M20, and stranded people forced to forage in McDonald’s and drink too much Fanta.
I have a great deal of sympathy for the ferry workers because I’ve been through redundancy – or whatever corporative euphemism they use these days for destroying people’s lives to maximise profits – and it is a hideously demeaning process that strips loyal employees of their self-worth. So I don’t mind being held up for a few hours while desperate people protest. But I don’t want to visit McDonald’s or drink more than one can of Fanta.
Better top up the van’s secret tea tank. Tony Benn would have approved.