Tea and empathy


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.


7 thoughts on “Tea and empathy

  1. I also know what redundancy’s like but don’t really empathise with the French as they always take things too far. They’re doing enormous environmental damage with those tyre fires and causing a lot of pollution (which is probably drifting over here). I remember not too many years ago, their farmers were roasting alive lorry loads of lambs – how cruel is that? And those poor lorry drivers being attacked at the ports by illegals trying to get to their holy grail ‘England’ I definitely feel sorry for – especially when, after they’ve been threatened or attacked, their lorries forcibly broken into etc. and then they get fined for having immigrants in their vehicles.

    I can well believe it was the most stuffily hot day ever here yesterday but don’t think it would be the actual hottest – it was just really humid and airless. I love proper ‘hot’ weather where it’s just hot sun and you can breathe though 🙂

    We had a spectacular storm up here last night – sort of a tropical thunderstorm – continuous lightning for an hour with a low grumbling thunder throughout. It was supposed to be nearly midnight but was like daylight with all the lightning. Never seen continuous lightning before in my life! I hate thunderstorms normally but had to stay up and watch that one – not like you’d have got any sleep anyway!


      1. Yeah, they did in Keighley near us – my colleague at work had his (and his girlfriend’s) cars comprehensively dinted – they weren’t happy. His is a nice sports car and hers was new and still being paid for!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Like you, I was confused about the hottest day on record, as that was Kent in 2003 (I think). It was the hottest day in JULY on record.


  3. I’m surprised the Daily Express didn’t blame the hot weather on immigrants bringing it with them for hot countries. I’m with you on the French strikers, but I wonder if Big Corporations still rule in France.

    But a secret tea tank! I’m going down to Halfords to see if they sell them for Renaults.



    1. Ah, the secret tea tank. It was designed by Q for long journeys behind the Iron Curtain. And when I flick the mock fog-lamp switch a bowl of individually wrapped sugarlumps rises through the floor of the passenger footwell. It’s all very sophisticated.


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