Saturday, August 12, 2006

2005-12-30 009I think Radio 4 must do it on purpose.

While making lunch, I stuck on the radio more out of loneliness than out of a compelling desire to listen to anything. I happened to get the end of Any Questions. I wasn't really listening and thus have no idea how they ended discussing immigration in terms of its impact on cricket.

So as BBC News attempts to link in with Murdoched popular feeling while working to the mantra "do let's not be beastly", the Daily [Insert Name Here]s scream of rape and pillage, and the other side are piously doing their Hail Browns as they welcome their brethren, Radio 4 considers cricket.

I suspect I wouldn't object so much if only I understood what they were talking about (in either sphere). Or perhaps it is just the uncharitable exposure of my general lack of rigorously defined and defended views on the subject which irks. Can one be immigrationally agnostic?

And what's with the weather? It's like being on holiday in the Lake District.

Which my family did once. And only once. My memories of that trip are the jumper I wore constantly, kite-flying, playing snap and bloody minded sheep. I think it came as a shock to my parents to discover that there are parts of England which are always cold, wet, windy and endlessly grey.

We stayed in the University of Lancaster's accommodation, let out over summer. I don't remember much of the place except the spartan light and the perpetual drone from the windows leaking wind. And being able to take a kite for a walk on the sports fields. I've never been anywhere where launching a kite, and keeping it up, was so easy. It even flew when the dowels fell out.

It's not a complete coincidence that I ended up at one of the most southerly universities in the country. Birmingham was about the far extent of the range I was willing to consider, especially after my brother's comment after visiting Durham a few years earlier had been "I didn't know the country was so long". But then I realised when discussing with other people where I'd like to live (if I stay in the country, but not in London) that I'm happiest where the roads begin with a 3.

Of course all this is simply because I resent not being able to wear shorts continually. The kitchen window was only shut after the mint was found tumbleweeding across the floor. It had been open since June, as testified by the rain spattered dirt on the lower half (if glass is any indicator, London is a city built of dust). But then it was a little bit cool in there most of time, even when cooking. But I'm obviously English, and so expectation is a greater creed than actuality. Hence t-shirt, shorts, deck shoes and a belated hooded top because the air, while not what one normally heroically terms 'bracing', is not quite sufficiently warm.

Bracing, incidentally, is what we used to describe conditions in an unheated stone barn somewhere in the Brecon Beacons, during a [winter/spring/Hilary/Lent] half-term Scout camp. To wash, one first walked to the external block, then broke the seal that had formed on the taps and after that shrieked a lot. One of our group managed to end up with a curious dashed red crescent beneath his lower lip, as he bit to try and lessen the pain elsewhere.

And I've just remembered the frozen former station half buried in a hill somewhere in the Peak District, where the water from our breath glazed the walls after a week. Fortunately I missed the year they stayed in tents and continual sleet flooded them out. Apparently building defensive earthworks is fun when one is uncomfortably numb.

Now if you will excuse me, I'm off to bolster Cadbury's savaged share price.


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