Just back from a week in London and various points south I was hoping to find something nice to say about the place but frankly it gets worse. No train journey can be made without multiple warnings about slippery platform surfaces, evacuation routes and the imminent arrival of the tea trolley. No one can go anywhere without either a bottle of water or a tall vanilla latte in their hand. And wherever I sit on a train someone with a bag of smoky bacon crisps will find me. I am a smoky bacon snack magnet.
Mainly though it was the language that got to me this trip. No-one can make a ‘th’ sound any more. Two o’clock is followed by free o’clock, Wednesday is followed by Fursday. I tell you, I am shocked, frough and frough.
John Bull may have mislaid his ‘th’ but he has located his emotions, big time. The nation once famous for its stiff upper lip now reacts to any sad news by making a pilgrimage with a bunch of cellophane wrapped flowers and a cuddly toy. This debris of emotional incontinence spreads across the pavement and then of course some poor copper with far more important things to do has to rearrange them in a manner less likely to constitute a safety hazard. Swift to love and mourn strangers, but equally swift to hate, that’s the way things go now.
Yesterday in Swindon a man was charged with the murder of a young woman and the prison van carrying him to and from the magistrates’ court was chased and pelted to cries of ‘You’re a dead man’ and ‘You’re going to die horribly’. As you can see from the photo a lot of people turned up. Some even brought along their children.
I try to imagine what conversation preceded this.
‘What you doing s’after,Shaz?’
‘Nuffink. Ain’t got no money.’
‘Fancy going down ver magistrates, fump ver van wiv vat bloke inside?’
‘Yeah, okay. Be nice for ver kiddies to get a bit of fresh air.’
Why do they do it? Does it provide the same kind of release as smashing Fortnum & Mason’s window without the need to buy a balaclava or a train ticket? I am mystified, furrily mystified. I do try to love the land of my farvers but honestly, it gets harder.