24.06.2016 - 27.06.2016
On Friday morning we woke to discover that Britain had voted to leave the EU. Well I’ll be damned. 52% of the voting population (72% of eligible Brits) said it was time to go, and so that was the end of that. Many of the people we spoke to who didn’t or weren’t intending to vote felt that they didn’t know enough to be able to make an informed decision – but I think that really, you have an obligation to inform yourself so that you can participate in these decisions. And if all the people who care about knowledge do NOT vote, well then that only leaves happily uninformed people in control of the democratic process… and you end up with decisions being made for purely emotive reasons like “I don’t like French people”. As I saw it, the campaign from both sides was based on fear-mongering. Fear of change motivated people to stay, and fear of foreigners motivated people to leave.
It was interesting watching the tallies from individual counties and regions – overall, Wales and England voted to leave, while Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain. London was actually one of the most strongly ‘remain’ areas, with 25% voting to leave and 75% voting to stay – sparking discussion that London should go it alone. There seemed to be more genuine discussion around Scotland having another independence referendum to give it the opportunity to negotiate remaining in the EU in its own right, and the possibility of an Irish unification referendum was also flagged. Interesting times… There seemed to be disappointment in the outcome of the vote from younger people, as it meant that their ability to live and work in Europe would be significantly changed. David Cameron called for a period of stability before he resigns and allows a leave campaigner the opportunity to negotiate the exit, with no rush to start the process. However, the response from the EU was that the process should start ASAP – you want out, you get out! There was also talk of other EU countries holding their own referendums about whether or not to leave, so stayed tuned for Grexit, Italeave, Departugal and Czechout. So there you go… we were there for what may turn out to be the beginning of the end of the EU, and quite possibly the devolution of the United Kingdom as well!
Amidst all the politics, life went on. Peter and Jackie left to go on their Mediterranean cruise, and we left to go for a walk with Max and Archie. Max voted remain (he intended to remain on the couch), while Archie voted leave (he wanted everyone to leave him to sleep) so they effectively cancelled each other out. We made our way to the shops to grab supplies for the coming week, and settled in for a solid session of working out where everything was in the house, and planning exactly when we would be playing pool and watching DVDs for the next week.
Saturday brought sunshine and showers in equal measure, and was one of those days for catching up on washing (clean clothes are fabulous), walking, blogging and scheming. In the evening we headed to the Christian Malford Village Hall to see ‘Death on the Smug Juggler’, a play performed by the local theatre group. You can imagine our amusement when the first actor on stage turned out to be one of the chaps we had spoken to at the pub on Thursday night! It doesn’t take long to become part of the community if you just make a bit of an effort. The play was full of accents of varying levels of convincingness, and we enjoyed guessing who would have taken on which role if it had been performed by the Camperdown Theatre Company. Disappointingly, we did not win anything in the raffle but we had fun anyway. The dawgs were very pleased to see us return home, and promptly trapped me on the couch for an hour or so before agreeing to go to bed. I wasn’t complaining – we accidentally found a bizarre show called TaskMaster that featured such challenges as throwing a potato into a hole, rolling exercise balls up a hill and conversing with a Swede. Brilliant – though I don’t think the dogs appreciated it as much as we did.
Sunday was for Skyping, walking, scheming, eating leftovers, and trying desperately to prop up the British economy by partaking in some beverages at the Foxham Inn. I’m sure every pint counts at this crucial stage. We also played some pool back at home, and I must acknowledge Simon’s superior skills in this department – he won 3-0, I’m afraid. I would’ve won the last game if it wasn’t for the whole potting-the-white-ball thing. Meh.
Music Monday was enjoyed by Archie (who found the experience so soothing that he went to sleep), but Max was less of a fan. He hid in his bed, with occasional visits to the sunroom to see if we had finished yet. And every time that he discovered that the music continued, he bunny hopped away as fast as his slightly dysfunctional legs could take him.
We had a bit of the usual washing/shopping/chatting to the gardener/walking stuff on, but my favourite moment was watching an episode of Family Fortune from the 80s. There were perms, mullets, high pants, and men awkwardly wearing suits. The prizes were spectacular – luggage, a microwave, an instant camera and a TEN INCH TELEVISION SET. Ten whole inches! Unbelievable. I know people who have mobile phones that are bigger than that. Now to go and brush up on my pool skills while Simon isn’t watching…