It really was the International Space Station and not the six o’clock to Stavanger. I looked it up. Aberdeen, 5.46pm. Too thrilling.
Today, the sun shone all day out of a sapphire blue sky. I had a mighty ride on the red mare, and, fired with triumph, came inside and wrote 3930 words of my new project. This is absurd and should not be allowed, since the quality tends to tail off with the quantity. Trollope used to write five hundred words and then go and invent the pillar box. Still, it was quite something and I felt pleased and proud.
There was something absolutely vital and I’m sure riveting about this day that I had to tell you and now I have completely forgotten it. This is a slight pity, since I was hoping to give you something really juicy today. I feel the blogs have been slightly workaday and blah lately. I wanted to hit you with the wonder, but it’s run for the border and there is nothing I can do about that.
I am working so hard that I don’t really know what is going on in the world. I turn the wireless on for brief moments and hear snatches about the Supreme Court justices and President Obama, and the European wranglings, and Boris Johnson seen coming in and out of Number Ten wearing an interesting hat. I see both sides of Europe and find it impossible to make up my mind. I love the dream of unity and the freedom of trade and movement; I hate the democratic deficit, the awful Brussels gravy train, and the bonkers fish quotas.
I did see that Emma Thompson got into trouble for saying something about poor old Blighty being cold and gloomy and filled with cake (I think that was what it was) and that she felt European, not British. I thought about that for quite a long time. I don’t feel European at all. When I was younger, I wished I did. I thought the Italians and the French were so much more glamorous and sophisticated and intellectual than the British. Now I cast yearning eyes at the Scandis with their civilised social contract. But whatever I might wish or think, I am British to the backbone. All my cultural references, societal attitudes and turns of phrase are so British that they are almost a caricature. I am Marmite and Dad’s Army and The Beano and Nancy Mitford and high tea and the 3.30 at Huntingdon and Radio Four and our own dear Queen. I go to the shop and talk to the ladies about the weather. When asked how I am, I say: ‘Not too bad.’ I have absolutely no idea how to accessorise and cannot make head nor tail of philosophy.
I know that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, but I love these windy islands with every beat of my bashed old heart. I have a deep and enduring faith in the Ordinary Decent Britons who inhabit them. I know one should really be a citizen of the world, but I have British written through me like Brighton through a stick of rock.