The first thing I saw in Canada was a snowplough. Actually, the first thing I saw was an insane queue at immigration, as apparently, waiting for a relatively clear patch of sky, all the planes had arrived at once, and ours had been stuck on the runway for a while waiting for a spare gate before we could disembark. But after about an hour and a half of that, and then my surprisingly quick passport check, the first thing I saw once I left the airport was a snowplough.
So the UK has voted to leave the EU, a public referendum with a 72% turnout leading to a result of 52% out vs 48% in.
This is devastating of course, both in real terms (as you can see from the signs already taking place, such as the pound dropping the most it’s ever done, over $2 trillion being wiped off global markets as a result, and various international firms already talking about relocating their European headquarters to places that are still actually European), as well as symbolically. This is a victory for the type of people who fronted the Leave campaign – the likes of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage – who are already rowing back on their bold “assertions” (read: “outright lies”) that they used to coax the public into voting for them, in a backtracking speed impressive even for politics. The two most immediately noticeable ones are those based on two of the main reasons people voted Leave in the first place – Farage has admitted that the 350 a week sent to the EU that could be spent on the NHS instead will not in fact be going to the NHS, and Hannan has admitted that despite this being all about controlling foreign labour, leaving the EU will not actually affect the movement of foreign labour in any real sense.
Well, it’s been a long while since I wrote anything. In the last year a lot has happened, mostly with me being back home for a while, neither travelling nor procrastinating. But maybe that’s a story for another time. Now I find myself back in Classy Old London, city of top hats, moustaches and the good old gentry.
Sitting in the top of a bright red double-decker bus wending its way through the northern part of the city, a couple of heavier girls who look about 13 come up the stairs and take a seat a couple of rows behind me. They then begin to chat away in loud voices that bounce about the capsule upper deck.
Dream, if you can, a courtyard. An ocean of violets in bloom. The moon hangs bright in the sky like a shiny 10p coin in the gutter. The night breeze drifts gently across the garden and through a window someone has neglected to close, ruffling the curtains on the inside. There you are, quietly reclining in the reading room, catching up on some Dickens, or perhaps enjoying a gentlemanly backgammon match with the visiting Sir Wumbletwigger. The little replica of the Palace of Westminster rests on the mantlepiece, and as the night reaches 10pm, the little Big Ben tolls out the hour. Read more…
On 22 August 1485, King Richard III died at the Battle of Bosworth Field, ending the Plantagenet dynasty and securing victory for Henry Tudor, who later became known as King Henry VII. In order to secure the footing of his new house, Henry embarked on a smear campaign against the previous King, and reports on Richard III from Tudor times tend to paint him in a strongly negative light, as opposed to the much more favourable accounts from earlier. Ultimately, Shakespeare himself took on the task with the play Richard III in the 1590s, and forever cemented the past King in popular culture as a mean, twisted deformed man who among other things declared his nephews illegitimate bastards, then killed them. Then killed most of the people around him, to become King until the land was saved by the Tudor hero. He ended up being known and hated as one of history’s greatest monsters. He, and the whole system of political intrigue around him, the ‘War of the Roses’ were later used as the basis for a popular series about a certain type of game using royal seats. Read more…
Here’s something I haven’t seen before. While most countries work on trying to promote their own good image and encourage visitors, the UK is apparently trying to consider ways to do just the opposite – discourage people from coming. Read more…
It’s been a while. I haven’t updated this thing in about 6 months, sorry about that! How have you been? Had a good year? I hope so. As for me, I can’t quite believe another 12 months have shot by so fast, and yet I find myself reflecting on yet another year. After the multi-country jaunt that was 2011, 2012 was relatively stable. Unfortunately, that is meant purely in the ambulatory sense, as the job situation was the most unstable one I’ve had. I’ve managed to stay in the same position (except for one brief 2-week stint playing traitor in the middle), but that was something that continued to surprise me at regular intervals, rather than something planned. The job market in England, as in the rest of the world, is grim, and has coloured the past year quite gravely. The start of the year saw the continuation and fade out of the Occupy movement, and all year we’ve been hearing about the death throes of the Eurozone, as unemployment continues to rise. Aside from the depressing employment situation, the lack of being able to pin down a job that was either long-term or well-paid has put quite a stranglehold on my travelling, which is a shame since it started out with such promise.