It’s nice to be back

A suggestion I made on Twitter, that Swansea City captain Leon Britton be given the Freedom Of The City by the council in recognition of his contribution to the club’s elevation to global recognition over the last decade, had been picked up by local and national media.

Very good for my ego. Even better if the council bigwigs actually do it.

Time, gentlemen?

It was a pleasant day so I walked into town for my weekly spot on Swansea’s local television station. Walking along Walter Road, one of the main thoroughfares into the city, it struck me that it still was home to many businesses, but that almost all of the pubs along the road had closed down. Conversely, there were now several coffee shops and cafés among the lawyers, financial advisors and letting agents.

Does this mean the day of the lunchtime pint (or two) is over, but office workers have developed an unquenchable thirst for a skinny latte?

Why didn’t I know this?

A rail trip to Carmarthen. I am surprised at how beautiful the view is from the train as it runs past Ferryside, looking across the River Towy to Llansteffan Castle on the opposite bank. I have delighted in views like this in Italy; why am I so ignorant about what is not far from my own doorstep?

Anybody but the neighbours

In Carmarthen, we have lunch in an Italian restaurant. I ask the waiter if he will be watching that night’s Champions League final. No, because he is working, but he will be hoping for a Real Madrid victory.

He is Italian, so why will he not be cheering on Juventus? “Because I am from Milan,” he says, in the tone grown-ups use to explain obvious truths to dim-witted children. A reminder that domestic rivalry will always trump national solidarity.

Another U-turn

A friend asks me for my “point of view” about the General Election. He means, how will I vote. I never say; people fought hard and sacrificed much to win us all the right to a secret ballot. But I do, truthfully, say that, 24 hours before election day, I am still undecided.

“You’re an intelligent man,” he replies, “so you can’t be thinking of voting for Corbyn.” I’m not sure these two things are mutually exclusive.  Then he – an implacable Leaver in the EU referendum – surprises me by saying that, now, he would vote for the UK to remain and help reform the EU.

It seems, with the rising threat (and reality) of terrorist atrocities on British streets, EU immigration is not the future-defining issue facing the nation after all.

Memories, in a bank statement

I spend an afternoon going through the files I had compiled for my parents in their last few years. I put bank statements, pension slips, cheque books, correspondence from various government and council agencies, and copies of all the forms we had to fill out in order to get them home, and then, residential care, into a large bin bag, ready to be shredded.

It feels strange. I had deliberately left the files untouched since their deaths. Some items I keep; I am sure I will have no use for them, but destroying them just would not have felt right.

Dead woman walking

I stay up half the night watching the election results. Nobody wins, and the country ends up hobbled with a hung Parliament.

In the morning, I watch the Prime Minister, mortally wounded after losing her majority in the House of Commons, make a ‘carry on as normal’ statement. Nobody believes her.

In the afternoon, I go to the cinema with The Current Mrs Feeney and The Daughter to see The Mummy. In this version, the mummy is female, risen from the grave, trying to restore the old order despite the inconvenience of being a dead woman walking.

It all seems oddly familiar.


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