Over and Out?

So, this morning, with my old School Captain having returned from his 'disaster dinner' in Brussels, I decided to do some research into what might happen if we 'crashed' out the European Union. And, from what I can gather, the 'person' who will suffer the most is our guinea pig, Douglas. Douglas is partial to a handful of spinach every morning, as you can see in the photo above and, according to the Guardian website, as we rely almost exclusively on the EU for our supplies, it's either going to be stuck in a lorry outside Calais (the spinach, that is, not Douglas) or become very expensive in the New Year. So, I am afraid that it's back to hay for you, mate.

The thing that I am most sad about is the likely demise of the ERASMUS scheme which allowed EU citizens to study wherever they wanted within Europe. I was one of the first ERASMUS students to leave these shores. I well remember staggering along the quayside in Dieppe in 1989 with my suitcase, rucksack, electronic typewriter and piano (well, keyboard) and having to walk the two kilometres from the boat to the centre of town because there was some strike or other going on. That same day, we also stumbled onto the very first TGV (Train a Grande Vitesse, High-Speed Train) from Paris to Nantes. I did wonder why everyone else on the train was all dressed up and why, when we arrived in Nantes, we were greeted by a brass band and my companion was interviewed for national television!

Now, I know there are more opinions on the rights and wrongs of leaving the EU than there are bulbs of garlic in the whole of France but, to me, it seems to have all gone a bit wrong in the last four years since we decided that 52/100 was an overwhelming majority. When dentists and surgeons agree to remove your teeth, your appendix or, God forbid, a cancerous tumour, you don't just hand them a pair of pliers and a scalpel and tell them to get on with it any old how. You expect them to take great care, to use their years of training and experience and, most importantly, to bring you through the experience alive.

From what I can see

  1. There is going to be less choice in the shops for a while. That's not necessarily a bad thing as too much choice sometimes gives me a bit of a headache. I remember coming back from a fortnight in Malawi in 2011 and standing in the local Tesco superstore thinking to myself "Do we really need all this?"

  2. Olives are going to become very expensive, as are wines and cheese from the continent; but we all hate olives in our house and I'd eat Wensleydale with cranberries over Brie any day ("More cheese, Gromit?"). As for wine, I rather like Chile's offering.

  3. Supplies of bacon, which comes mainly from Denmark, will be threatened, which is great news for my pathetic attempts at dieting.

  4. My passport will change colour when I next renew it in 2025.

  5. It's going to be very busy in Kent, but I don't live there, although my brother-in-law and nephew do ... so we won't be visiting any time soon.

I am going to reserve my judgement on some of the other prophecies of impending doom. I don't intend to travel anywhere beyond our borders for the time being, so that doesn't bother me. House prices may fall, but that's not happened yet and our energy bills may rise, but we've just had a new boiler put in ... which actually heats the house very efficiently! Whether the many millions who end up losing their jobs because of COVID will be added to as a consequence of Brexit, I have no idea but I am acutely aware of many of those who I teach asking what the point is of flogging themselves to death when they'll most likely end up flipping burgers for a living. I expect there to be a lot of searching over the coming weeks, months and even years for a fresh sense of purpose.

For now, I take comfort in the saying "I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future". And in this season of Advent, I hope that you, too, will learn to wait patiently, to know God's peace and know what your part is in His plan.

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