Sickness Strikes and Alien Nation

I have been more or less keeping up with the comments on my recent postings, and sometimes they get lively. Thank you, gentlemen.

Last Tuesday I started one of the most violent bronchitis bouts I have had in my life. My upper respiratory tract and back of my throat felt as if someone had made me breathe World War I mustard gas or evaporated battery acid! I was shivering and sweating, and that was my signal to see my doctor last Wednesday morning to get some antibiotics. It seems to be passing as the fever has gone, and the coughing is still quite painful. My wife caught it a couple of days later, and I have been looking after her too. So I haven’t been very productive on the blog or reactive to some of the cyber happenings – on which I prefer not to comment anyway.

What is more disturbing is the more graver sickness that afflicts my country. I am not a political animal or a right-winger, or a xenophobe – but I am a patriot. England gave me my birth in a good family. I am proud of the language in which I am writing now, even though I have spent more of my life in France than in my native country. I grew up in the Lake District, and seeing the white triangular sails on Windermere made me dream. Ours is a country of freedom and initiative, the encouragement of excellence and achievement. We have or had our schools and universities, and our institutions. Our law has always been firm but fair, and miscarriages of justice are rare, or have been.

The greenness of our land still makes me dream and sick with nostalgia. It makes it worse to play recordings of Elgar or Vaughan Williams, or read Milton, Shakespeare of Evelyn Waugh. I sang in York Minster forty years ago and went to school like so many other young Anglican boys, knowing that much would be expected of us in the way of work, duty and a sense of fair play. I am an Englishman.

Then I read this – Alien nation: The new census reveals a Britain that would be unrecognisable even to our grandparents. Now I know what it was like for Russians fleeing to France and the USA in 1917. I reeled and thought of the lamentation of Jesus over Jerusalem. For the first time in my life, I literally wept over my country! I left thirty years ago to come to France in search of a vocation which I never really found. Like a moth flitting around a lamp, I burned myself and have to live as I can with a wife who has her difficulties in following it all.

My parents are old and may not be around for much longer. They represent my roots in values that were forged in English life of between the wars. My father, once so buoyant and optimistic, can only see storm clouds as in those dark days of 1939. It hurts to hear his cynicism and inner hurt.

Well, what is happening? It’s a whole culture change. Every time I go over, it is with a sense of foreboding, crossing through alien territory on the way to the tiny fragments of England that are the homes of my parents, brother, sisters and a few friends. We have always had a few foreigners, and I am a foreigner in a country where I wasn’t born. I remember the first black kid at my primary school in the 1960’s. My first reaction? Her skin’s a different colour, but Stella is a beautiful looking girl, and she’s just as human as anybody else. I even wished I was black myself! The schoolteachers were so afraid we would tease her for being black! Perhaps some kids did, but that black girl mesmerised me. I love difference and tolerance, but it’s something else now. In London I loved going down Brick Lane for a good curry with friends. It was exciting to meet Indians, Jewish people, Pakistanis. We used to have an Empire, and it’s only natural the peoples we colonised would seek a home in our country. Why not? I’ve always known those people to be hard workers and honest as day.

What is really beastly is that those people are being used for social engineering experiments by our Orwellian politicians and bureaucrats. That is what is transforming our country out of recognition and wrenching our English hearts!

Is it better here in France? Not really, but the country is bigger, less densely populated and easier to find one’s place. Perhaps, one day, it will be “good bye, Europe“, but to go where? Until we know that, we can only stay put, knowing that it is all only for a time.

Come, Lord Jesus!

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5 Responses to Sickness Strikes and Alien Nation

  1. Blessings Father Anthony,
    I was sorry to hear that you have not been well. Will pray for a full recovery.
    Coming from another country then Australia , put me in a position to understand some of your feelings when you wrote about the changes in the UK. I had the opportunity in the eighties to work and live for a number of years in Brighton Sussex ( I did not know +Jerome Lloyd ) then and
    I know how much things have changed . The changes have also affected our Priesthood and the way we continue to worship, but we must remain strong in the Lord. Amen come Lord Jesus.
    Father Ed Bakker

  2. Stephen M says:

    Sorry to hear that you have been so unwell, Father. I’ve been beset with chest infections all year, so I can sympathise.

  3. Foolishness says:

    All best wishes and prayer for you and Sophie to make a speedy recovery, Fr. Anthony.

  4. Jim of Olym says:

    May the Lord heal you, Father Anthony! The Church still needs you (the larger Church which in some cases you don’t see)

  5. Dale says:

    Dear Fr Anthony,
    I trust that you are well.

    I must say that I find this essay from you to be very, very interesting, and it deeply concerns something that has been happening in the British world for quite some time. British culture (and by “British” I include the Celtic fringe as well as the former, settler, colonies) has been on the wane since the last world war. It has become almost considered an embarrassment to be British. The collective adaptation of American “multiculturalism” is often simply a code word, for “those horrid British imperialists deserve to die.” Even in the most, formerly, British provinces of Canada one will almost never see a Union Jack and Empire Day is simply considered as an old foggy embarrassment that needs to be done away with. The same is happening in Australia as well. In the United States virtually every ethnic group, especially those with federal “minority status”, are free to attack and belittle Anglo-Americans to their hearts content, and this is supported by those that now rule.

    Unfortunately, the Church of England, both in Britain as well as overseas has jumped aboard as well. Instead of being our bulwark it has joined the attack.

    I found your reminiscences also very interesting. I also attended an Anglican middle-school, except in the tropics. Where we sang Evensong and chanted Merbecke to the clacking sound of ceiling fans and even in the heat vested as if we were still in a cold English parish church, cassock, surplice. The churchmanship was very middle of the road, but done with dignity and grace. I recently revisited, via the Internet, my old school, to find that it is now embracing multiculturalism, the chapel has been completely redone in novus ordo style and the BCP is not to be found, the old hymnals have disappeared as well. What I did find disturbing was the underlying message that the old tradition was in some way wrong, racist and not inclusive.

    In the end, we do really have no one to blame but ourselves. Perhaps this is one reason I have so very little time or patience with those who so easily desert our ancient traditions and run after the ways of foreigners.

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