All I seem to have left of my country is to listen to Vaughan Williams and this lovely movement from his Bucolic Suite:
The reality is somewhat different, and it brings tears to my eyes as I make the best of life just over the Channel.
The first looming shadow is no-deal Brexit. It effects are already felt as the lorries are “stacked” all the way along the motorway. The ports are not ready any more than the parking areas for freight vehicles waiting for their turn for transport to France by sea. I am beyond polemics or cheap political shots. The damage being caused is appalling, as humanitarian organisations are bearing the brunt of feeding starving children of very poor English, Welsh and Scottish families. It is not by hazard that I choose this second piece on the old medieval hymn Dives and Lazarus. I would not like to be in the place of the rich man after his judgement!
The second is the new strain of SARS-CoV-2, which will be 70% more infectious than the one we have in most of Europe. I thought it was already as easy to catch as a common cold! We are waiting for more scientific information about this new strain. PM Johnson has imposed Tier 4 lockdown restrictions on the south of England. It was the only thing he could do. Too bad for secular Christmas and the hopes families had for getting together! I just hope the new strain will be kept out of continental Europe, but it will come. We must pray that we will start getting vaccinated before this new strain breaks the capacity of the hospitals.
I don’t think I have been to England for more than two years, or any other country outside France. I have taken the restrictions seriously, not only to avoid the disease, but to protect others just in case I catch it. This seems to be the minimum of human empathy and Christian charity! I seethe with anger as I hear about Londoners fleeing their town to go and infect other parts of England and here on the Continent. I hope the police are doing their job well, turning them back to their homes.
Who is to blame for all this? We all are as sinful humans, just like in those dark September days of 1939. Then, our people pulled together and Hitler was beaten. Surely, we can again care for each other and beat both the virus and the stupidity that brought about this caricature of British exceptionalism. May the Lord have pity on us!
Quomodo sedet sola civitas plena populo: facta est quasi vidua domina gentium: princeps provinciarum facta est sub tributo.