It goes without saying that I was, and still am elated by the performance of the England Cricket team, sparkling as it did with individual achievement of the highest order. Of course, detractors abound, sadly my lady wife amongst them, preferring as she does the relative violence and bloodshed of rugby. My Mr Hassan was also unimpressed, citing the difference in population numbers between England and Sri Lanka. The latter, he supposed only has “a couple of hundred folk in it”, adding, “and most of them is like, yer hunter-gatherers” Previous experience has taught me not to pursue debates with Mr Hassan. Nevertheless, I cherish the memory of Alistair Cook’s 10,000 runs and the lethal smoothness of Jimmy Anderson’s run up, culminating as it so often does in bails and stumps parting company.
But I digress. Like the rest of the country, the big talking point here at The Palace is the European referendum. Personally, I pray for an outcome which will make everybody happy and content, but my experience in business tells me that will not be so. There are deep differences between those who wish to remain part of Europe and those who wish to go it alone – ferociously so if Mrs Clench, one of our elderly Sunday School volunteers is to be believed. She is approaching 90, and Mrs Clench’s family was bombed out during WW2 and she has strong opinions about Germans. Like Mr Hassan, Mrs Clench does not listen to reason and believes that Adolf Hitler is in fact frozen, cryogenically preserved, somewhere in Argentina – ready, at the push of a button to spring back to life and “take over from that tubby woman what runs the place now”.
The young man with the wire in his ear takes a more realistic view. His first thoughts were that if you seek public opinion, those opinions will be rubbish. His second was that if the US administration thinks the UK should stay in Europe, then that’s what we should do because the US has bigger guns than us. I did point out that President Obama’s (I’ve shared Shredded Wheat with him) time was coming to an end and asked what on earth would the dreadful Donald Trump’s position on Europe be. The young man with the wire in his ear laughed and said, “Even stupid Americans wouldn’t vote that clown into the White House”. I confess that as he walked away, I thought I saw the glitter of doubt in his eye.