Guns, Valentine’s and Sunday Lunch!

Yesterday evening at the Club the conversation was all about one thing – the dreadful shooting in America that left so many young people dead or injured. I know that a lot has already been said and written about this appaling incident, so I am not going to add much more to the debate, except to say that even those of the chaps who own and regularly shoot guns think that something needs to be done to end all this pointless waste of life.

The gun totting side of the debate will undoubtedly continue to claim their right to bear arms is enshrined in the constitution, but what about the innocents that find themselves the targets of these madmen and cowards? What of their right to freedom from the fear of being shot on the way to school?

And yes, I did say cowards. It is hardly the act of a brave man to open fire on unarmed members of the public. And it seems that the perpetrator of this latest outrage was a very troubled soul, the last person in the world who should have been in possession of weapons of any kind. Of course, if these poor students had been brought down by anything other than bullets there would be immediate calls for either the cause to be outlawed, any faults corrected or for tighter restrictions. But we all know that so long as the damage is inflicted by the seemingly sacred gun.

As I said, the chaps at the Club were unanimous in their condemnation of a regime that continues to condone such mindless slaughter in the name of the object they revere above all others.

Talk at the bar meandered around for a little before finally settling on thoughts of the other big event of the week – Valentine’s Day. On this particular subject, there was anything but unanimity. Some of the younger chaps were all in favour of the modern approach of wining and dining the young ladies, along with an abundance of flowers and far too much chocolate. One or two of the married gentlemen admitted that they had forgotten all about it and their better halves had given them hell over it.

The main problem I have with Valentine’s Day is the expectation that there is something special about the day, which, of course, there isn’t. Far too much is made of the whole thing in my view. And I was pleased to discover that a good few of my drinking chums feel the same way. I have never sent flowers to anyone on Valentine’s Day and I am not going to start now.

This afternoon I made a quick call to Hope at her gallery and she has agreed to join me for Sunday lunch here at chez Dimbelby. Hopefully, this will give us a real opportunity to chat. I am still concerned about how things went with Emily and I am hoping that some light can be shed on the matter. I am also popping down to the country on Monday and I wanted to see her before I left. In fact, I am considering arranging a visit for my birthday in April and may invite Hope and Charlotte to join me. Dorothy thinks I should arrange some kind of party, but I am not sure and anyway, it is probably getting a little late to organise something like that. I will ask hope what she thinks over our Sunday lunch.

Nigel called around a little earlier this evening, but he didn’t stay for long. I have not seen a great deal of him recently. It seems his new business venture is taking up a lot of his time. That and his romance with my Aunt Sarah. He seems to think I don’t know about it, but I believe that it is one of the worst-kept secrets in the family at the moment. I wish he would just come out and announce that they are a couple, then we could all relax around them and celebrate their relationship. I do not understand why he can’t just be honest with me. Maybe he will in bis own time.

Another unwanted American import

black-friday-shoppers1Anyone reading my journal might be forgiven for thinking I have become obsessed with the Americans. I haven’t. But they do have an annoying habit of sneaking through one’s defences and getting under the skin. I think I have made my feelings about the crackpot President quite plain, and I have no time for their loud, in your face attitude or their belief that money can buy anything.

Of the many things that annoy me about our cousins across the pond, the one that I find the most unforgivable is their propensity for exporting their more inane ideas. And this week we saw probably the worst of the American imports, Black Friday. To me, this one event symbolises all that is wrong with the American culture, if there is such a thing, particularly as it follows immediately after Thanksgiving. The idea behind the Thanksgiving celebration is not new, events to mark the harvest and the good fortunes of the preceding year have been celebrated throughout the world for millenia. I have nothing against this idea and am happy to see our cousins come together in harmony and celebrate their good fortune. But to then follow this inspiring event with the most flagrantly consumerist binge is almost obscene. The founding Pilgrims would be turning in their graves if they could see what their ancestors had done to their original celebration of good fortune.

I should point out that I have no problem with what the American’s chose to do on their own soil. If they want to celebrate the excesses of consumerism as if it were some kind of religion, then they can do, just so long as it stays on their side of the pond. The trouble starts when these blatantly consumerist ideas start trickling over here, contaminating our British values of reserve and moderation. The images and stories one sees in the newspapers are quite frightening. People fighting over a new television or item of clothing is quite obscene and very un-British. Once again we find ourselves imitating the worst behaviour of our American cousins. Yes, I have read the headlines about the boost to the country’s economy, but at what cost?  It is by these small acts that we begin to lose our identity. Do we really want to become a mirror image of the United States?

It wouldn’t surprise me to find that within a year or two we will be celebrating Thanksgiving. Not that I have anything against the thing itself, so long as it stays on the right side of the Atlantic. After all, we have already had rock and roll, Black Friday, school proms and baby showers. What next? I ask myself.

And what about all that Trick or Treating we saw last month? Whilst I have never been a fan of Haloween itself, at least when I was a child it was just about bobbing apples and maybe a bit of dressing up and a scary movie or two. Now it is all about greed. Haloween has become big business and just another excuse for excess and spending. And anyway, Haloween is one of those strange days that we really shouldn’t be celebrating at all. All Hallows Eve is a pagan celebration that has no place in a Christian society and the commercialisation of it makes the whole thing even worse.

Not that we are directly affected. It is one of the benefits of living where I do that casual visitors can’t get to us. But I know from what I have heard from others that these trick-or-treaters are a real nuisance, knocking on the door and demanding sweets with menaces! It is a typically American idea and one that we could well do without.

But getting back to imports from America, it is not only celebrations and commercialism that we had adopted. Our TV screens are filled with shows imported from the USA, our language has been infiltrated, and American-styled fast foods dominate our high street. There are some imports we really do not need, and the American culture is by far the most noticeable.

Unfortunately, there seems to be some kind of stigma attached to having a pride in being British. Well, as far I am concerned, I am British and proud of it. I am not some new-fangled, gender-neutral citizen of some imagined a global state. I am British and proud of it. Let the American’s keep their inane consumerist celebrations, we don’t need them and should not be expected to follow them.

 

 

4th July, not in very good taste

Normally on a Tuesday evening I would make my way to the Club for a social drink or two, maybe even play a game of snooker. But yesterday I was persuaded by a small group of close friends to join them in visiting a rather new and apparently very good drinking establishment a little up river. Being the obliging chap, I am I agreed to what I thought would be a jolly evening.

Well, what they neglected to tell me was that the establishment in question is an American themed bar which, it being the 4th July, was rather busy with a mixture of real and would-be Americans celebrating their “Independence Day”.

I know that Americans tend to make a lot of this particular anniversary, but I think the whole thing is in rather bad taste, particularly when it is being celebrated here in England. I mean, we are supposed to have a special relationship, are supposed to be friends, yet they insist on making a big song and dance about the day they broke away from us, over 200 years ago.

It’s not as if they had it bad. Far from it! They were enjoying the fruits of British ingenuity, commerce and science, and they threw it all away, all over the price of tea! And for what benefit? In no time they were reduced to being cowboys (nothing much has changed there).

The trouble with the Americans is they think they are better than everyone else. Well, let me tell you, they are definitely not. Yes, they are a big country, and undoubtedly a powerful one these days, but they owe everything to us.

One thing the Americans will never have is class. For them, money is everything. They like to think it isn’t, that there is more to their social structure, but really there isn’t. The acquisition of wealth has become the goal, and the route to power. Without money, you are nothing. If you have money, you have social standing, without it, you don’t. Thankfully that does not apply here; breeding is breeding, whether you have wealth behind you or not.

Just look at the way they revere our Royal family and the way they are continually searching for links to our great families. They have no history of their own so are trying to steal ours. Whilst they play at being republicans, in reality they are jealous of our monarchy. They could learn a lot from those pesky French who have at least embraced republicanism with real enthusiasm.

nbc-fires-donald-trump-after-he-calls-mexicans-rapists-and-drug-runnersNot that all Americans are bad, just so long as they recognise, and stick to, their place. And that’s where I have problems with their current President. On the one hand, you have to admire the way he has built his fortune. He is a single minded and ruthless businessman who seems to own most of the states. But on the other hand, he is an ignorant oaf and a bully. I can’t be doing with bullies; I had enough of them during my school days and can’t stand to see it in leading public figures like Trump. He is brutish, disrespectful and has no idea how to treat a lady. He epitomises all that is worst with modern America.

For me, last night became something of a chore. And to think that Dorchester is seeing an American at the moment. I wonder if they spent the evening in a similar bar celebrating with other former colonials. I think I should pay more attention to the date in future when they chaps suggest a night up river.