Day 3 – Great Bircham to Holme-next-the-Sea

In last year’s commentary, I listed the five regrets of the dying. The one that generated the most reader comments was, “When you wake do you think it just another boring day or are you full of wonder that we are still alive in this wondrous world?” Here I am on a beautiful day, contemplating that a man needs three things to bless his life: a battle to fight, a maiden to woo and a cause bigger than himself to live for. I can by the grace of God tick all three boxes.

We read that Fayed is dead. Will anyone mourn him? he had much in common with Trump and Maxwell. All allegedly self-important bullies to whom truth and honesty are moving targets, all living out the insight of author Henry James: “Behind every great fortune is always a great crime.” They blighted everyone they met. The first two are facing their maker… I suspect and hope that sometime soon the Donald will reap his nemesis and spend richly deserved  time in an orange jump suit.

We are walking down Peddars  Way, a 2000 year old track whose surface is hatched into grooves  by bikes; the going  is hazardous in that it’s dead easy to twist your ankle.

Putin’s Divide

Of course, we all know that Putin is a dangerous and corrupt thug. However, he has a worrying point when it comes to his judgement of the west.  

In the New York Times, I read that the Russian president is selling his disastrous war to citizens by proclaiming a “High Noon” battle between a noble, family-orientated and disciplined Russia and the spiritually collapsed and morally dysfunctional west. 

He starts by drawing attention to the US – presently an easy target – where, in 2024, the astonished electorate must decide which geriatric candidate is the least disastrous choice to run the country.   

Putin then proclaims that the west has degenerated from being the home of ruthless capitalism to a “nest of sex changes, the rampages of drag queens, barbaric gender debates and an LGBTQ takeover.” He goes on to claim that today the west is “a hotbed of selfishness, permissiveness and immorality, and in denial of the ideals of patriotism”, and that it is “busy with the destruction of the traditional family through the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations”. 


To what degree are Putin’s claims true? We can surely agree that his vicious campaign against the gay community is monstrous and cruel. But what about his assertion that here in the UK, there used to be a divide between simply letting people get on with their sexual preferences (within the law) and promoting and celebrating LGBTQ+ issues in the way that happens now? Worried critics remain silent for fear of being labelled homophobic, a career-ending insult. The “Pride” campaign has expanded from one day a month to a whole month, and parades a rainbow of sexual preferences, however bizarre they may be – other, of course, than the one that reproduces our species. Sexual aberration appears to be the new normal. 

Why is it appropriate for “pride” to be involved with any sort of sexual activity? Why don’t we just get on with what we like doing in our own bedrooms, and shut up and try not to frighten the horses? And whilst I think about it, why are we passively conceding there is no such thing as “normal” sexual conduct, even the one that brought all of us into the world? Surely this is anti-family and manifestly not in the public interest.  

Why do we allow bias in the selection of CEOs, leading politicians, military leaders and law officers, instead of just choosing the best candidate – whether straight, gay, white, black, Latino or Asian? If you want proof this happens, just study the circumstances in which Kamala Harris was chosen as vice president of the US.  

And surely Putin is right about our lack of patriotism. Any teacher or professor who dares mention the “ideals of patriotism” to their charges, or who demonstrates affection for our homeland, is considered not just absurd but malign. Teachers at schools and universities persuade the young to be ashamed of our country while cleansing the curricula of our cultures’ classics. Yes, Putin has plenty of ammunition to feed his vicious campaign – all he need do is read our newspapers.   

On the Road

I bought a new car in May. To be accurate, it’s a very old car but new to us.

Anyway, I transferred my insurance cover, and to cut a tedious tale to its barest shreds, the insurance company managed to get a single letter wrong in the new registration. Did you know that the traffic police now have a gadget that automatically reads registration plates and highlights the uninsured? 

Well, they do! Within a week, I was stopped by a cop who politely told me I was uninsured. Of course, I had no paperwork with me, and he was adamant that I couldn’t drive another yard further without proof of cover. 

“Officer, I’m not so stupid as to drive a car whilst uninsured.” 

No joy! 

“Officer, please believe me, I used to be a politician”. 

He began to laugh. I could see it coming. 

“All the more reason not to believe you, Sir!”

He let me go in the end.

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