There I was blaming racial bigots for Britain’s coming Brexit suicide as I listened to author Michael Morpurgo’s anti-Brexiteer broadcast on Sunday, yet within an hour or so caught myself thinking just like an anti-common marketeer. Yikes!

Even worse, within the space of an hour, my natural reactions – if I might try to excuse myself that way – proved that a would be Brexiteer lay under this very skin.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Foggy thinking ... Caught out by initial reactions close to the Thames on a madly hot day. Photo by Piotr Gaertig on Unsplash

Admittedly it happened after a long walk beside the Thames in thirty degrees-plus on the way to meet up for coffee with an admired computer wizard, Zsolt.

He had suggested Park Café which he claimed lay opposite the famous Ham House.

Magic footpath

Easy to find, I assumed, even though Google Maps doubted the place’s existence.

I trod the magic footpath beside the river to the Teddington Lock footbridge, crossed the ancient river, expecting to see Park Café right there. It wasn’t. It can’t be hard to find, I assumed. A voice within prompted that if this ocean navigator found faraway Cape Horn with no more than a sextant, what sort of a challenge could a land-born venue be?

However, locals seemed not to know of it, though they suggested a ship-load of other anchorages nearby. Eventually, rather hot and bothered, your mystified navigator emerged onto a busy street as two buses roared passed at speed. Both carried adverts for higher learning addresses, and both ads seemed to promise London’s bright young souls the chance to really succeed.

Looking decidedly unBritish

Talk about a double take. The models in both advertisements looked decidedly unBritish.

And involuntarily – without thinking first - I was dwelling negatively on the markedly unBritish look of those future bright sparks. And just like most Brexiteers, I assume, the cerebral region immediately blamed the EU for flooding UK with people who look nothing like us.

A mental rapping of the knuckles followed almost immediately, I’m pleased to admit. And thankfully good sense reminded the self that I had seen it all before, decades ago when my address in Notting Hill then seemed surrounded suddenly by Caribbeans.

However, a few years on and the EU ushered in a flood of fair-haired blue-eyed Poles. Fate countering one with the other, it seemed, would maintain our traditional appearance.

Just as the humanitarian in me was re-establishing itself, your now weary observer had a second major Brexit-type shock … which (as this tale is getting rather long) this shameful fellow will relate tomorrow.

Thanks very much for visiting the blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory.

Michael Morpurgo's talk

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