It's always a pleasure coming back to England, even if this time is just for a few hours. I'll always feel that I am English culturally, even though I have not one drop of "English blood" (whatever that is) in me.
I just had a fascinating chat with a lady called Lydia from Warsaw about all this. She seemed a bit embarrassed to admit that she was Polish, as the mass immigration from Eastern Europe recently has attracted quite a bit of negative criticism.
The point I made to her was that although my dad was Lithuanian and my mother Romanian (two groups who are have a notorious reputation in the UK) I was culturally about as English as you could get. I had a chat with a guy from Essex on a Swan valley wine tour recently and, clearly, to him, I was such a 'Brit' that he felt confident enough to open up and moan about all the "Bloody Poles and Romanians" that were taking all the jobs and bringing in crime. I didn't have the guts to tell him the truth, so I just shrugged passively.
The point Lydia and I agreed on was where do you draw the line on all this? How far back in time do you have to go to get to that point when all the borders and populations were "right"? Even if you could agree on such a thing, how are you going to get back to that point? What kind of Nazi style ethnic cleansing would you need to set up to do it?
It's just nonsense, surely. People are people. There are good and bad in every population and most people are a mixture of ethnic origins anyway, if you go back far enough.
Anyway, this is getting a bit serious! Time for a beer! Boro is coming to the 5 tuns in Terminal 5 in a bit so I'd better make sure I'm there.
Next post will be from Rio, as long as I don't get so pissed I miss the plane!
Heathrow, Terminal 5
Sunday, 1st June. 8am