The Cork Board

We saw one in the wild…


Mrs. Monkey and I spent all last week exploring some old haunts in the beautiful Tuscan hills of Italy. The sun shone, the heat was hot – damn hot – the wine and beer were mighty fine – and the food exquisite. Amongst the best that Italy has to offer. Its probably been 10 years since we were there but it remains unspoiled.

The roads are a good foot narrower than English roads, or at least they seem to be, which makes driving a spacial awareness game at high speed. Rather like some hyper level Grand Theft Auto game, I suspect, though I’ve never played it and hope that my reference is correct.

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San Gimignano… the view for breakfast

We stayed at a beautiful farmhouse B&B where we breakfasted in the garden with a view of the medieval town of San Gimignano on the hill. Our breakfast was a sumptuous spread of continental meats and cheeses, fruit, sweet and savoury pastries, mostly home made. It really was/is idyllic.

One pleasant morning we were joined at a nearby table by a visitor from across the Atlantic. A Polish lady who had settled in the United States some 30 years ago and was zooming, it would seem, around old European stamping grounds, though there couldn’t have been many of those in the old Polish communist regime days, at the same high speed with which she spoke, DSLR in hand.

When you meet someone from the US these days the chances are that sooner or later you’re going to get around to Trump, and, if you’re lucky, your new found friend will be on the right side of the argument. After all, an American with a passport has to be a liberal, right? Imagine our surprise when our Polish emigré was a vehement anti-Obama Trump supporting unashamed Republican. I know these people exist because I’ve seen them on tv but you don’t expect to see them in the wild, especially not in Europe.

She bellowed (that was her style) that when Obama had said that he was going to “fundamentally change America” she had felt “sick to her stomach”. Being English we were way too polite to point out the gun laws, the shootings, the  continued civil rights battle, the lack of health care (until Obama) for the poor, and so on. But when she complained that she’d left California “because there were too many immigrants” our politeness sank into despair. I’ve heard that Americans don’t get irony. I don’t know if that’s the case but if it is true, then our Polish American is fully naturalised.

It has left me pondering whether right-wingers who are loud and proud just believe that everyone thinks like them whilst us quiet liberal snowflakes are just too damn nice to upset anyone. And if we do speak up we’re immediately Stalinistic Communists anyway and are waved away. Perhaps for reflection another time?

Our fellow traveller grabbed her camera, clicked the view, and was gone and silence descended once more as the dust settled. I reached for my I-Spy Book of Tourists and ticked off “US Republican”. It’s a funny old world.

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…remember them?…

3 thoughts on “We saw one in the wild…

  1. Ironically, during our travels, Europeans constantly ask us… why are you leaving us? They state it’s bad for all of us. I worry sometimes that we’re going to be lambasted for the RW’s victory on Brexit. We are sometimes made to feel like we’re ambassadors for the UK and that we have to defend a decision we don’t support. All I can say to them is that Brexit is a politicians game and that all of us will still be friends after it all. I hope that our government doesn’t damage our European relationship as I quite enjoy spending time with our relatives over the sea…

    1. I agree, it is quite embarrassing. I’ve met some German cyclists in the Cotswolds recently and I felt that the first thing I should do is apologise. Brexit is a politicians game but it will be the people who the price, either at home or in Europe. Sadly, I only see division ahead for us here. I hope the EU offers UK citizens the right to have EU passports. Can you imagine having to get a visa to go on holiday to Spain or Slovenia, for instance, after all this time. I have nothing but contempt for the people who have brought us to this.

      1. We were saying the same thing the other day. You can move freely across Europe yet soon we may find that this is no longer a luxury Brits can enjoy. I see it as our civic duty to shape and mould the way Brexit (if it goes through) happens… otherwise these idiots may lead us down a ridiculous path. On a separate issue, Brexit is likely to flounder as our government has yet to properly test itself with the DUP arrangement. I anticipate that it will fall long before Brexit has happened, new politicians will mess it up and we’ll have Brexit light (whatever that actually means). Sometimes in life, it’s okay to say we made a mistake and the UK has to be honest with itself and say we made a mistake, we’re staying in…

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