I met my inner Putin as I crossed the empty road by our ancient market square and had to speed up as a car shot downhill towards me. I waved my crutch free hand up and down to slow the driver. She braked hard, gave me a rude sign. I shook my head as I kept crossing and she wound down her window, “F* off you twat!”
I was surprised how quickly I spun round, “There’s something wrong with you,” I lifted my crutch to show her, “look. Be careful!”
“You F*ing invalid!”
I could have nuked her right there in our peaceful little town, but turned from my inner Putin and walked off as, in full Putin mode, that beautiful woman in her early thirties kept yelling abuse.
We each have such rage inside us, and mine though unexploded, if nurtured could have grown to equal her stress flight. I’ve noticed this sort of thing quite a lot since we returned to Boris’ Brexit land. Back over the far side of the English Channel, or La Match, as the French call it, such incidents were incredibly rare, indeed, I can’t recall one.
That was in the morning when we were on our way to our car which drove us towards stunning cliffs I dreamt of seeing this difficult year of sofa slumping. Camilla eventually parked and it was fantastic to be out walking along a level path after so being long and so lonely inside and to be amongst a variety of people from around the world. I kept hearing snippets of conversation as they overtook us.
A mumble of sound slowly turned in to: “Princess Di loved this view.”
“You can see why, look at the sea, so calm, the azure so perfect against the white cliffs.” “Oh, if only I could paint…”
“Paint it with your mind and hold it forever.”
“Is that possible?” “Yes, I once took a stunning mountain view but the image inside my head is always better.”
I was woken from my reverie by: “Blast, I’ve mud on my boots.”
“They’re walking boots….”
“I don’t want them to get dirty….” “We’re walking, there’s mud….” “I told you, I prefer them clean….” “But we’re out in nature….”
“Oh shut up!”
His voice burst upon us, “Gorr, look at the colours!”
“It’s a rainbow stone,” the other held the chipped flint up to the bright sunlight.
“Let’s keep it by the bed to lift our hearts.”
And their voices shot away too faint to grab a hold of.
A couple slowed to walk at my pace, “For seven years we’ve lived in your lovely country, it is just and it is easy….”
“Even though we flood to your homeland for our holidays?”
“Democracy really works in England, that’s not so in many European countries….”
I asked, “Even with the lies of Brexit and our unreliable Prime Minister?” “Even with all of that England is more tolerable. Your police are friendly, your rights are respected, our police are as assertive as our hard government.”
I heard what sounded like Russian women. They had amongst them an English couple, “To think we’re here enjoying this peace but over the far side of Europe our relatives are being bombed….”
“I’m urged to go and help…..”
“You’d be strawberry jam in seconds….”
Her voice wafted in with the breeze, “This view is fantastic, take my photo, no, no, make me central, bigger….” She laughed with joy. “But the view….” he put forward.
“I’m more important than the view…”
“What about the two of us, a double selfie….” She snatched the phone, “I’ll take myself.”
As I lingered, admiring the white cliffs a soft voice said, “Our little baby defines our lives now….”
Her partner said, “Adjusting, we’re not stressed….”
“She picks up on our vibe and she’s always calm.”
I added, “Imagine if every child grew up as secure….”
She said, “The world would be heaven….”
He smiled, “That’s what drives us to listen to her needs.”
A couple trod eagerly onwards, “We should give up one of our spare bedrooms for Ukrainians.” “They’ll be traumatised, it’d not be easy.”
“Easier than being bombed….”
“I mean for us….”
“Don’t go so close to the edge,” I said to a twenty something beauty “Why?”
“It might crumble and that’s a huge drop.” “There’s no fence, so it must be safe,” there was defiance. I said, “I wouldn’t trust it.” “But you’ve a crutch and its stood here for centuries…” I retorted a little too assertively, “Not exactly, it’s always crumbling, that’s why there’s these….”
“Oh, spoil sport,” and off she stepped
A woman gasped, “Oh, I could die to live here….” He laughed, “Well, I could dig your grave right here.”
She pointed across the bay, “Those are amongst the most expensive houses in the world….” “And all the traffic from the ferry passes their doors…..” “With those huge windows they’re living inside TV sets!”
“I prefer our little terraced house.”
As I walked back to the car, which Camilla had long walked off to bring closer for me, a woman who looked Far Eastern said, “She was having a fling….”
“With whom?” “A neighbour…. And so he threw her down the well…” “Servers her right,” her European partner holding their baby said.
“The husband went after the man….”
Too slow to catch up, the rest of that juicy story about another Putin who had a deep well was lost to me.