Thursday, 27 August 2015

On Autumn

Remember the old adage “Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves?” While we are all distracted, watching the flood of migrants threatening to engulf all of western civilisation we ignore at our peril the smaller ways in which our culture has been progressively dismantled. For instance, have you noticed the quiet removal of the once common Chelsea bun from our supermarket shelves, to be replaced by the bland ubiquity of chocolate chip brioche rolls or the evil mass-produced 'Victory Croissant'?  You haven’t? Well I bloody well have; my search for Chelsea buns has now covered four counties and as many supermarket chains.

Is uniformly inoffensive Euro-fare to eventually erase all traces of parochial identity from the national diet? How long before we lose the Yorkshire pud? And is there a future for the Bakewell tart, Eton mess and Melton Mowbray pies? The evil Margarita Fatcha closed down the once-famous jam butty mines of Knotty Ash and the French have long envied and despised our Stilton cheese. It's all a big conspiracy against differentiation and the nation state, I tells ya!

The world turns on its axis and tilts us away from the sun and before we are aware of it the changes creep in. Each day we lose several minutes of daylight but in our busy lives we only notice it properly after nature has already registered this annual climate change. Last night I went for a short walk and saw fully-formed conkers amid browning leaves, ripe elderberries already producing purple pigeon shit and that great harbinger of middle class autumn – sloes, already fat and purple and dusted with their characteristic yeasty bloom. While the eternally confirmation-biased anthropogenic global warming mob register this as proof of their doom-laden thesis, the rest of us simply recognise the inevitability of the seasons.

Autumn has long been used as a metaphor for ageing; the mellow fruitfulness a simile for the ripening of wisdom atop old shoulders, with the earlier nightfall heralding our own shorter days – have you seen how they fly by once you pass fifty? The rich hedgerow harvest, if you are able to avail yourself of it, is akin to the rewards for making hay while the sun shone, while those long, wet days sat staring from rain-streaked windows is a hint at the helplessness that comes to us all. But the thing about the real autumn, as opposed to an individual’s autumn is that it isn’t the only one; we have a chance to start over again come spring.

Conkers? Bollocks, more like!

And just as I am not yet ready to lie down and accept old age gracefully, nor should the individual nations of Europe accept that their day is done. “Do not go gentle into that good night” wrote Dylan Thomas “Old age should burn and rave at close of day;” While the mature governments of the world seem to accept as inevitable that our cultures must change and the familiar be forever lost – bizarrely ‘diversity’ makes us ever less capable of difference – it is up to the civilised populations of those benighted countries to stand up to their masters and to “rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

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