Today we travel back to the UK. Mixed feelings. As usual, lots of fun being left behind in the Philippines, where time seems endless, life is simple and priorities are just different. Living is so easy here, and kids play from dawn til dusk.
Then again there are many interesting challenges lying ahead back in the UK, and I am looking forward to getting to grips with them. The poor economy creates situations unseen for thirty years where winning market is now the key. For decades on end, production was all that mattered, and sales were relatively easy to find. Now it’s sales strategist’s heaven. People listen once more and try to do what’s required to win markets, whereas for years they took it all for granted, and often complained at how unfair it was that some privileged individual owned the business that employed them.
We could fly via the Middle East but I never enjoy the long stops at Dubai, or the Emirates. I prefer longer haul going direct to Europe, and the short wait at Schiphol or London.
I should add that that preference has nothing to do with Arabs, who are, in any case, rarely in evidence in the ranks of their airborne and ground staffs. I have met quite a few of them in the Philippines over the years, and can only say they are some of the most charming and instantly friendly people you meet anywhere in the world. They don’t always possess perfect English, but this is more than made up for by their sense of humour, and undoubted charm. I would rather pass an evening accompanied by Arab people than anyone else I can think of. They have a simplicity which we have completely lost in Britain and Europe, where everything is regulated into total boredom.
Sixty years ago, I remember British people being a bit similar – in a small Shropshire village before city commuters arrived. It’s in there somewhere still probably – the capacity to be spontaneously friendly. We’ve just got to bring it all back again somehow. Turn off the TV. Don’t answer the phone. Get rid of the government. That would be a good start. Or maybe I’m just out of date.
I feel quite lucky to live in a village community where people stop and chat on street corners, people know other peoples kids and watch out for them.
When my kids were younger, I had a list of 3 annoying things that made it difficult for kids to play freely outdoors as they once did, and as I did when I grew up. The first problem is cars. Cars divide up the community with roads, and have a higher priority than children in our society. The second is dogs, there are huge numbers of dogs, and many seem to be quite neurotic, attacking or chasing or knocking over little children. The third one is stranger danger paedophiles. The reason that is only third is because most abusers are known to their victims, I don’t think the stranger danger is a big enough issue to stop your kids benefitting from playing outdoors.