83.  Sunday evening.  You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.

Borders are closed, France, Netherlands, Ireland, Canada.  It’s like the siege in Passport To Pimlico.  There was a train derailment today.  They’re becoming commonplace now and not reported.  Are we becoming numb and desensitised to everything?

Monday morning, Winter solstice.  I’m up quite early, it is still dark outside.  Sainsbury’s is already open, with it’s out of scale orange letters illuminating the mist.  Today is the first of several days of retail excitement, all quite unnecessary every year, but especially this one.  Overnight we’ve become an island nation again, quite literally, borders are closed, allegedly plague-related, although some angry shouty commentators are happily relating it to the Common Market scandal.  The main public issues are merging now.  We’re facing food shortages on a scale not seen since the war.  Imports can still come in at the moment, but drivers and trucks risk being stranded here, so may not want to come.  When ports are open again there will be queues for ferries measured in days.  Kent will be a parking lot, surrounded by angry xenophobic localists.

Kent used to be called “the garden of England” by caricature cockneys in Hitchcock films.  The fields grew hops, apples, cauliflowers, probably lots more.  This country stopped being self sufficient in food production at least a century ago, possibly two.  Gradually Kent’s green fields have been paved over for parking lorries, or built on, fields of tiny box like houses in orange brick, liable to flooding.  Fake communities inaccessible without cars.  Pink hotels, boutiques, swinging hot spots.

There was a cargo ship at Dagenham this morning unloading Ford motor cars.  They’re not made here anymore, they come from Europe.  I’m saying that as if Europe is a different place, far away.  The cars may not be needed now, they may just sit in fields gradually rusting.  Cars shouldn’t be needed, at least not in the quantity we have them.  They’re status symbols, they make people lazy and angry.  We can’t go anywhere, or afford to run them either.  We can just use bikes and escooters to bring produce back from the allotments now.  I wonder if an electric powered wheelbarrow has been invented?

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