Home is the Sailor from the sea and the Hunter from the Hills.

I arrived home just before noon on Sunday 24th of April. I decided in Vienna that it was time to head home, and then disaster struck. I put my card in a hole in the wall and the sun was so bright that I could not make out what I was supposed to do, maybe I waited too long, or pressed the wrong button, but the machine stole my card. I was in deep shit without the proverbial.

I phoned the bank, told them what happened and they issued me a new card – to my home address. I asked a (good) neighbour if she would go into my home, find the card and e-mail me the card number, the expiry date and the three-digit code on the rear, take it to the hole in the wall (or supermarket) and either buy something or withdraw money from my account on my new card, (to activate the card). I then used the information to go online and buy a ticket home, my heroin.

The bank started sending me security notices wishing to send codes to my phone that I should return to them for security, problem was my bank did not have my new phone number, it was all getting a bit dodgy – so I am pleased that I had already made up my mind to come home.  

I have been on the road since 15:30 on Friday in order to get here today. I was able to sleep a good deal on the overnight buses, but now that I am home had a shower, clean clothes, and lots and lots of tea drinking, I feel it is catching up on me now. Even on the last leg, from Edinburgh to St Andrews the bus broke down, just after leaving the Hillend P&R and they had to send a second coach for us.

I had a brilliant holiday, feeling good, I had not realised just how much two years of lockdown had drained me, I am now a fitter, thinner, faster mean machine, with topped up batteries.

North, south, east or west, home they say is best, however, if you never leave the comforts of your home, how can you ever say that?

Like all my sojourning, I have learned so much about myself and the young people of Europe. They were so warm and welcoming, and their well-being was palpable.

The cities have changed so dramatically too, I have not visited Europe for a few years now, and the city centres have now become to a greater degree pedestrian precincts and cycling has become the chosen means of transport within the city centres. It is logical to me that most traffic travelling through our towns and cities, really does not wish to be there in the first place, the European planner seems to have grasped this idea and run with it, building bypass roads and flyovers direct onto the motorways, giving people back their towns and cities.

When leaving France the customs officers had little interest in my passport, yards further on in ‘Drawbridge Briton’ they took much more interest, scrutinizing the passport photograph against yours truly.

I have never believed in borders, or why we hang pieces of colour cloth from flagstaff, other than decoration.

Arrogant man, he squats upon the land

Pretending that he owns it

But when he himself has passed

Leaving only grey ash

Nature shall reclaim it.

The young people of Europe I believe are starting to break down those borders and in many ways are ahead of the European parliament on this, their well-being is palpable.

My father was a Darwinian, he truly believed we must adapt to our environment, and not try to adapt the environment to our will.

Only a few years ago we had the Glasgow Cop (out) already it has turned into ‘Greenwash’ and the money men back in charge, oh it is easy to spin coronavirus, the war in……. to hide the truth. I despair at the news that Germany will drill for oil and gas in areas of scientific interest, helping to wean themselves off the Russian gas supplies as their excuse. They use the war in Ukraine for their move away from global warming promised, but how much truth is there in that lie. However, the young people of Europe are fighting back, they may not be headline news anymore, but protesting against global warming in towns and cities is still there, ‘in your face, they have not gone away. The young of Europe is the future and will not be cowed by more failed American foreign policies.

It is hard for me to understand why Bush and Blair could invade countries across North Africa, the Middle East, and Afghanistan, leaving a trail of devastation in their wake, refugee camps the size of small cities, an influx of migrants and refugees into Europe that will change the shape of these countries and is already doing so, these refugees and migrants are the future of Europe, like it or not, and to my mind a good thing.

Yet when Russia (no matter what side you are on with that one) invades Ukraine the world is turned upside down. No one ever suggested that Bush or Blair should be sanctioned, stopped from paying their debts, bank accounts of friends and families frozen, the money stolen along with any possessions they may have, what right is there when good for the goose is no longer good for the gander.

But change is happening across Europe the young are not content to see their economies destroyed by politicians that care only to protect the interests of organizations such as NATO at the expense of their futures. There is a battle going on at present for the soul of Europe, and the outcome is unpredictable, but I travel hopefully that the common sense of the young will prevail.  

When in Paris I was standing next to a large poster of the two main contenders for the presidency of France, Macron and Le Pen. I asked people who passed who would win. There was a split right down the middle between the young (under 50s) and the older generation, but for me, the truthful answer came from an elderly man, who answered my question by saying

“None of them”

Imagine there’s no heaven
it’s easy if you try
No hell below us
above us, only sky

Imagine all the people
Livin’ for today
(Ah, ah, ah)

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
and no religion, too

Imagine all the people
Livin’ life in peace

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
a brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people
sharing all the world

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

We need to join the young of Europe if we wish to enjoy the well-being of the people I met there.

In ‘The Hunt for Red October’ the captain of Red October when asked if trouble will come from this, (the abduction of the submarine) the Capt. answers  

“Perhaps, but a little revolution now and again is no bad thing – don’t you think?”

“Stop the world Scotland wasn’t to get on”

Or in the words emblazoned on the T-shirt of the girl in front of me at an AUOB march in Dunfermline.

“If you do not move, you will not feel your chains”

Stay safe.

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