What’s it all about

was launched on: 26th November 1995,
this is version 29.0,
published on: 6th February 2020.

For  Marlene, my bonnie Lass,
of ancient, present, future times and even beyond
and for Moya
whose England this is, for better or worse,
with Bernie’s love.

I thought about patriotism. I wished I had been born early enough to have been called a LittleEnglander. It was a term of sneering abuse, but I should be delighted to accept it as a description of myself. That Little sounds the right note of affection. It is LittleEngland, I love.

And my patriotism, I assured myself, does begin at home. There is a lot of pride in it. Ours is a country that has given the world something more  than millions of yards of calico and thousands of steam engines. If we are a nation of shopkeepers, than what a shop! There is Shakespeare in the window, to begin with; and the whole establishment is blazing with geniuses.

But let us burn every book, tear down every memorial, turn every cathedral and college into an engineering shop, rather than grow cold and petrify, rather than forget that inner glowing tradition of the English spirit. Make it, if you like, a matter of pride. Let us be too proud, my mind shouted, to refuse shelter to exiled foreigners, … , too proud to lose an inch of our freedom,

Warmed a little by my peroration, I noticed that a lamp was cutting the fog away from a charming white gate. Doors were opened. Even the very firelight was familiar. I was home.

J.B. Priestley: English Journey. Penguin Books 1977. p. 389-390. (First published by William Heinemann Ltd 1934)