Ille is back in Tallinn, Estonia today, and after a smoother than expected coach ride I'm here in Weymouth. With all the tooing and froing of travel I'm lucky to have this capability to 'switch off' and simply watch the world go by. After the Stansted to London Victoria leg of the journey there was time for a couple of pints in The Travelers Inn, directly opposite the Coach Station, where I switched to Desmond Morris mode. The 'people watching' started as a seemingly insignificant young man arrived, bought a pint and repaired to the nearest 'one armed bandit' (or whatever the Politically Correct description is now they have no arm at all). There, he deftly started tickling the controls, as my thoughts quickly turned to 'Pinball Wizard', and within a couple of minutes he dropped a reasonable win. As the coins fell, he 'cupped' them with his hand ,which I thought a little strange, and decanted them into his holdall as I continued to watch. Soon he took the £70 jackpot following the same procedure, as it dawned on me that the coin catching was to save drawing attention to himself. Having bagged his prize he moved across the pub to the next 'bandit' where, within 5 minutes, he took the top money again. The final machine was at the far end of the bar and out of my view, but he spent little time there before he left the pub. Intrigued, I just had to walk to the door to follow his progress, watching him disappear into another tavern a little further down the road. During these observations, I saw no tools, magnets or devices, both of his hands seemingly empty - nice work if you can get it!
In the same pub a couple complained about the cleanliness of their pint glass, and it was slightly bizarre to see the barmaid simply tip the contents into another, presumably cleaner, glass rather than pull a brand new pint. However, it was outside and en-route that there was an air of Déjà vu. It seems much less, but exactly 4 years ago the nation was over run with a rash of St Georges crosses and over the past couple of weeks they have appeared again. World Cup fever is once again with us, and it seems the whole nation are supporters. Flags fly from private houses, pubs, business properties etc and it seems about 1 in 3 cars have sprouted at least one English banner. If you have ever traveled, just for instance, to the likes of the USA (in particular), Argentina, Brazil or even Ivory Coast you would be aware that this sort of behavior is a daily way of life, so why then does it only happen here when the Barmy Army are let loose? I have dubbed all these part timers 'The Two Week Patriots' and will be looking on E-Bay in 3 weeks time to buy second hand flags.
A year round patriot myself, but not a great football fan, I still hope we see this
turn to THIS!
Finally, a small point of order:- It is a fact that England will be the only team at this World Cup unable to append their country of origin / birth on the South African entry visa! Having lost our 'true identity' years ago the English are only allowed to write United Kingdom on all similar visas across the world, a travesty but nothing we can do about it - give us back our Birth Right.