The daffodils have finally put their trumpets out, the hazel trees in front of our house have their first tentative show of green budding leaf, there is the busy rat-a-tat-tat of woodpeckers in the stand of woods and the playful quarrelling noise of sparrows, red kites wheel overhead and sound their unearthly shriek, Easter eggs are half price and I've just spotted my first Nazi of the year.
I went up to our local Tescos this morning to fill up the car with petrol and to buy some croisants. I had some problem getting a pump, as half of them were out of use - probably waiting for a delivery. Anyway, I got a pump, filled the car, then went inside and got the breakfast stuff, then waited on the surpisingly long sunday morning queue. Like most Tesco Expresses in the area, this one was staffed by young Asian men. In this case, Nepalis and Indians, guessing by the names. In the queue was a thick set man of about sixty, with what is most charitably described as a florid complexion, although Alcoholic's Red Face would also do nicely. His hair, though grey, was fairly full, as was his beer gut. He had on a blue Abbey Rugby Club tank top and checked shirt, and was wearing a face full of thunder. His turn came and he lurched towards the cashier. What followed was a load of very nasty invective, that began with 'Why don't you speak English?', to 'Are ye calling me a liar, paki?' (he was, I'd guess, an Ulsterman originally, judging by the accent), to other NF classics such as 'what are ye doing here?', to 'that's the problem with this place is youse lot', before stomping off to his car. The staff remained remarkably calm in the face of this. what was somewhat astonishing was that no-one in the very long queue said anything to stop this really rather nasty tirade. As it happened, it was my turn at the cashier who'd borne the brunt of this, and I said, rather loudly, 'morning. Sorry about the racist idiot', to which the guy smiled and said 'it's OK - he can come to my country and learn the language and see how he likes it', while the woman next to me said 'too right!'. I glanced back at the queue: Sorry to say, I got some hostile glances from two or three people, mostly those of the potato-shaped, shaven-headed variety.
I should also say, much to my own shame, that I only said the 'sorry about the racist idiot' line after the prick had left -I very much wish I'd said it to his face.
Anyway, if you happen to go to Abbey Rugby club and meet an alcoholic sixty-year-old Ulsterman in a blue ARC tanktop, tell him what I think. Actually, give him a good kick for me.