Bourton on the Water
ZANE and the Art of Motorcycle…
Another red hot day: we were met by four delightful ZANE supporters who walked the entire route with us.
At lunch, we were greeted by Ralph Fergusson Kelly, who motor biked from Monmouth to meet us, bless him.
Some of our walkers are Catholic. I reminded them of the teaching of Cardinal Basil Hume when he was a master at Ampleforth School. I have told this story to donors in an earlier blog, but it’s worth repeating.
There were roughly 100 boys present.
The leader courteously told Basil Hume that they were fed up with Bible teaching as it had no relevance to their lives.
“Sir, Henry over there is going into the City, Mike is to be a lawyer, Charles will inherit an estate, I am going into the army. We all agree we just don’t need God!”
Hume then said quietly:
Gentlemen, society estimates that at least 40% of you, when married, will suffer the pain of discovering that your partner has been unfaithful; 40% of marriages end in failure; 60% of you will find your children are in deep trouble with money or drugs; 30% of you will face acute financial difficulties; 10% of you will go bankrupt. 3% will face criminal proceedings, 1% will face prison (and I am looking at you, Henry!).
70% of you will face bereavement, 100% of you will face fatal illness, 100% will face death.
May I suggest gentlemen that at all these dreadful times you will be grateful for the Gospel of Christ.
There was a stunned silence.
We Wondered as we Wandered
As we walked, we wondered why we listen to the so-called “left-wing” who talk down to the rest of us from a position of moral superiority? And why, if we are such an intolerably racist society, immigrants risk life and limb to come and live, not in the EU countries they pass through, but in the UK?
We wondered why on earth are so many of us ashamed of our past? Why do we listen to students who impertinently lecture us about whether our statues should remain standing or not? Why do we blame ourselves for all conflicts, past, present and future?
Best of British
Why do our teachers feed our young a thin gruel diet of misery, hatred and shame for our past so as to pox their present and future with negativity?
Why not teach children the truth? Of course, Britain has made plenty of ghastly mistakes, and our motives were seldom pure, but we are also the cause of much that is right in the world. We abolished the evil of slavery – practised throughout history by all other countries, including Africa – and are the pioneers of parliamentary democracy, constitutional monarchy and equality. The English language – our gift to the world – is used internationally in diplomacy, in commerce, in technology, education, government and invention. And our Magna Carta was the underpinning of global law, the foundation of order in the free world. Our judiciary is independent, and our property rights, labour laws and legal reasoning are the envy of the world. We are an honest place in which to do business: not many countries can boast that.
Our DNA is that of openness and fairness, and our well-founded laws and freedom mark us out as a special people. This isn’t elitism, rather self-awareness. Our patriotism is based on our love and respect for our institutions, laws, heritage and ideas. As a nation of under 70 million people, we outrank many larger nations in terms of scientific and medical innovation as well as rare achievements in sports, entertainment, the financial sector, tourism and art.
Today we lead the world in social reform and the development of hospital care; and our legacy of ethics, kindness and charity shows our country at its best.
Now is the time for us to stop saying we are sorry about being British. We still have much to teach.
I don’t complain (much) in restaurants, and I’ll tell you why. There are at least 4 billion suns in the Milky Way. Many of them are thousands of times larger than our own sun, and vast millions of them have whole planetary systems, including literally billions of satellites. All this revolves at a rate of about a million miles an hour, like a huge oval pinwheel.
Our own sun and planets, which include the Earth, are on the edge of the wheel. This is only our small corner of the universe, so why don’t these billions of revolving and rotating suns and planets collide? The answer is that space is so unbelievably vast that if we reduced the suns and planets in correct mathematical proportions to the distances between them, each sun would be a speck of dust, several thousand miles from its nearest neighbour.
And, mind you, that’s only the Milky Way. How many galaxies are there? At least 100 billion in the known universe. Billions and billions of them are spaced at about one million light-years apart (one light-year is about six trillion miles). The scientists have found that the further you go out into space with the telescopes, the thicker the galaxies become. There are billions of billions that are as yet undiscovered by the scientist’s cameras and astrophysicist’s calculations.
So when you think about it, it seems silly to care that the pub has run out of ginger beer.