We came back from holiday to find the workmen had been round in our absence and put in a new back gate. The new gate is black- and taller than the old gate and I'm still not over the visual shock of it. Everytime I catch a glimpse of it through the kitchen window it's as if I'm looking out at the void. I'm thinking it would be nice to repaint it in pastoral colours- apple green or olive drab, but then again, that would cost money.
The Foreign Office can grovel all it likes to the Pope, but that leaked memo- which jokily suggested he might use his visit to Britain to launch an new range of condoms and bless a gay marriage- accurately sums up what we think of him and his office. And when I say "we" I suspect that includes a lot of British catholics too. It's not that we hate him; we don't; it's more that we regard him with a kind of amused distaste. He's our shuffling, exasperating, slightly unwholesome Uncle Benny. The FO has issued a grovelling apology, but you can't take back a thing like that. Hatred would be easier to deal with- hatred can be turned around- but no-one ever recovers from the perception that they're funny.