Summer has come early. Well, it has come. England has been simmering in the high twenties for a week now and it looks set to continue, albeit with the obligatory rain showers and thunder storms.
And the seasonal weather, for some reason, adds to the occasion of the World Cup, which starts today but kicks off in earnest tomorrow with England's first game~it's almost as if it had been laid on as a special backdrop for the tournament. How striking is the imagery that the combination of football fervour and summer heat provides~like walking to the bus station through the town last night in the illuminated blue-darkness, my shirt open to reveal the vest beneath, and that car coming by at speed with the Cross of St George flags flapping noisily in the slipstream, all the car windows open, four men inside shouting, drunk and joyful; or stepping off the bus in Wilby, a giant St George draped over the front wall of the Horseshoe pub, all the doors and windows open, a big crowd inside drinking and chattering under mini-St. Georges hanging from every beam and in a line over the heads of the people at the bar. Every scene's a painting; every eye-blink catches a haiku.
But Lord how deflated the country is going to be if England crash and burn, as they have done in every international tournament for the last forty years.