Following on from the first three sonnets I put up, here are three more detailing my unhappiness about being stuck in Glasgow last summer as well as my distaste for the whole Olympics craze that was happening at the time. Notice I talk about “England’s self delusion” since it was mostly English flag waving and the English obsession with the Olympics that was really bothering me (I’d spent half of the summer in Nottingham, during the lead up to London 2012), rather than the more healthy (and cynical) attitude of the Scots.
But those five years I spent south of the border
That half a decade in Nottingham…
Perhaps a few short words might be in order
To say how I got on and if I am
Much better off for having gone away–
Indeed I’m now convinced this is the case
And that is why I cannot bear to stay
For Nottingham allowed me to embrace
The social side of life to an extent
That always seemed beyond me here at home.
It’s hard to overstate just what that meant:
To know I didn’t have to be alone.
Instead I think if I had stayed in Glasgow
My life would have become one great fiasco.
Don’t get me wrong it’s not like I became
An extrovert and neither would I boast
Of having made a lasting friendship — blame
My lack of guile for that. Perhaps the most
That I can say is in the end I felt
Much more at ease in company of others.
It might not sound a lot but I had dealt
My shyness quite a crushing blow. It bothers
Me though to think of all the years I wasted
Before I changed my ways in Nottingham —
I’ve known too well the sin of being complacent.
And though those years help make me what I am
I’m sure if I’d been quicker off the mark
My prospects now would not seem quite as stark.
The opportunity arose this Easter
The chance to get a job in Italy
For which I have to thank my girl at least her
Kind Vigilance in finding it for me.
The interview itself was fairly painless.
The bureaucratic bullshit that ensued
Though, started to drag and got so tedious
That by the end I almost felt abused.
The truth is that I would have gone through worse
If only for the chance to get away
And leave these tired old isles behind, immerse
Myself in other cultures, see my way
To making more of traits I had neglected
Or hidden depths I had not quite suspected.
The upshot is I waited out the summer
And hoped that by the autumn I’d be gone
The fact that I had plans to do a runner
Helped keep me sane through all the goings on
And all the countless torments of those months
When England’s self delusion reached a pitch
I found it hard to stomach. All at once,
The English had convinced themselves to ditch
Their pessimism and their famed reserve
Instead of which they clamoured to embrace
A patriotic frenzy that would serve
To help them overlook England’s disgrace.
But no amount of bunting would suffice
To hide her decline and make it look nice.