Lunch with her grandsons triggers a fear for their futures as Lil considers the huge world changes that are taking place.
I was invited to lunch by a couple of grandsons. I was so touched, it was just me and it was a spontaneous gesture. I cannot imagine inviting my grandmothers to lunch. One was very old and required good manners which covered not only a plethora of pleases and thank yous but an unwritten understanding of what was appropriate to talk about. The other was equally old and fell asleep sitting bolt upright in her chair after meals. They were so much nearer to death than I was that it was difficult to communicate with them, even kissing their leathery cheeks was to commune with a world far removed from mine.
I’m their age now, wrinkled, grey haired and trip up easily on uneven surfaces. I no longer play tennis, ski or ride, running is dodgy and I like to know where the next loo is. But I do have a burning belief that my world of the comfortable upper middle is not only coming to an end but is going to be swept away with all the edifices that the middle class has built for itself. And that this is a good thing in a world of such poverty.
Armageddon is not a subject that either of my grandsons had given much thought to. Their world is dancing, girlfriends, essays at university and saving up for the next holiday. I listened with love, fear and dread as I thought of the hordes of immigrants, whose miserable lives make them determined to breach the flimsy barriers that stand between us and their worlds of bitter warfare, religious intolerance, starvation. Those people whose only hope of survival is to rise up and invade our way of life, grab the bread, kick out the weak, clamber over the carefully balanced institutions that for hundreds of years has served us well.
How could I explain to my grandsons that I foresee a future where a social conflagration that makes World Wars 1and 2 look like a teddy bear’s picnic could swamp their lives. No more black ties, no more claret and pheasant, no more double barrelled named girls appearing in Country Life. I see socialism as inevitable, indeed desirable if I am going to have to live with neighbours who have risen up and invaded us to feed their children, seek jobs and have a television. I realise that many people like me join UKIP, but my analysis leads me to believe that nothing will stop the ravening hordes so the best we can do is devise a socialism which shares out the wealth more equally and by that means, we survive. Africa is closer than you think, the Middle East is on our doorstep, the rich are greedier than ever, the only way that the bread is going to be distributed is by a world federalism of socialism round the world.
The lunch was delicious, the boys dears, I hadn’t the heart to bang on about my apocalyptic fantasies so we talked about their lives, oh how I hope I’m just a silly old woman who has got it all wrong.