It was interesting to see England get-into the World Cup semi-finals; it made me fell pretty good in a vicarious way (as someone almost wholly ignorant of the team involved; but someone who loved, played and knew a lot about football as a pre-pubescent boy).
So far so good. But the aftermath of the victory was a public orgy of oafish, foul-mouthed, aggressive and (above all) drunken behaviour that is so characteristic of the British; and which has worsened considerably during my life. And which is pretty generally celebrated and encouraged in national life.
The fact that we are in the midst of a sustained heatwave probably also contributed; since dry, warm sunny weather brings out the worst in many British people! 250 years into the industrial revolution, and with unprecedented prosperity, comfort, convenience - on display is a freak show of hideous tattooing and piercing, dyeing of hair, morbid obesity, sexual-availability advertising, flaunting of flesh and status, strutting arrogance and all-round attention-seeking, And this is bound-up with football.
Yet, in between this, there have been several really deep and powerful experiences of the loveliness of Britain, and the (mostly accidental) magic of which its people are capable.
We as a nation are certainly sleepwalking, or drunkenly staggering, to damnation - and doing-so quite deliberately, and by choice (one chooses not to awaken, one chooses to live by intoxication); yet I cannot give-up hope if the Big Picture is honestly acknowledged.