For the past couple of weeks I’ve been holidaying in Egypt, gratefully escaping the chaos in the real world.
Our guide to the temples and tombs was Ahmed, married to an Englishwoman who spends some of the year with her family in Shropshire.
He loves England, and has a special fondness for the historical buildings of the National Trust.
We compared the attitudes of our respective countries to our history. I explained that in Britain, there is now a great questioning of elements of our colonial past – several statues have been removed and the people who run the National Trust are placing a new focus on the origination of the wealth that was accumulated to build many of the great houses in its collection.
Ahmed was genuinely anguished. ‘Oh no!’ he exclaimed. ‘That will change everything. I go out to a National Trust garden with a scone and Devon cream and a ginger beer and I think, “This is England.” That’s all I want.’
Others may well sympathise.