Town mouse applauds Heathrow

I don’t think I’ve ever got through an airport quicker. On Sunday, we returned from a week in Spain, apprehensive because, at the time of booking, we’d thought the Olympics started a week later. As it turned out, the Games had begun, and we feared we might be embroiled in the widely predicted travel mayhem. There was no sign of it. We could have chosen from one of four immigration officials, waiting queueless, to have our passports checked. I hope foreign visitors to the Games have the same experience.

Later this week, we’ll withdraw to Ramsgate, where the television screen is as good as the one here. Trujillo, where we stayed in Spain, is a town of about the same population, and yet how different. I don’t refer to the searing temperatures, the majestically scorched landscapes or the eagles circling overhead.

Nowhere in Britain is so redolent of the past. Shaken by the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, the town patched itself up with iron clamps and went back to sleep, leaving the few modern motorists who venture here to squeeze along narrow, cobbled streets, as pedestrians flatten themselves in doorways. Hideous new-builds or garish shopfronts? There aren’t any. Nor superstores. Can such a place exist? It already seems a dream.

* Summer

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