I discovered I was truly European a long time ago. I am 87 now and was 20 then.
We were cycling in Holland and Belgium and there was devastation everywhere.
Among the ruins of Rotterdam, which the Germans had flattened, the piledrivers were at work.
My family had earlier been bombed out in London and on a daily basis I had seen the bombed area around St Paul’s and Ludgate Hill.
The thing that struck me so forcibly was that these people had suffered as we had, but much worse because they had been occupied.
Everywhere we were treated with kindness, offered beds and meals. On a pouring night in Belgium we asked if we could pitch our tent.
The answer was ‘I wouldn’t put a dog out on a night like this’ and we were invited in.
It was pretty well a single-roomed cottage with a raised sleeping platform at one end. The owners insisted that we had their bed and gave us breakfast in the morning.
We were very young ambassadors of the country which had given them hope in 1939-45 and had freed them. I am proud to be European.
Mary Ernest, Hereford
Geraldine Scott explores the Brexit divisions within the British expat community on the Spanish Costa del Sol, but it prompts a question from me.
Why when Brits leave the UK to live in the other parts of the world, do we become expats when the people who come from those lands to live here get called something else?
Perhaps it’s time we called Brits abroad exactly what they are: British migrants and immigrants in other people’s countries!
Bob Hale, Portishead
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