My name’s Fi Darby and, when I am not busy freelance writing, I teach people to read maps. I don’t often get lost but have recently found myself wishing the irritating news elf Brexit would take himself off up into the hills and do just that. I have, however, so far resisted suggesting this as a possible solution to our current troubles because the hills are just about the only place left where it’s possible to hide from the latest ‘B’ news. It was an interesting thought however, to consider what would happen if, when out walking, I discovered Brexit, lost and confused at a summit (I have a feeling I wouldn’t be the first person to whom this has happened).
Me: Hi there, is everything okay?
Brexit looks up from his huddled position on the floor.
Brexit: No it’s not! I was out applying my right to freedom of movement when I realised I was lost. I think I crossed a border but it was too soft to tell and now I appear to have got myself a divergence.
Me: (Scratching my head) where’ve you come from?
Brexit: Last thing I remember, I was on a cliff edge and on the verge of crashing out. Or I might have been in Brussels… I’m really not sure.
Me: Would you like me to help? I could teach you to read a map and find your way home.
Brexit stands up and faces me.
Brexit: Have you got any food? I had all my cake and ate it months ago and, when I tried cherry picking earlier, I got poked in the eye by a branch. I was a blind Brexit for a short while, or maybe I wasn’t, I’m not really sure.
Me: I’ve haven’t got any cake but I did buy a packet of biscuits at a shop a while ago.
Brexit: Was that a frictionless trade?
Me: (Confused) well… the chap behind the counter was quite friendly.
I hand Brexit the packet of biscuits, which he opens messily.
Brexit: (Crumbs spattering) was it a single market?
Me: (Even more confused) I guess so; there’s only one shop in the village.
Brexit: How did you get to the village?
Me: I got the bus.
Brexit: Was it the Brexit bus?
Me: No, it was the number 32. Here’s my map, shall we have a go at reading it?
Brexit: Are we in Norway?
Me: No, why?
Brexit: I like Norway. Are we in Canada?
Me: No, why?
Brexit: I like Canada even better.
Me: Well we’re in Devon… just about here (pointing at the map)
Brexit: I need to get to Brussels, is it on your map?
Me: (Sighing) No but we can get you to Exeter airport and then you can leave…
Brexit: (Shouting) don’t say, ‘leave’ it sends me into a panic.
Me: (Sighing again) what we need to do is find a footpath.
Brexit: Are those green lines borders? They look a bit soft to me.
Me: No, they’re footpaths. If we follow one we’ll get back down from this summit.
Brexit: Are they hard or soft?
Me: Hard… No soft… Look, does it really matter?
Brexit: To be honest I’m not sure anymore. Are those black lines borders?
Me: No, they’re walls or fences.
Brexit: I like sitting on fences… At least I think I do.
Me: (Sighing even more) if we follow this footpath we’ll eventually get to the main road.
Brexit: What are those blue squares?
Me: (Raised voice) they’re grid lines that show a square kilometre of ground.
Brexit: (Pouting) Oh! I thought they were Chequers. I liked Chequers.
Me: Shall we start walking down this footpath?
Brexit: Are there any cliffs? I’m not sure how I feel about cliff edges.
Me: We’re on Dartmoor not in Snowdonia… No! There are no cliffs or cliff edges.
Brexit: Keep your hat on… I was just negotiating.
Me: Negotiation usually requires compromise… shall we walk down this footpath?
Brexit: I don’t like compromise… Or do I? I’m not really sure.
Me: Look, I need to get home before my curfew. Are you coming or not?
Brexit: What’s a curfew?
Me: It’s like a deadline only stricter.
Brexit: I don’t like deadlines.
Me: (Starting to walk down the hill) I’m going… Are you coming or not?
Brexit: Not! I’m not coming!
Brexit sits back down on the grass with his back to me.
Brexit: I don’t like cliff edges, I don’t like deadlines, I don’t like cherries and I don’t even like cake!
Me: (Over my shoulder) Well you’d better remain then hadn’t you!