The rain in Austria stays mainly in the mountains so it seems, particularly around the Hotel Austria in Niederau. Mustn't grumble though, absolutely roasting hot sunshine last two days has given me a lovely tan, bonus. In a way it is an enforced rest and recent arrivals from Keighley in dear old Yorkshire assure us it is worse at home, always makes you feel better that doesn't is, when the weather is poor on holiday it makes you feel good knowing it is worse at home. Well I think about my garden and my recently planted perennials and the vet in the raised beds, but then start to worry about the snails and slugs eating everything. This leads to a little aside, the snails here are massive, I mean huge, these babies could eat a whole lettuce with one bite, but, when we look at peoples veg plots in their gardens there is no evidence of predation by these monster snails, none whatsoever. I really need to find out the secret these Austrian gardeners possess. As we wander through the villages all is immaculate, this is a catholic country and it seems their houses and gardens are as immaculate as the conception they believe in. The houses are fantastic and range from very traditional old house attached to the barn to cutting edge architecture that even Prince Charles would approve of. Yesterday after a couple of hours walking we stopped off in Oberau for coffee and sat outside a lovely Imbass in the hot sun, people were making their way back through the village wearing their traditional Tyrolean costumes having taken part in an annual procession, they are keeping traditions alive. I love that kind of thing, our culture is the flower of the people said Amilcar Cabral, an African revolutionary and philosopher. Our culture is precious in helping people maintain a sense of identity in a rapidly homogenising world. Whilst a student I used Cabral?s thesis to look at the Vietnam war and examine the contrasting cultures of the North Vietnamese and the Americans. I will not bore you with the details but not surprisingly culture and identity are closely intertwined, and underpined the will to win for the Vietnamese. Why is this of any relevance to Austria? Well my humble observations tell me that the Austrians have given up less of their identity than we English, (please insert, Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish, Irish and alter the degrees accordingly). They are proud of their land, their culture and appear very comfortable with life. In the reception is a quote pasted on the wall next to the cute 'Willkommen' carving, the quote runs; "I have no wish to enclose my house with walls. But no foreign culture should estrange me from my maternal soil". OK, how many hotels would be able to display this quote back home, how long before the Guardian exposed these racist felons, how dare they promote such xenophobic sentiments by this, oops, Mahatma Gandi, oh dear! They would not dare post this lovely quote by this gentle man for fear of upsetting the PC brigade. Well that is because for years we have been chipped away at by these people who believe they hold the moral compass and that they have the moral right to take us in the irection they feel comfortable with. Well sorry folks but that is tosh. It is time we decided to say no, there is absolutely nothing wrong and everything right in celebrating our differences. When I go to Wales, I want to feel I am in Wales, I want to eat Welsh beef, hear the Welsh language and feel the difference, the same for a proposed trip to Scotland, I support the quest for independence too, just as I love being in Austria, Mexico, Jamaica or France. I also love our regional differences that manifest themselves in dialect and particularly food. Whilst the PC brigade see any assertion of national or regional identity as a dangerous thing leading almost directly to a rise in National Socialism, we should instead see it as an antidote to such an event. In my current novel, the Redbreast, it is the Norwegian Nasjonal Samling (National Gathering) refering to the real life Norges Nasjonalsosialistiske Bevegelse the movement that is the heart of a conspiracy, this is interesting reading at the time of the Anders Brevick trial, that notorious Aryan killer. Unfortunately, extremism will always exist but will feed on the fact that it is forbidden, a secret threatened cult that must defend the faith against the traitors to race, blood and culture. A wider spread acceptance and celebration of our indigenous cultures and a healthy interest in one another's is a far stronger way to build a more homogenous wider community as the two are not mutually exclusive. Much more secure than the failed attempt by political manipulators of votes to create a multicultural experiment, see sociological ethics texts if concerned over the ethics of experimenting with human lives! I look forward to travelling to an independent Scotland if that is what occurs and do not expect it will look very different from now. When I went to scotland previously I read John Prebbles excellent series "The Highland Clearances", "Glencoe" and Culloden". As for myself as an Englishman I intend to continue to research more about our origins and history, the bits they never tell you at school, the history of our Anglo Saxon heritage. Will this turn me into a blood and honour type fascist, absolutely not, even though I have a shaved head. In life we must never stand still and look at what has been and imagine some glorious time in the past, these times never existed and if they did then the rose tinted spectacles are being worn. What we need to do is rethink our future in light of the present AND the past, history does not repeat itself, no two circumstances and/or conditions are exactly the same. However, if we are to rediscover our rapidly dwindling local, regional, ethnic cultures then we need to at least know our history, our story as it is this that puts it all in context, and instead of wearing the face of hate it should wear the face of happiness just like the people of Oberau yesterday in their Tyrolean dress, smiling in the hot Austrian spring, secure in their identity, welcoming in their hearts. Otherwise our very soul will be gradually eaten away as one of my little perennials by a giant invading snail. Footnote: The Austriance celebrate Independance Day on May 15th, not the date the date that Germany surrendered or left their land, but the day the Allies left.