Everything changes but United Kingdom

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You leave the country for a few days, and all hell breaks loose...

Okay, not really, but the UK I returned to last week did seem somewhat different from that I’d left behind eight days previously.

‘Great’ when I jetted off, we were teetering on the brink of a name change when one returned on the day of the Scottish referendum.

Having shunned all types of media during my trip (holiday rules - no Twitter, no Facebook, no news of any sort) one was a little surprised by the growing support of the Yes campaign.

Not too long ago, it had seemed impossible to imagine a divided country. But there we were, on the big day itself, holding our breath to see which way the people of Scotland were going to vote. Never before had I seen so many of my peers so engaged in politics. For possibly the first time we - myself included - all had an opinion.

Friends from both sides of the border voiced their hopes and concerns, animatedly explaining why they were voting (or supporting) one campaign or the other.

Hearing from a number of people in Glasgow, one was almost taken aback by the pride they felt for their country. Yes, I’d seen it before on certain levels - sporting occasions, the return of a home-grown musical legend and such like - but this was something different.

Something far more moving. We all know how that story ended, and I for one was pleased with the result.

Not particularly for any political or economic reason, though one had listened intently to the debates on finance, defence and oil supplies.

No, my joy was based on something more simple, naïve and perhaps even a little selfish - relief. I didn’t want the country to split up.

Like the child of arguing parents, I so badly wanted the two to kiss and make up. To set aside their differences and get back together for the good of the kids. To make sure we stayed both ‘United’ and ‘Great’.

We have, for the time being at least. Though I think we may be closer to the marriage counselling stage, rather than preparing to renew our vows.

But this child of an almost-broken home can live with that, and find other things to worry about.

Like the news that Jason Orange has left Take That (it’s 1995 again and I’m devastated). I missed casting my vote. Why didn’t Dermot tell us the phone lines were closing?