And still they keep coming! Since 2004 around a million Poles have settled in Britain. Tom Fort's local newspaper, the Reading Chronicle, has a Polish edition.The new businesses down the town s longest road are all Polish. You can live off Polish bread and Polish sausage, drink Polish beer and dance to Polish bands, worship in a church packed with Polish Catholics, order a wedding cake from a Polish cake maker. And it's not just the Poles. Tom's gym has a Lithuanian trainer.The martial arts teachers are two brothers from the Ukraine.The girl cutting his hair in Henley-on-Thames is from Debrecen in eastern Hungary and has no intention of ever returning. The human river flooding from the east has changed the face, not just of this country, but of western Europe.The continent has come together in a way that would have been unimaginable a generation ago. Some say it s for the worse, that the newcomers have stolen jobs, forced down wages, strained already creaking public services to the point of collaps
Tom Fort read English at Balliol College, Oxford before going on to work as a reporter on a newspaper and then on to the BBC where he worked for over 20 years.He is married with five children and is the author of five other books. (Under the Weather and Downstream published by Century and The Grass is Greener, The Far From Compleat Angler and The Book of Eels, published by Harper Collins).