A week in England

A week in England, often referred to as “the Auld Country”, watching the Games on tv, going to the occasional pub, tea in the garden and spending an inordinate amount of time at Sainsbury’s (supermarket). The pace of life in the English countryside is well documented as slower than most places and after a week within it I can attest. Breakfast, for instance, can take over an hour, lunch two hours, tea, another hour, with dinner lasting from six until after nine when the pre prandials are included. The spaces in between are taken up with short trips to the newspaper shop, the market for essentials, beer, wine, bread, and the next meal. There are of course events throughout the day that remind one of the almost bucolic ideal, horses and riders clip clop past the cottage, the milk truck passes by to pick up from the nearby dairy farm, a neighbour burns garden waste (illegally) sending clouds of sweet smelling wood smoke all around the village, youths play soccer on the green, ladies wait for the weekly bus, chatting quietly, a local gent’ comes and mows the lawn, oh that smell, and of course it rains and drizzles with the famous sunny intervals. It is incredibly, unbelievably greeeeeen, so different from the Coast where we have maybe four to six weeks of greenness in the Spring, and that’s it, no more green until next year, get over it. They definitely have seasons here, sometimes two or three in a single day. Washed clothes, dried on the washing line outside, are snatched before the next cloudburst, towels come out to dry the garden furniture before you sit down, there are discussions about whether it is sunnier in the front garden or the back one, the songbirds sing in the trees and an almost tame red breasted Robin begs for dried worms.
You can’t beat it really.
I would like to think that the impertinent comments made by that national embarrassment, Mitt Romney, before the Olympics started galvanized the country into a kind of “well, we’ll show him” frame of mind, but, well, something did. It was a miracle. The whole country went into a frenzy of competence, success, good humour, friendliness and winning. You know what ? on a commuter train into London a complete stranger started talking to us ! unheard of. Not only that but while dithering over the tube (subway) map someone came up and offered to help. The stiff upper lip had cracked a big grin. The infamous media went berserk with tales of the national mood. The Opening and Closing Ceremonies seem to have thrown the rest of the world into a state of some bemusement. I actually missed the opener, I was in the air, but the closure was, I think, an example of pure unadulterated kitsch, proof perhaps that in the UK the arts still rule and that the music still rocks on. I watched it all the way through until midnight and still couldn’t go to bed, I wanted more and the brilliant BBC coverage didn’t let me down. Here is a quote from today’s newspaper “Always look on the Bright Side of Life sums up the British weltanschauung, old Eric probably confused a big chunk of the world the other night “, well quite ! I know everyone has seen the events so not much point in going into any detail here, I would like to comment tho on the fact that the Brits did very well in events that involved sitting down, horse riding, rowing, cycling, sailing etc. Not too take credit away from the world’s cutest boxer, Nicola Adams, or any of the other non sitting down competitors.
Jolly good.
Off again now……..an unexpected trip to London and a very quick cab ride from the train station to the centre, Piccadilly, then back again. Sorry but I can’t get blasé about seeing those famous sites, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, St Martins in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, #10, the Cenotaph and Hatchards book store. I mean, really, I used to live there, time to get used to it surely, but no, it’s as exciting as bursting out of the Waldo tunnel to see the Bay, San Francisco, Alcatraz and the G G Bridge. I think it’s ok to be enthusiastic. Talking of which, anyone who knows me at all knows of my penchant for boats and here I am, on deck number nine, in the sunshine, on a boat bound for Santander in Northern Spain, accompanied by my sister.
This could be interesting……..

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The robin.

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One response to “A week in England

  1. Hope you have a jolly good time! Thanks for the best review of the Olympics and the Auld Country! Gotta get back there someday…

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