Within 30 minutes of starting our hike up Tryfan from near the Ogwen cottage – the rain put in an appearance. No real suprise. For me the suprise was the back and white spotted umbrella that arrived to help keep the rain off. I had to chuckle. Surely only the English would take an umbrella as rain protection up a mountain when wearing high tech water repellant, goretex, clothing.
Here we see the happy hikers taking a short rest break in the rain, accompanied by the cheerful umbrella.
Spending hours of the Easter national holiday weekend wandering through cool woodlands surrounded by dappled light, beautiful bluebells, immersed in the wonderful scent. The forests of the USA were beautiful too but the bluebell woodlands of England are magical in their own special way
Just around the corner from the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden is this fabulous row of antique communication devices. Many people 20 and under will never ever have used these. Why would they need to? They carry their own phones with them. In the 80′s a row of phone boxes like this in a city centre would have a person in each box talking and maybe one or two people outside, checking the change in their purses, waiting for their turn to make a private call.
According to this history, in the 1980′s most homes didn’t have landline phones.
In 1987, the post office, who deployed and maintained them, systematically replaced these red boxes with a more modern design with more glass and open to the air that reduced the likelihood of the box being used as a urinal, or the subsequent pungent smell. Pew! I remember the smell! Some villages protested against the replacement and managed to hold-on to this much loved older design. But sadly, most red boxes were removed.
I guess they are still useful to a few people for actually hosting a landline call, they are also useful for keeping warm, dry and quiet for making a mobile phone call. It’s wonderful that the local council, as many councils in tourist areas, have decided to leave them here and maintain them in such good condition. For the tourists, and people like me who can be heard bubbling
Seattle Sunday and Saturday felt interchangeable. The main percievable difference was that Saturday night heralded a sleep-in while Sunday night heralded the start of the working week. Saturday and Sunday were both filled with open, buzzing, malls, bowling alleys, ski-slopes and roads. Returning to England returned my beautiful Sundays.
English Sundays start well with a warm, naturally slow, awakening. Things just keep getting better from there. Whether sunshine, rain, fog, drizzle… going out in it or staying in, the choice is mine and the doing is free from shopping. Then comes the distant peal of church bells. Sunday gives time to be with beautiful people; to do nothing or something. Perhaps a spot of painting, a walk in the park, pull weeds from the garden, talk, listen.
On colder days a log fire fills the house with the gentle scent of warm woodsmoke, the clicking of the Stove as it warms, the sparking of logs and roaring of flames. Lashings of tea, Sunday lunch followed by lashings more tea.
An evening amble to a pub quiz, real ale, laughter, debates and arguments in the company of friends.
Sunday draws to a close with me all wrapped up in sweet smell of fresh laundry and crisp, silence, of the white cotton sheets. They engulf me as I contentedly fall into deep sleep.
when you live on a small Island, small like Britain, everywhere is near the sea. The furthest place from the sea in Birtian is only 70 mile away. Sea birds, like these guls in Tiverton, can be seen all over the Island. English people on the island grow up with the seaside only a day trip away.
It’s here , its now and it’s not just for the birds. In the US I made my custard from egg yolks, caster sugar, cream, vanilla and cornflour according to Delia Smith. This involved time, skill and concentrtion. In the UK I get instant gratification from birds.
A wealth of green leafy blooming conker trees in the spring showers and sunshine hail the arrival of competitive conker activities where naughty cheater might resort to soaking said conkers in vinegar or hardening them by cooking them in the oven. One-ers, two-ers, and more, champion conkers paraded and gawped-at performing in play grounds, fields and gardens. The sound of conker on conker is as English as leather on willow.
The type of rambling that is darn near to hiking, but not quite. Britain even has a charity organisation dedicated to this passtime, the official rambling assoication. They will be celebrating National walking day on May 30th,
Liberal indulgance in flippancy. Often there is no apparant effort to dress-up, or dress-down, conversations to be anything other than a wee bit of mutual indulgence in minor entertainment. No nonsense nonsense. In my experience flippancy is more common, valued, in England than in the NW US
Mary: Wendy? that’s easy, we don’t have any Wendy’s here.
Wendy: Oh, (signifying surprise that I’ll be the first and only Wendy here) I’ll be your first Wendy!
Gill: everyone is called Gill or Mary… …I don’t know why….
England welcomes all sorts of people, even bus enthusiasts, as long as they behave like responsible citizens by following health and safety instructions and reporting suspicious unattended packages to the appropriate security authorities.
closeness illustrated by analogy to the display system in a local store
Within 6 months of arriving in Reading I’d been invited to a local couple’s wedding, into half a dozen neighbours houses for tea and general niceness, out to numerous local events, heard multiple personal stories of divorces, abortions, new-loves, disputes with the local council, disputes with neighbours, and, of course, the standard commute and job stories. I experience a closeness with people here that is very heartwarming.
Public funded broadbcasting in the public interest rather than in the interest of making profit. With journalists all over the world who assume their audience has some intelligence and ask insightful rather than tabloid questions. I suspect that I have a crush on Jeremy Paxman. They produce high quality drama, comedy productions and Dr. Who. They backed Red Dwarf on BBC2 and Top Gear. They employed Dennis Potter and delivered Blue Peter who provided me with my first and enduring female role model in Valerie Singleton and gave me profound appreciation of the potential of squeezy bottles and sticky-backed-plastic to contribute to orld happiness.
Stephen fry quoted on Wikipedia’s entry about Valerie Singleton:
I have been pondering this business of fame since I was young enough to know Valerie Singleton from the Queen (for Americans and other non-Britons I should explain: one is a remote, god-like, autocratic woman endowed with powerful charismatic charm and the other is a constitutional monarch recently played on screen by Helen Mirren
Why I love England #1. First in an infinite series
Healthy ladies in slightly ridiculous hats & waistecoats made of flapping strands of material oddments jumping around with large sticks and bells tied to their staunchly sensible shoes within the ruins of a 12th century Abby adjacent to a Victorian prison on a rather damp June day. How could you possibly not love this? and it happened in Reading!