“Oh, to be in England
Now that April’s there,” Robert Browning wrote in his poem ‘Home Thoughts from Abroad’. We took this in school when I was a girl in England and I remember how delightful it was when our English teacher talked to us about it and told us about folk in the 1800’s travelling around Europe, often on their ‘Grand Tour’.
Well, I can’t travel to England to visit my relatives and wander the hills and lanes looking at the new lambs so I’ll stay here and watch ‘Escape to the Country’ which is on CBC TV at 3pm each day on my TV. I’ve set the Tivo to record any episode and we spend an hour wandering through the English countryside and touring houses we could never afford or would never even think of purchasing (I like having neighbours!).
The one we watched the other night had a middle-aged couple who had been together 18 months and wanted a house with no neighbours…not even to be overlooked by a house that in one case was a couple of miles away in a valley (you’d need binoculars to ‘overlook’) I wonder if the couple were secretly naturalists!
Coming out of my other half I keep hearing ‘Why are there so many barn conversions in England?’ I have explained bricks and 200 year old stone used in the UK compared to the barn board (of course) used here where the harsher weather conditions leave many barely standing!
I also think about tearing out of the house we lived in before we emigrated, and getting lost in the nearby woods and, after climbing the big oak, bringing home huge bunches of bluebells for Mum. I remember I couldn’t make a dent in bluebell woods even I you picked all day!
I’ve never lived in an old English cottage but our home in England was part of an estate, with a manor house, a gardener’s house and a coach house and stables. This was totally done over to form two semi detached homes…ours had four bedrooms. However…I’d love to stay in a cottage…in a village…close to a pub.
Thank you for a quick tour of your childhood in England. Ron