Home finally, and promise to start blogging again:
I just love England. I love that every mile there's some tiny village, and then there's another village with a similar name a mile later. (Over Wallop, Middle Wallop, and Nether Wallop... I have to say, Wiltshire is like a PG Wodehouse novel come to life). I love the incredible beauty of the landscape-- and I'm in the South, which has been settled for about 2000 years. It's a reminder that the human race doesn't have to be pestilential, that it can actually create beauty too-- I'm in love with hedgerows, which are so much prettier than the barbed wire we use in the US. It's all still farmland, which I'm pretty used to seeing, since I'm in the Midwest :), but it looks so angelic, really, so tidy and pleasant with those hedgerows.
And I love how suddenly history just rears up, like I was just tooling along on a highway and suddenly there was Stonehenge. Really. It's right off the highway. And from miles away, you can see the tower at the top of Glastonbury Tor, or the towers of cathedrals. And half the "sizeable" (meaning 500 residents in the heyday) villages have amazing churches. Such villages... I don't have a clue where the residents work, but they live in picture-perfect places. (And I'm sure those 4 century old houses are a pain in the neck to keep up, but that doesn't keep the price down... :) And the pubs can be so lovely, all that half-timbering and crooked plank floors. And the food is good, really-- I got to love all the pies and pasties. (But I should have been warned that "pork pie" is COLD and inedible by anyone not born in Great Britain.)
And I love all the old people-- the gentlemen and ladies who dress in sensible shoes but also suits and hats to walk down to the village, who volunteer at all the National Trust sites, who call anyone younger than they are "ducks". I want to grow old in England. It looks like so much more fun. I think I have to buy some wool suits though.
And the gardens! Even in October. You know, the garden stores get a bigger turnout than Walmart.
More evidence that there will always be an England:
I heard an old man give directions to his house for a computer tech:
"There's no number. It's Orchard House. But everyone in the village knows it as the old Carney house. It's about 500 years old, though some say it's only 400 years old. A big stone house, south of the village."
The young man techie said, "What is the nearest pub?"
"Well, it's equidistant between the Old Crown and the Hanged Man. Stop at either and ask-- they both know me well."
And everyone has such lovely accents-- such a variety, even in one town. I'm sure they don't realize they sound exotic. :)
P.S. The Wallops have their own website. Isn't that adorable?