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Tuesday
Sep072010

Ten Reasons I'd Move to England in a Heartbeat

I’ve been away from this poor blog for months, now.  In May, life got crazy, and then the crazy never really let up.  Perhaps it will now that school has started. 

But I had to drop in and tell you all about our amazing trip to England.  We were there from August 9th through the 25th, and it was every bit as terrific an adventure as last year’s vacation in France.  As soon as Patrick gets all the photos uploaded, I’ll give you the detailed travelogue, but until then, I’m posting a few lists of tidbits to tide you over.  Here’s today’s:

10 Reasons I’d Move to England in a Heartbeat

10) Shake the Midnight Drifting

Ahh, Persephone Books!  Located in swanky Bloomsbury near the British Museum, Persephone publishes forgotten novels that deserve a second life, mostly by early 20th-century women.  I’ve ordered from them online, but visiting the tiny but lovely shop, filled with their gorgeous dove-gray volumes, is a treat I’d love to enjoy more often.

9) Food, Glorious Food

Mmm, Marks & Spencer’s Extremely Chocolatey Caramels! Smooth chocolate lavishly coats each delectable knob of the creamiest toffee.  To be savored slowly; one or two will do nicely.

8) Morning Glory

Sainsbury’s 4% Thick & Creamy Yogurts  The flavors: Strawberry; Peach & Nectarine; Pineapple; Raspberry; Rhubarb; Plum; Pear; and Apple & Blackberry.  Scrumptious, every single one.  Can I just say that we ate a lot of terrific food?  It’s a myth, that cliché about bad British food.

7) Flower Power

Whether it’s the hanging pots of exuberant petunias at every corner pub, the purple buddleia that spring up wildly along every train track, or the voluptuously scented roses at Hampton Court Palace—flowers in England delight at every turn.  David Austin, how I love thee.

6) Riding the Rails

We decided not to rent a car this trip and instead relied on Britain’s excellent railway system.  What a revelation: we sat together, relaxed and able to move about, with ready access to snacks and loos.  The gorgeous English countryside whizzed by.  Anne could amble and change laps to her heart’s content.

The trains were quiet, fast, and comfortable, even in Standard Class (Daniel was jonesing to take a trip in First, but it was not to be).  We got to Liverpool in two hours, when the drive would have taken almost four.  Why don’t we do this in America?

 

5) Cleave the Rock

Waterstone’s: now this is a bookstore, and fabulous despite being a large chain bookstore, at that.  Is it just me?  Because Barnes & Noble inevitably disappoints me.  It boggles my mind that they could boast that many books on the shelves, yet not have what I really want on hand. 

Waterstone’s is different: knowledgeable staff, well-chosen inventory, and great special offers make this a place in which I could happily linger (and spend) for hours.

4) Bug Free

At our gorgeous house in Twickenham (thank you, HomeLink), we had the windows open every day to catch the lovely breezes that blew constantly.  We saw nary a fly nor a mosquito in two and a half weeks despite a complete absence of window screening.  Never has a lack been so delightful.

 

3) Back in Plaque

I love walking down the street and seeing the blue plaques that mark where notable people have lived and worked.  You might pass the spot where Mozart composed his first symphony or where Charles Wesley experienced his spiritual awakening.  The carefully memorialized history on the elegant cobalt badges makes me shiver every time.

2) There is Beauty All Around

I can’t get enough of the Dutch masters and the Hans Holbeins at the National Gallery, and the Pre-Raphaelites at the Tate make me cry every time.  Moment’s-notice proximity to my favorite art would be heaven on earth.  Speaking of proximity to beauty, our pilgrimage to Down Ampney, birthplace of my favorite composer in all the world (Ralph Vaughan Williams), was a highlight of our trip.

1) Roots

Patrick and I both have loads of English ancestry.  We got tastes of our personal heritage here and there this vacation, but how I covet the luxury of leisurely jaunts to places like Hillmorton and Maidstone and Kilmersdon in order to see where our forbears lived and died.  I feel it every time I’m in England, that sense of deeply personal history.  I’d love to mine it to its fullest.

I’ve been to England six times now, which I realize qualifies me as inordinately spoiled.  And I love where we live now. 

Yet I’d go back tomorrow, to stay, indefinitely.

Reader Comments (16)

I'm just grinning and glowing as I read this, feeling the warmth and the happy that suffuses your words. So glad for you that you were able to have the experiences you had there (I know this post must barely scratch the surface). What I wouldn't give not only to visit there myself, but to do so in your sweet company!

September 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly

I'm sorry but I had to laugh out loud at your point on the food. It's true that the British food really isn't bad at all, yet it does sound funny to put it in your list as a reason to move .

On some things I wonder to which degree they are differrent from France: food, flowers, trains, ...I think they are more general than UK only.

And about the bugs: I've been mosquito bite free as well for most of our summer (especially from late July on)....our weather truly sucked and that was one of the advantages

September 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGoofball

Love the post! I already wanted to visit England, but now even more so. I would seriously consider moving there too if I had the opportunity. Glad to get another post from you, keep 'em coming!

September 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThomas Gage

And now I desperately want to visit. I must discuss this with Faramir. When can we go!?!

Loved this post!

September 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEowyn

Oh, how I've missed thee! And how desperately I want to go to England now. It hurts . . . :)

September 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnnette

Welcome back! Are you related (by marriage) to the Perkin who founded science-based industry?

Looking forward to the travelogue...

September 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLee Ann

I am so sick with jealousy, my stomach hurts! I have a print depicting Hampton Court (which my mother bought on a trip to England in 1972) hanging in my home and most of my rose bushes are David Austin (who else IS there, really?). I have eaten some good food in England, but not enough. I think you should have been my guide in that, rather than my parents. The Cadbury puddings were delish and I loved every bite of my meal at the 1000 plus year old inn at Salt (in Staffordshire) with my bottled water (still, not fizzy) but I think that had more to do with the fact that Charles the Second once ate there. sigh . . .

September 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi Ashworth

Oh, the National Gallery! Oh, Trafalgar Square! Oh, the chocolates and the open air and the green, green, green!

Sounds like your trip was divine. I never considered doing England by rail, but will most def consider on my next trip there.

I went to England last fall (Oct 09) with my parents and brother. It was my 2nd trip, the 1st one was summer ummmm, 1992, I think it was, while I was a college student. We took a 2 week guided bus tour, which had it's plusses and minuses, but mostly plusses.

We toured Scotland and Wales, too. I cried at nearly every stop, stable, cow, clump of stone that resembled a castle. That beautiful. We are now considering a trip back, but this time to include Ireland. Maybe next year...

September 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTerresa Wellborn

PS: Post more picts for us, please??? (whine/beg/plead!)

PPS: How's the writing coming along? Mine is mired, but at least I'm eeking out poems regularly (however crappy they are) and most recently, a short story. Yipes!

September 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTerresa Wellborn

Well, I've never been to England, but I've always thought it a place I'd want to live. Your list only makes me long for it all the more! I loved the pics P posted on FB each day. I lived vicariously through you!

SO glad you're blogging again!

September 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenna Consolo

What? No Gilbert? No Sullivan? Although, yes, RVW is actually the best. Did you get to hear any of his music? Any other concerts?

I think England would have delights year-round. I'd like to travel there in the Fall. Some year I want to explore the Peak district better, and discover the Lake district.

How far north did you get?

So, what was the worst food you had?

September 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJefferson

Did you have any trouble communicating, what with them speaking a different language and all?

September 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbc

Oh, agreed! I could easily live there, permanently. (And I'm right there with you in the spoiled ranks!) The sense of place, the sens of wonder, the brush with royalty, the local history, the family history, the music, the art, the gardens, the tea, the toffee...I love it all! Please take me with you next time!

September 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercharrette

Back in Plaque - ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!! Oh, I've missed you!!!

This post almost made me cry - I miss England so! And yes, I agree with all these reasons - every single one. And Curry Houses!

September 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Back in Plaque is BRILLIANT! Hahahahaha. I loved all your "reason" titles. You kill me.

If you move to England, can I come too? I had the startling realization the other day that I've never actually been to England as an adult. I was 17 the last time I was there. That was (GACK!) fifteen years ago.

Time to go back. I'd move there, especially if you moved there. Ooooh, let's both move there. Deal?

September 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrillig

Lovely. All of it. How I would love to travel with you and the all. :)

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngie G.

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