Today we flew out of “The Olde Country”, as previous generations of Boat People from the British Isles described it. The poorer classes from Australia pined for the green fields of home but never got back, and were buried in a distant drier land.
The wealthier, more educated members of my generation, especially the arty types, painters, writers, poets etc, disappeared overseas as soon as they could and often only came back to Oz to tell us how backward we are. These days so many of my ex students take a “gap year”, before or after their University degree, and head overseas to soak up some world experience
In 14 days you can’t even expect to get a taste of a country which dominated the world politically, economically, technologically and culturally for 300 years from an Island that is small, cold and wet.
The American writer Bill Bryson lived for 20 years in England before returning to the US. He made an extended solo walking tour and wrote a book “Notes from a Small Island” which was basically a love letter to his adopted home. He summed up his feelings – “Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realised what it was that I loved about Britain-which is to say, all of it.” He was frustrated by the weather, sometimes by the people but nonetheless felt the sum total of living in England was where he wanted to be – and he did come back.
I can definitely understand where he is coming from. Here is a Gallery of images from various parts of England, Wales and Scotland in the past 2 weeks.
Good Government costs. Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector lead a rebellion, executed a King and became a Dictator, all to protect Parliament. He died, they didn’t like his son’s ways so they invited the King’s son back. The Monarchy had learned, the hard way though, to respect the Parliament, a lesson we still benefit from today.
Hyde Park is full of important statuary. This small piece says something about how the English feel about animals.
A busker or two will fill any empty space, even down in the tube stations. In Scotland they usually play the bagpipes,,often badly, and yes there is a difference. In Bath this pair had an appreciative audience.
England has a lush look to Australian eyes. This is the River Avon near Bath. There are lots of Avons because it meant “river” in the Celtic tongue so when the Romans asked the name they were always told “Avon”.
England is where my form of Government and Law came from here in Westminster Palace, the mother of Parliaments. It is not dominated by the clock Big Ben – That’s the name of the Biggest Bell, not the clock or the Tower.
In Britain they do Castles better than anywhere else. This one is Warwick Castle Great Hall as seen from the battlements at the Mound