Oh to be in England


I MISS England.

My friends in Spain look at me incredulously when I say that, but there it is.

As much as I enjoy our life here with the glorious weather, spectacular coastline and endless choice of good, reasonably priced eating establishments, I still hanker for the Mother country.

There are not many subjects that the Princess and I disagree on, but the question of which domicile occupies the principal place in our hearts is one of them.

We have therefore agreed to a small compromise because I now take a couple of weeks each year to visit the UK, staying with old friends, re-visiting places that hold pleasant memories for me, and often, just getting behind the wheel and seeing where the next country lane takes me.

Not surprisingly, this frequently leads me to ancient buildings where painted signs swing in the breeze, and just so happen to be licenced to sell intoxicating beverages.

I marvel at the local dialects I hear on my journeys. In such a small country and with a highly mobile work force, it is staggering that regional accents still flourish and a pride in the town or county of origin remains important to many people.

I once overheard a conversation in the Cornish village of Polperro where two old boys were discussing a trip into England no less.

One told the other that he had recently visited “Egzeder” which prompted the question: “Lykun didee?”

Every two years a group of us who lived and worked on the beautiful islands of Bermuda during the 70’s, gather for a reunion.

All British by birth, we now live in various locations across the globe and we meet in such places as California, Vancouver, Spain and this year in Blighty where most still have family and friends.

The venue is Stow-on-the-Wold in the delightful Cotswolds – the epitome of Englishness, albeit somewhat blighted by the presence of rich and infamous celebrities.

It would be my first choice of home were it not for the neighbours. With characters such as Jeremy Clarkson and Damien Hurst on your doorstep, the likelihood of having your lawn ploughed up by an out of control Ferrari or finding a herd of cows preserved in formaldehyde in a nearby field, would be just too much.

But I shall be content with my brief visit and return to Spain reinvigorated by my English ‘fix’.

Until next year at least.

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