This is a special post. I have just come back from my winter break of three weeks. For Christmas, I went down to Spalding, Lincolnshire, to M’s. From there, we visited Cambridge. I took the train back to Edinburgh for Hogmanay (New Year Celebrations). Over the course of less than a week, I went to Tantallon Castle, Cramond beach, LongNiddrie bents, Gullane point, and North Berwick. Then, after a break of one day, I took the train to London. In four days, we covered (and properly, not just for the sake of touching upon) Westminster Abbey, Thames cruise, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, Windsor Castle, St George’s Chapel, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
I have never travelled so much before. The memories I collected will comfortably last me the whole of next sem, which starts on 14th. I was reading Bill Bryson’s travelogue throughout, on trains, on the tube, and in cars. It was delightful! The Times says on the cover of the book ‘Not a book that should be read in public, for fear of emitting loud snorts’. And that, is completely true. I’m not a huge fan of humour. Give me a travelogue by Dickens and I’m pleased as punch. But Bryson’s humour is brilliant! Marvellous, I say. I love his take on things that are British, especially the ones I can relate to so well!
The only bit that annoyed me a little was the bit about disliking Edinburgh on a wet morning. I’m fiercely defensive of this pretty thing that I have made my home! I love it to bits and don’t see how anyone can find it not pretty in any weather whatsoever. Anyway, if you have lived in the UK, live here, want to visit/study here, or just like travelogues… read this book. In fact, buy it, it is worth the money and is a work that you can come back to later 🙂
Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realized what it was that I loved about Britain – which is to say, all of it. Every last bit of it, good and bad – Marmite, village fetes, country lanes, people saying ‘mustn’t grumble’ and ‘I’m terribly sorry but’, people apologizing to me when I conk them with a careless elbow, milk in bottles, beans on toast, haymaking in June, stinging nettles, seaside piers, Ordnance Survey maps, crumpets, hot-water bottles as a necessity, drizzly Sundays – every bit of it.
What a wondrous place this was – crazy as fuck, of course, but adorable to the tiniest degree. What other country, after all, could possibly have come up with place names like Tooting Bee and Farleigh Wallop, or a game like cricket that goes on for three days and never seems to start? Who else would think it not the least odd to make their judges wear little mops on their heads, compel the Lord Chancellor to sit on something called the Woolsack, or take pride in a naval hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named Hardy? (‘Please, Hardy, full on the lips, with just a bit of tongue.’) What other nation in the world could possibly have given us William Shakespeare, pork pies, Christopher Wren, Windsor Great Park, the Open University, Gardeners’ Question Time and the chocolate digestive biscuit? None, of course.”
“The fact is that this is still the best place in the world for most things – to post a letter, go for a walk, watch television, buy a book, venture out for a drink, go to a museum, use the bank, get lost, seek help, or stand on a hillside and take in a view.
All of this came to me in the space of a lingering moment. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I like it here. I like it more than I can tell you. And then I turned from the gate and got in the car and knew without doubt that I would be back.”