Everything is Great, and Nobody Says So

Here’s something I don’t understand about England – why isn’t everyone just perpetually amazed at how fantastic everything is?

Actually, I know the answer to that. It’s part of the British character to moan and complain and – as the Olympics seems to have shown – in the end we always knuckle down and manage to have a good time anyway. But seriously people look around you! This place is amazing and you’d never know it to talk to people here.

Phil and I had a pretty quiet day at home today, but late afternoon we decided to go out for a walk. We drove 2 miles down the road to a village called Kirkby Overblow and then just got out to have a wander round. This place is like something from a postcard – little stone cottages, a gorgeous old churchyard, the odd Victorian pile, two quaint pubs and a pretty little village store selling locally sourced meat, fish and cheeses. And yet despite the fact that it was a sunny Saturday afternoon at the height of summer, the only person we saw in 40 minutes was a man walking his dog – oh, and a couple of cars that passed by. If that village was in America, people would flock from miles around. It would cost $20 to park and there’d be no spaces by 10 am.

But back when we first lived here, I wouldn’t have come out for a walk here either. It wouldn’t have occurred to me. I wouldn’t have seen the charm in such a small and in many ways ordinary village. But now I not only see it, I see it in technicolour!

I mean look at this …

Here’s the main street through the village – how cute can you get?

Here are some shots I took in the beautiful churchyard

I had to take a closer shot of the grave in the last picture because the guy died in 1766 – the year the British parliament, struggling to deal with those increasingly troublesome colonists on the other side of the Atlantic ocean, passed The Declaratory Act.

In a nutshell, this act said the British parliament had every right to pass whatever laws it wanted and, basically, the Americans could suck on it. This of course didn’t go down terribly well with the Americans and 10 years later they made it official with their own declaration which basically said ‘We see your declaratory act and raise you a F*** you.’ I wonder if Henry Parkin knew about any of this.

The oldest part of the church was built in the 14th century, but this tower was rebuilt in the late 1700s.

After we left the churchyard, we wandered along a public footpath for a while. Again, how come all British people are not incredibly proud of the public footpath system? It’s amazing. Really. The entire country is criss-crossed with a vast network of public footpaths, often (mostly) crossing private land. Not only does the landowner have to allow people to pass through by law, he also has to maintain the footpath to make sure people can pass easily. Perhaps people here think that’s the way it is in every country, and so don’t realize the value of what they have.

I took this snap from the path as we passed through the gardens of a beautiful house overlooking the valley

I just love the way the light falls on certain parts of the fields while others remain overcast. (And that’s another thing … how come people don’t constantly stop and stare at the sky and the patterns of light on the fields? Are they blind?)

Seriously, I know we only appreciate all this because in many ways we are still tourists in our own country, but I’m just so thankful for that. I had very little appreciation for England when I left and now I am filled with it. What a blessing.

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10 thoughts on “Everything is Great, and Nobody Says So

  1. Beautiful photos, and I love your blog. I have been living in the US for eighteen years and long to move home to England. Although I am a Wiltshire Moonraker, I love the Yorkshire Dales and it’s wonderful to see your photographs and read your blog. Thank you – can’t wait for the next instalment!

    • Hi Zabby, thanks for saying hi! I’ve never been to Wiltshire but we really want to go there along with lost of other places we ignored when we lived here last. Any tips on where we should go?

      • Oh yes Louise, my home patch is the Salisbury area so I would highly recommend the cathedral and of course Stonehenge [avoid the Summer Solstice unless you want to get high on passive smoking of “herbal” cigarettes! 🙂 ] and Avebury. If you are interested in photography then Lacock Abbey is a must-see, being the home of W H Fox Talbot, and the village of Lacock has been used in many a period drama. Castle Coombe is also a beautiful village which I am sure you would appreciate, and probably recognise if you ever saw “Dr Dolittle” (the Rex Harrison version). Stourhead (National Trust property) is a must-see especially in May when all the rhododendrons are in bloom. so many beautiful places I couldn’t list them all, but I hope to revisit them in the not too distant future when my husband retires!

  2. Louise, I know what you mean and it does happen here in the USA, too. I’ve lived in several different parts of the country and people who live near the ‘vacation spots’ or near wonderful monuments never bother to go see them. I had lived in Arizona for 10 years and went to the Grand Canyon twice but when I was talking to people who live within 20 miles or less, a number of them had never seen the Canyon. (???) It seems that unless you move there or purposely go there, you just don’t see it and what surrounds where you live. I can’t figure it out, either. Just human nature, I guess.

    • Hi Chris, good point. Lots of Manhattanites have never been up the Empire State building or rode the Staten Island ferry.

  3. Thank you for such a lovely blog…I have lived in Canada for 8 years and am desperately homesick but unfortunately a move back home is not on the cards due to my husbands work, so I am enjoying reading your experiences and imagining what it would be like for me to live back there now. I truly believe that I would take nothing for granted about the wonderful country and family there having now learned how hard it is to be away. Maybe one day…..but for now, please keep writing..its wonderful to read.

    • Thanks for commenting Karen. It’s so nice to hear from others who appreciate our lovely country. I’m so sorry that you’re stuck over there for now. I hope my blogs help until you get to come home.

  4. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head… there are so many complainers both NA side AND UK side… it’s funny they can’t see the beauty in their own backyards, eh? I love Canada… I think Canada has some of the most beautiful places to visit in the world… but I long to live in the UK – and when I get there, you will be my inspiration! I will drive and walk and visit and wander and explore and enjoy… and be happy. 🙂

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