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.