Saturday, November 15, 2008

[britain] easy on my mind

Fabulous autumn day in the woods today and in the words of John Buchan's Richard Hannay:

"I could not contrive to feel careworn."

The colours, from light green through the browns to orange and the canopy of branches were soft on the eyes and the smell of the forest was something else. Everyone walking past was acknowledging everyone else with a nod and the nastiness of the past week just dropped away. Squirrels hopped about and ate nuts between their paws and birds called.

I'm going to run posts on the best of Canada, the U.S., Australia and Russia at some point but today is "the best of Britain". Britain has a few things going for it, despite the recession, despite the ASBOs, despite this government and their USSR mentality, despite lots of things.

Here are some:

1. There is a sense of history. Even woods have a history to them, an ancient name and you can imagine hunters in there 700 years ago, the deer and so on. The castles and historic buildings, the mews and the like go without saying.

2. There are such restrictive planning laws over here and yet that cuts both ways. Local councils preserve the look of an area and for people already living there, there is a strong element of conservation in place. Building tends to be upwards rather than of the sprawling ribbon variety and whilst that creates a boxed-in, huddled together village effect, it allows much woodland and field to remain intact, along with wildlife.

3. The colours are so rich and vibrant. Australia has its dusky hues, very nice too, Sicily has its light, rocky, sandstone feel but here it is closer to primary colours.

4. There is a climate of eccentricity here which spills into, say, the motoring field. I know people in the States who do up old Buick 56s and so on but there is a different feel this side of the pond. Here there's a ready acceptance of Healey replicas, frog-eyed Sprites, Cobras and Caterhams and train spotting is a recognized pasttime. It allows someone to breathe, this atmosphere.

5. Climate - there are four seasons, sometimes in one day and today's cool dampness, with a bit of a breeze, was quite soothing. Nothing gets too extreme.

As I said, I'll extol the virtues of the other countries in subsequent posts but today I'm just looking at Britain. I couldn't imagine anything lovelier than to have a little place near the woods, themselves near water somewhere, working online from home and doing a bit of dinghy sailing and rambling in my spare time.

If only. Maybe it will be possible one day.


  1. I like your comment about climate. It made me smile and reminded me of the phrase Britain doesn't have seasons it just has weather.

    You would have loved my garden earlier today. There is a beautiful Oak tree at the back of it and the wind was blowing the leaves off the tree. It was just like golden snow.

  2. When I think of Britain, what it was in my youth, and what it will be in ten years, I am prompted to give this message to the absolute liars in government, in particular to the greatest liar, ever, the one currently strutting the world stage like a hollow mouthpiece for an imbecile.


    "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
    John F. Kennedy, In a speech at the White House, 1962
    35th president of US 1961-1963 (1917 - 1963)

  3. The topography of Britain is second to none.
    I wish I could pottle the smell of the damp, earthy air.

  4. It was a lovely day today with mainly good news and just a little bad news. Tomorrow should be great too, we hope.

  5. I spent a happy hour sweeping leaves; it was warm enough to have me pouring sweat. I take simple pleasure in the thought that all those lovely yellow and orange leaves (not many red this year) are going to provide leafmould for the kitchen garden.

  6. Excellent photograph(s) of all the colours of Autumn to accompany a relaxing and enjoyable post to read!

  7. It's not Autumn without the maple leaf.

    Autumn is my favourite season.

    Not that anyone would care. :)

  8. Dearieme, do you put them through a mulcher or straight to the compost bin?

    Charon, my pleasure.

    Uber, I love autumn second only to winter, then spring and then summer. Your 2nd, 3rd and 4th in order? Yes, Canada is beautiful at that time.

  9. To the Lord Highamighty:

    Yer Grace, I compost leaves in a separate heap or bin because they take longer to break down than kitchen scraps and plant refuse.

    Yer obedient sarvant

    Dr E A I E Mie