I’ve been in England over a year now, and I thought I would mention some things that are a “Big Deal in Britain!”
- Strawberries. I wasn’t sure how produce was going to be over here. Not being adjacent to Mexico has definitely made for poorer avocados. However, you can get some pretty slammin’ strawberries in this country. If it was grown in Britain, you can have a succulent, tart, sweet explosion in your mouth that will make you come back for more!
- Castles! You can’t beat it. Hiking, driving, or train-ing, there’s nothing quite as cool as rounding a bend or cropping a hill to see a real, live castle. Better still: the castle you can climb!
- Public transport. This is probably already known, but it took me a squad of months to realize that even if Hawkgirl has the car for a day, I can still get around town, around the countryside, around the country. I can bike, I can bus, I can taxi, all from my doorstep, and a bus or train can do the rest. Crazy.
- Red tape. Remember Vogons? Those bureaucratic aliens from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy? Yeah. Written by Douglas Adams (de facto, a Cambridge grad) and inspired by true events. I have no respect for American paperwork, but I thought that an older country would have a more streamline process for doing things (older = more experience = more efficient), right? Wrong. Older = more paperwork, and longer delays between responses. Does it really take 10 weeks from my theory test to my practical drivers test??? Seriously.
- Springtime. England is beautiful. Especially Cambridge. Trees are in flower, flowers are in flower. Every season seems to have their own flowers—and Hawkgirl keeps me up to date on the latest blossoms—but nothing puffs up the countryside with marshmallows of fluff like springtime. Cherry trees go especially crazy in Cambridge, and I’ve been truly impressed. In New England it’s the autumn we’re famous for, and the many colored changing of leaves. Here, its spring—gardens and woods explode like a fireworks display of frothy beauty.
- Orcs. All my Tolkien and Lewisian fantasies came true in one glorious moment in Grantchester meadows on a romantic walk with Hawkgirl the other night—if only for a moment. My every Middle-Earth and Narnian dream was realized when I saw them! This is the land where fantasy was born, and still beats in the hearts of millions (Okay, they were Live Action Role Players in costume, but still…!). Grantchester really ought to get their orc infestation looked at…
It can still make me wonder how they colonized nearly every continent when everybody stops for a cup of tea at the drop of a hat; but when the sun beams over the rising morning mists, or you walk along a windy, coastal cliff, or see a standing monolith from another era, its easy to see why its been called the Isle of the Mighty.