Saturday, 9 August 2014

Living in the South

Arundel, Hampton Court, Bodiam, scented summer

Yorkshire Independence?

My last blog began ruminations about Northern and Southern stereotypes. Could you ever begin to feel like a Southerner if you were born in Yorkshire? Could Yorkshire ever become an independent region of The British Isles? Luckily, I didn’t receive death threats by writing about Scottish Independence as JK Rowling did a few weeks ago, but that’s probably because I am ambivalent. I think my position is the same as the recent celebrity letter published in the newspapers stating that, apropos an Independent Scotland, my brain says YES but my heart says NO. I am too fond of visiting the Scottish Hebrides, Highlands and other tourist destinations north of Hadrian’s Wall.
Yorkshire Dales and Skye in Scotland


My current feeling is that, although a Yorkshireman by birth, I do recognise that home is where the heart is and that your heart is usually wherever your loved ones are. For example, Badby, a small village in Northamptonshire is very close to my heart and that’s because some truly excellent friends live there. A family joke (when the girls were very young, you understand) was to call out as we approached the village on the winding road from the M1 – “I hope there are no bad bees in Badbeeee.” (A family joke that only works if you’ve been in the car on a hot summer’s day, got the giggling fits the first time because you finally understood puns, infected everyone else with your giggling, and repeated the joke a hundred times on subsequent visits…. Even when everyone in the car is too old to know better…..)
England, blue sky, Viva's Restaurant in Dorking, Hampton Court, Mayfield Lavender, Polesden Lacey, Denbie's Wine Estate

Gadding About The South

Like family jokes, places take on significances unique to each individual. So now, in the south, I’ve come to appreciate a number of places that have found deeply-lodged crevices in my conscience. Highlights in my Southern Exile include: eating fish n chips overlooking the boats at Bexhill-on-Sea, meandering round the house, gardens and woods of Polesden Lacey, visiting Arundel, Banqueting Hall, Battle, Bodiam, Brockham Festival, Chawton, Clandon Park, Claremont Gardens, Denbies Wine Estate, Hampton Court, Hatchlands Park, Hever, Hughenden Manor, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace, Leith Hill, Mayfield Lavender Fields, Monks House, Nonsuch, Nyman’s, Painshill Park, Pevensey, Ranmore Common, Runnymede, Scotney, Sissinghurst, Wandsworth Common….
Bexhill-on-sea, that blue sky again, Bodiam Castle, Polesden Lacey, Tony and Sally, Arundel Castle, Seven Sisters, outdoor stage at Polesden Lacey for a production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream

National Trust and English Heritage

The miles and miles of greenery that I’m discovering in and around London is not as rugged and (sometimes) bleak as the northern hills and dales, but it envelops you in scented summer and can put you at peace. Of course being a member of National Trust and English Heritage gives plenty of scope for visiting places that contain landscapes, buildings and stories that are worthy of attention.

Salute the South

So for now, I salute the South but still dream about the North.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I / I took the one less travelled by....