I never expected to become an Anglophile. And now I’ve got the tee-shirt:
So, how did this happen? After all, we Americans are the ones who threw tea into the harbor.
Reading. The love for England creeps up on us. It starts with books and stories. Some of my childhood favorites–like Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Wind in the Willows–showed lovely England as the jumping-off place for extraordinary adventures. Then, as a young adult, I moved on to King Arthur, Sherlock Holmes, and Agatha Christie, which led to lots, lots more. England is our literary culture, and books are delightfully insidious.
Tourists. And then, if we’re lucky, we get to visit. We see the sights that our bookish heroes experienced, scenes that resonate back to those stories that first inflamed our imagination. It’s as if we become children again. On an early trip, Hubby and I visited 221B Baker Street and played at Sherlock (embarrassing the heck out of our then-teenaged daughter!)
But lucky for me, it didn’t stop there. We carried on, privileged to become tuition payers at University College London, which gave us more opportunities for trips (checking up on the daughter, you see).
There have been some memorable moments.
One time in a pub, one of our friends used various pint glasses and utensils from the table as props to try to explain to me the difference between Great Britain and the UK. I’m still not sure I get it, but that’s okay.
Our daughter eventually settled there after school with her new husband, and now the in-laws chuckle about how American our grandchildren sound. To me, they sound so British!
We love going to visit, so it’s no surprise that we took the next step. When the opportunity arose to buy a place of our own–our own little canal boat–we thought about it for approximately ten minutes and then sprang for it.
Extravagant? You bet! But worth every penny–that is, pence. And maybe there will be a book in all this one day.
And to think that it all started with the power of books.
What favorite places has your book reading taken you?