Carry On & All That

I never expected to become an Anglophile.  And now I’ve got the tee-shirt: 20170708_083743

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!)

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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?

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13 thoughts on “Carry On & All That”

  1. I so enjoyed seeing your canal boat pictures you posted in April. You make it sound all so magical. I keep going back to Ireland in my reading, where I’ve visited three times so far. It isn’t so heartbreaking to close a book as it is to fly away.

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  2. Kimberly, next time when I post I’ll take you on a tour of her–all 30 feet!

    Liz, you definitely should! We started traveling more after the kids left home.

    Thanks, Keenan! I’ve never been to Ireland, except as a refueling stopover. And I agree, it’s heartbreaking to fly away.

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  3. Love your post, Sue!! So fun. My love for reading–and a study abroad program–took me to London, and from there to Platform 9 and 3/4 at King’s Cross Station, the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens, and the Jane Austen museum in Bath 🙂

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  4. Thanks, Kate! I haven’t been to Platform 9 and 3/4, (I so want to go!) but the Canal Boat Museum is nearby, and it’s fascinating.

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  5. I also “discovered” the UK through reading and love it even though have never been there. Of course I had read Agatha Christie, but I expanded my reading and found new favorites with Peter James, Adrian McKinty, Peter May, and Ruth Rendel. Recently I have expanded my list even more by trying books from Ann Cleeves, D. B. Martin, Robert Galbraith, and even an historic novel by Rys Bowen. I will admit that I read those books only as a result of joining a book club, but that was why I joined the book club — to find new authors. Now, I have not replaced my morning coffee with tea, but I do even drink tea every once in a while. Who would have known that reading books could enhance my life — oh wait EVERYBODY knows that. Wait — time for tea or “elevenses.”

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  6. Committed Anglophile here too. Or Anglophile who should be committed! Either way works for me. I fell in love with England as a child. We had four languages in the house, French, German, Italian and English. My parents were determined we would speak them all but decided we would learn English from the other children in the neighborhood. We did. Unfortunately, my accent was hard to shake so I had an elocution teacher provided me in first grade. She was an English war bride. Kentish by birth she kept me enthralled with stories of her home as a child and I fell in love with it. When I started reading mysteries, English cozies were my first (after Dame Agatha, of course). Need I say more.

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  7. 3 no 7, books are the best way to travel! And I always laugh when my son-in-law talks about elevenses.

    Kait, 4 languages? I’m impressed! But then, I was a language teacher.

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  8. Oh, yes! I’d move there if I could. My focus was Elizabethan literature, so it’s near and dear to my heart, of course. I was fortunate to do a summer term at Cambridge University, and it was amazing, fantastic, and wonderful. We traveled all over (I took a history of Englang via architecture course!). Such lovely memories.

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  9. Granddaughter #1 lived in London for over two years after passing the bar. I was envious of her ability to almost casually get to Paris or Madrid of XXXX. It was a wonderful opportunity but she’s very happy to be back in the States.

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