I didn’t mean to go offline for several days, but it is summer and summer is for those spontaneous summery things. Now with sixth form behind me, and the gulf of weeks before September (or for that matter August 16th) we felt we could afford a bit of frivolous carefree wander-lust.
Our wandering started on a drippy train platform bound first for London, that great city that is just a stone’s throw away, yet which is so far as to be almost unreachable if you’re my age. From London, after a day lazying about from shop to shop and from Starbucks to Starbucks, we headed north to inspect the new domiciles of my mother.
I can never get over the price of train fare in this country, and the lack of service and standards, and even creature comforts, but the train ride was uneventful until we reached Coventry. 😀 There my mother met us, and we drove the last bit out into the depths of Warwickshire and to the house that my mother has rented.
Here in this area where both Shakespeare and Rugby was born, my mother lives. Since everything is so cramped in this country, you have Oxford to the south, Birmingham to the North-west and Coventry to the North. Rugby is to the North-East, and Stratford-upon-Avon is to the south. It almost feels like if you take a step in any direction, you step into some urban conurbation that you’ve heard lots about. Hell, had I not chosen Cambridge for my grand fail, I may have ended up in this area myself. Wouldn’t that have been ironic? Living on my own for two years, and then as I go off to university I have to move in with my mother…
Of course, to the average Englishman, 30-40 km is a vast gulf of space. Even so, that is the distance from my mum’s house to Oxford. And it is less than 20 km to Coventry, Rugby, and Stratford-upon-Avon. For a people where the folks at one end of a street have a distinct dialect from the people at the other end, the vast distances are small to anyone else.
But when you come out of the car, and you look out across the fields and the roads and the trees, and you feel like you’ve stepped into a BBC period drama or Emmerdale Farm, while knowing that you’re just a hop and a skip from the big city, it is as always a bit of a disconnect. It doesn’t really matter if it’s my own home town that is right next to the bustling giant metropolis, or the serene cottage life of my mother in her Midsomer idyll.