Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010, Coming Home

icture a similar scene but in the 1850's.  Imagine settlers six months into their bumpy, uncomfortable, Conestoga odyssey, but knowing the mountains are only days ahead.  Suddenly Grandma's sideboard doesn't feel all that precious...in fact, it feels like an unnecessary monkey on your back! 
Who needs it?!?  Who wants it?!?  We can always buy another one!  Let's dump it!

This morning as I was packing up to catch the train back to Manchester, I felt like those pioneers in the Conestoga wagons on the Oregon Trail. Remember how the trail was littered with family heirlooms and once treasured possessions. I literally weighed and evaluated each item I put back in my tiny rolly bag. Do I really need to wash my hair AGAIN before I get on the plane? Why did I bring that Sham-Wow? Yea! I used up all the astringent. I can throw that away. Why did I think I had to have those gargoyles from Canterbury Cathedral?!?  I guess some things about travel never change.  We may have different modes of transportation, but what we think we need to take is still a monkey on our backs.  There's a life lesson in there somewhere!

The land gets hilly as you approach

The train ride to Manchester was gorgeous!  It was overcast and cool today.  I think England looks loveliest when it's a little grey.  We passed a field of early heather.  I wanted to yell, "Stop! I have to get a picture!!!"  But, better judgment took over.  Instead I satisfied myself by watching the lambs frolicking in the fields.  The cows lay down in the fields quite often, here.  We passed several herds placidly lounging around having a mid-day chat.  Maybe it's too hot for the American cows to lay down.  Who knows?

Manchester is an old working class town with deep industrial roots.  But to most people it is probably known best for being the home of Manchester United.  They say that JK Rowley based her rabid quiddich fans on the Manchester United fans who are more than a little devoted!  The quiddich stadium is a cross between the O2 stadium in London and the Manchester U stadium.  But I think it looks a lot like the new Cowboys Stadium.  

Manchester United's Stadium
Lately, Manchester has been going through something of a Renaissance.  It has become the young, hip town with lots of new, modern architecture. But frankly, that type of stuff doesn't interest me much.   It's a dime a dozen at home. I don't need to fly over an ocean to see new!  Plus, I'm knackered!  There is nothing dignified or glamorous about public transportation! We are just so much cattle.  Move 'em out!  Move 'em on!

Sheep scattered around the fields like spilled popcorn.
I will miss England, terribly! Just being in the land and smelling the clean breeze and smelling the flowers feels like coming home. I've always been interested in how the setting influences literary characters and real people. But although I feel the ancestral calling of this lovely place, it doesn't have my family and my friends. It doesn't have my more recent roots. I'm ready for some Texas heat. I'm ready for some Mexican food. I'm ready to know how to shop in the grocery store and how to turn the lights on!  I'm ready to come home.  Maybe part of the pleasure of traveling is coming home.


The Greyfriar is the village pub just down the street from Jane Austen's house.
The "Pen and Parchment."  What an appropriate name for a pub in the bard's home town.
The Marquis of Granby - a London pub.
The Bear and Staff was close to my B&B.

I loved noticing all the flower covered pubs! 

What a great name for a pub!

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