I have serious wanderlust at the moment so I started thinking back to the last overseas trip I did; a visit to England in April 2014 to see my grandpa. The UK is like a second home for me; I have family there so we’ve been going up every three to four years or so since I was born. I really love it, especially out in the countryside when the sun doesn’t set till late and you can follow hedgerow-lined pathways until 11 at night. My family is in Reading, so we spent a number of afternoons whimsically wandering along the Thames, feeding ducks and swans, and stopping at various pubs for hearty lunches and a pint.
Most of our trip was spent exploring Yorkshire with my grandpa – I can’t remember the names of all the quaint little towns we visited but suffice to say I was in heaven surrounded by cobblestone streets, beautiful archaic houses, vast fields and plenty of grand Downton Abbey-esque estates to dream about Mr Darcy in.
Both my parents adore the outdoors – my great grandmother used to cross pollinate exotic flowers and my mum’s inherited the green fingers gene (sadly I didn’t). We popped into Harlow Carr for the afternoon and meandered through the gardens, admiring trumpet flowers in the greenhouse and skipping through the blooming rhododendron trees. My dad and I love flower photography so we snapped quite a few pics along our way.
Another highlight was exploring the ruins of Fountains Abbey, one of England’s largest and best preserved Cistercian Monasteries. The ruins themselves are spectacularly melancholy with intricate arches and crumbling details, while the walk along the river is perfect for sinking toes into buttercups, while watching ducklings scurrying after their inexhaustible mama.
We visited a number of other lovely spots, but I mostly remember a feeling of great serenity as I spent my days unhurried; reading books, walking through the countryside, sampling the wares of various village sweet shops (like those I picture in Roald Dahl’s Boyhood) and stopping at numerous charmingly old-fashioned pubs for supper. Much to my family’s immense disappointment, it’s very hard to find Yorkshire puddings in Yorkshire pubs! We also spent a day in Durham, exploring my dad’s old haunts from back in the days when he was a lad at uni. It was strange but very special to picture my dad rushing between lectures and getting up to drunken buffoonery with his mates. I think he found it quite a surreal experience as well.
I think the moral of this post is that I should somehow become a very rich and grand lady, transport back in time to Downton Abbey days and become a mistress of the manor; lording over my lands, dancing with Darcy at country balls and owning a pet piglet called Gorthorpe. There’s a good life goal.