You can’t go home again. Thank you Thomas Wolfe. Trying to recapture what’s gone is elusive at best, but the trying can be fun.
I recently got back from another foray into my past—a trip to England. A saudade fix. If you want to know what that means, check back on a previous post, “Saudade, A Deep Longing”.
We visited my former neighbors from the ‘70s who now live on the south coast of England. My how England has changed. It’s so crowded. One of the things I loved about England when I lived there was the pace of life: slower than in the US. Not anymore, at least in the population centers, which seems to be all of the south of England.
The quaint little villages have changed. Incomers, people not from there, are putting up lovely new stone cottages, filling in the spaces between the existing cottages. Stone rabbit warrens. Some houses are so close to the road that if the occupant opened their front door they might clip off the wing mirror of a car whizzing by, or so it seems.
Traffic is frightful. My husband calls the one-lane country roads “hedgeroads”, because they’re bounded by ancient stone walls covered with vegetation. The way you negotiate the roads with two-lane traffic is that someone has to back up to a passing point or wait in the nearest one for the oncoming traffic to pass. When that works (driving on the left, mind you), it’s fine, but we were turned back on one such road where there was an accident involving a lorry (truck) and a car. The locals drive their familiar roads as if they’re in a grand prix, so we timid non-left drivers hold our breath and drive on. I’ve often said we need a big red “Y” sign on the backs of our rental cars denoting “Yank”.
Yet it’s a challenge. I’ve got the driving out of Heathrow down, but the getting back to the rental car drop-off is another matter. So far I’m 0 for 3. But if we make the same mistake we made this last time, we’ll know exactly where we are.
I continue to resonate to my toes with England and all things English, but we may have to make the next visit to the Scottish Highlands where there are more sheep than people.