In praise of England's Green and Pleasant Land...

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TheGreenGoblin
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In praise of England's Green and Pleasant Land...

#1 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Thu May 21, 2020 1:00 pm

And Scotland's, Wale's and Ireland's equally pleasant places as well...

"I have of late, wherefore I know not, lost all of my mirth. And indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame here seems to me a sterile promontory"

And so the immortal bard's words have been true of me, recently, until this morning, when standing standing, second (and last) in the, thankfully short, queue of two at the bank, the lady, who looked to me to be somewhere in her 60's and unknown to me, standing in front of me, suddenly and unexpectedly said to me.

"Why don't you smile, young man? Listen you can hear the birds and the sun is shining!"

And so I stopped and listened and she was right because, despite the fact that we were standing on the Epping High Street, the traffic noise had been stilled and I could hear the feathered chorus.

Mildly flattered by her "young man" and realising that I must have been glaring at nobody in particular, I had a 30 minute conversation, as we waited for the bank to open, with this utterly charming, decent, English lady, whose youthful looks belied her 78 years!

She took me on a mental tour of the high street as it had been in her childhood in the early 50's and suddenly I looked upon the scene around me in a different way and could almost hear the old farmer's market and clip clop of the cattle on the cobbles and was delighted to hear that she had once, in her youth, known and fancied my close neighbour in my little town, who will, no doubt be delighted to hear himself, now in his 80's described "as one of the most handsome men!"

When we both, perforce, went our own ways, I suddenly felt enormously better than I have for days and could see that the sun was shining and that suddenly, once again, perceived that England is a green and pleasant land and that good does abide, even in older ladies standing patiently in the queue at the bank.

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Re: In praise of England's Green and Pleasant Land...

#2 Post by Alisoncc » Thu May 21, 2020 1:55 pm

My memories are very much of a green and pleasant land. With increasing years my thoughts are constantly assailed by a desire to return to those days. Note: return to those days, not necessarily what has replaced them nowadays. I returned to the UK in 1994 and 1999, intending to stay permanently. But I found so much reprehensible that I was driven to return to Oz.

Last visit I remember a visit to Dove Dale with friends. When I used to visit there over sixty years ago, it always seemed deserted. This last visit there were more people than Sydney Town Hall Station during the rush hour. As for walking in the centre of Nottingham, I found it incredibly scruffy. The amount of rubbish everywhere was unbelievable. There are tips in Oz that have less garbage strewn about.

Tryng to reconcile my childhood memories and attached desire to return with the current reality causes me grest sadness.

Alison
Rev Mother Bene Gesserit.

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Re: In praise of England's Green and Pleasant Land...

#3 Post by Pontius Navigator » Thu May 21, 2020 2:18 pm

Alison, it really does vary. Grantham is hardly the most bucolic market town with any coherent development plan well hidden. That said, apart from the traffic and ribbon nature of the supermarkets and other warehouse stores it not unpleasant.

We visited a much more popular market town in rural Rutland. Oakham was awful. Near impossible to park, dog *sh*t* trampled in to the pavements interspersed with chewing gum.

Grantham is at last getting an east-west link so that the HGVs will no longer have to descend the hill from Spitalgate. It will be some time yet. They are doing the connection with the A1 first but the connection easy towards the High Dyke will be a challenge that they have yet to begin.

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Re: In praise of England's Green and Pleasant Land...

#4 Post by 1DC » Thu May 21, 2020 2:21 pm

I had to visit Louth,Lincolnshire, this afternoon and decided to return home via the countryside. It was a lovely day but the growth and greenery was beautiful, everything seemed to have grown higher and denser for this time of the year. All very beautiful until you look in the fields, after the very wet winter the growth there is pitiful and the harvest will be pretty grim this year.

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Re: In praise of England's Green and Pleasant Land...

#5 Post by Pontius Navigator » Thu May 21, 2020 3:51 pm

1DC, surprisingly we have green fields and good crops. We also have two fields of limestone chippings and wild flowers/weeds, depending on you point of view.

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Re: In praise of England's Green and Pleasant Land...

#6 Post by Capetonian » Thu May 21, 2020 4:04 pm

There are places which always put me in a good mood and where one easily strikes up conversations with strangers, places for which I have a great fondness. One such is Chester. I was walking round the Roman Wall one fine cold spring morning, in a narrow part, when an elderly woman approaching from the other direction stopped, blocking my passage. Normally on that wall when people pass each other, there's just a nod or a 'good morning/afternoon' type of greeting. I could have rudely pushed past her, but I said 'good morning' to which she replied : "You're in a hurry. Slow down and enjoy the day and the views"

I wasn't, I was out for a leisurely stroll attempting to digest a (very) full English breakfast. Anyway I laughed and we stood and chatted for a good 10 minutes, a very pleasant and uplifting chat, and went our separate ways. Later that day I was reconnoitring for somewhere to have a tea and some cake, and who should I see sitting at a table at the very place that had caught my eye. She turned out to be a retired judge, most interesting lady, and we met a couple more times during my stay.

I also met a full-on nutter who accosted me in another coffee-shop, but she had a mad haunted look in her eyes and and as soon as she said : "Do you mind if I join you?" I realised I had to make a hasty retreat to an imaginary appointment. She trailed me halfway across town until I had the presence of mind to go into the Grosvenor, which is rather exclusive and has a doorman. She tried to follow me in and he asked if she was with me. I said 'no' and he sent her on her way - she was clearly well known.

The big cities of the UK are miserable and threatening places, but there are some enchanting smaller towns and villages.
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Re: In praise of England's Green and Pleasant Land...

#7 Post by barkingmad » Thu May 21, 2020 4:13 pm

I don’t want to live anywhere else, even though the litter and fly-tipping makes me ashamed of being a biped.
In the bright pollution-free sunlight it’s certainly looking lush and green at present and my bike rides are all the more enjoyable despite the knackering hills.
At the back of what’s left of my mind I can’t help thinking about the topic of these 2 books and how we’ve lost any degree of ownership over the ‘Green & Pleasant Land’.

https://www.abebooks.co.uk/978086241912 ... 419123/plp

https://www.waterstones.com/book/who-ow ... 0008321673

And when the words “Cayman Islands” were mentioned in connection with UK Care Homes ownership, in a recent MSM item on the Covid-19 casualty rates, it was then that my thoughts also drifted to the sound of the blade, roller bearings making that satisfying clatter just before the soft ‘thunk’ of another parasitic corporate head dropping into the basket.
But don’t let that image spoil the summer, it’ll be a while before the beast is operational. :-?

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Re: In praise of England's Green and Pleasant Land...

#8 Post by Pontius Navigator » Thu May 21, 2020 5:55 pm

In our last village my wife worked for a time in two nursing homes and a friend owned a third. Of the two my wife worked in they don't want to pay her salary as nurses don't come cheap. Charges are comparable with care homes do profit margin is smaller. They still made their owners a good living.

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Re: In praise of England's Green and Pleasant Land...

#9 Post by TheGreenGoblin » Thu May 21, 2020 6:06 pm

I Watched a Blackbird'

I watched a blackbird on a budding sycamore
One Easter Day, when sap was stirring twigs to the core;
I saw his tongue, and crocus-coloured bill
Parting and closing as he turned his trill;
Then he flew down, seized on a stem of hay,
And upped to where his building scheme was under way,
As if so sure a nest were never shaped on spray.

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Where a man can fly over mountains and hills
And he don't need an airplane or some kind of engine

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