Life In England

MevolvingThis week a few of you left comments asking about what it was like growing up in England and I promised to post about it this week. To be honest I’m not exactly sure where to start because for me growing up in England was like you growing up in America. As a child growing up you don’t particularly pay much attention to your country because you don’t necessarily imagine that you will leave it. Growing up in England was life for me, just as your memories involve going to the shops with your parents or walking in a park…these things are the same for me, only they are English shops and English parks. Only the location changes.

Now that I am older and I look back on my life in England I notice the things that I miss and while I am unable to identify for you exactly what it was like to grow up in England I can tell you what it is I miss about growing up in England.

As a child I spent most of my time living with my maternal grandparents, particularly following my granddad. We would spend many hours walking our local park. The park had a band stand where a big brass band would play on occasion and in one of the poles of the bandstand there was a birds nest. There was a bridge over a small river where my granddad and I would play Pooh Sticks with banana peels. There was a lake where we would feed the ducks stale bread and eat our ice cream cones before dinner. I miss this park.

As a child my grandparents would take me and my sister to hike in cow fields. We would pile in to my granddad’s car singing “We’re off to see the wizard” and once we got there we would climb over styles and avoid the cow pats. When we came to the end of our walks through lush green fields inhabited by cows we would lunch in a pub, a smokey, beer smelling pub. I miss that.

As a child when we would drive in our car my sister and I would count the cows and sheep in fields as we drove by. There were always more green fields, more cows and more sheep than I could count. I haven’t seen sheep free in a field for over sixteen years. I miss that.

Growing up we shopped in specialty stores. Regardless of a lack of funds shopping was done at a butchers, a bakers, and a greengrocers; and milk was delivered to the doorstep. The food was always fresh even if it was spaghetti bolognese every other night of the week.

Growing up we traveled. Being so close to so many countries it was easy to drive on to a ferry and cross the English channel. We spent most summers camping in French campgrounds where my sister and I learned to speak French. We visited small villages and walked each morning to local shops to buy baguettes and fresh jam for breakfast. Once in a while we would drive down to Spain. I miss the culture I experienced as a child.

Growing up we were within a moderate driving distance to my family. I have fifteen cousins, twelve aunts and uncles, a great aunt and a great uncle. I miss my family.

Growing up we hear wood pigeons in the afternoon, we smelled fire as the farmers burned their fields, and we saw more of nature than my younger brothers will ever experience in the large towns we have experienced here. There is something missing in stimulation of the senses in our life here, there is a piece of me which still remembers, I miss that.

Growing up we ate English food. Whether it was canned desserts or freshly made sausages, I don’t care how bland it is touted to be by other cultures I grew up eating it. I miss English food.

Growing up we lived opposite a large field which backed on to a small forest and a farmer’s field. Our neighbors kids built a fort inside a large bush by the stream and there was a tire swing. There was a climbing tree which overlooked my school if you climbed high enough in to the branches. I miss the adventure of going out to play and not being afraid of the society we live in now.

Growing up as one of four children it was tight quarters. We weren’t financially well off and there were things we went without but there is a physical closeness of having to live so close together. I miss that closeness.

There are many things, as you can see, that I miss about living in England but these things, these memories are mine. No matter how I tried as I sat down this afternoon to describe to you the experience of living in England, I could not. I can describe to you my life and my memories but to encapsulate life in a country to a one dimensional story without use of the five senses is something I am finding near impossible. So take it for what it is worth, these are my memories of childhood, the things that I miss and the things that I remember.

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2 Responses to “Life In England”

  1. 1
    Queen Bee says:

    Beautiful memories. Reading them, I felt like I was there with you. Made me miss something I’ve never experienced.

    • Amy says:

      Thanks! I admit that the post was rushed in the late afternoon but the words somehow fell out on to the page and last night that was good enough for me!

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