Sunday, September 28, 2008

If Home Were To Be England...

Risky Regencies Romance Bandits Drawing inspiration from Anna Sugden of Romance Banditas’s list of what moving home to England for her was like and from Amanda McCabe of Risky Regencies’s list of her sightseeing plans of England, here’s my list of what I would do if I had the opportunity to call England home for once in my lifetime for a few moments (read that as: months).

First the assumptions. I would have to be a lady of a certain age and certain independent means if I have to achieve this dream.

Big BenSoane Museum 1. I can rent rooms at a hotel in London for a few weeks, at Oxford for a few weeks, then a few other sites, and finally settling in Bath.

2. Hang the unpacking. Sightseeing's going to be foremost on the agenda in London, and that's going to mean the Tower, the V&A Museum, the British Museum, the British Library, Hyde Park, Mayfair, London townhouses, watch Shakespeare at the Globe Theater, Sir John Soane's Museum, Devonshire House, Windsor Castle, and the list is endless. The only stopping point is going to come when I'm exhausted.

Radcliffe Camera, OxfordChatsworth 3. Then I'll hie myself off to Oxford and stay with my cousin. From that vantage point, I can reaquaint myself to the beauty and peace and splendor that's Oxford. Perhaps I can inviegle a couple history classes from their education outreach programs.

4. Derbyshire and the Peaks and Lake districts, then it's off to Bath and rooms at a bed & breakfast. This is where I hope to remain for the majority of my staying: working and writing.

Bath Crescent5. Staying at a B&B and walking everywhere is an absolute must for me to integrate myself into the fabric of the place I'm in.

6. Buying groceries, eating local produce, delicious curry take-aways, talks with regulars who sit in the main church and conversation make for good starts to friendships.

7. Working in a place increases the stake I have in the community. When I'm paying taxes, I start caring what those taxes support. Getting to know people I work with also means I care what their concerns are.

8. Similarly, attending the parish church on Sunday mornings and joining the choir further enmeshes my square into the town's quilt. I'm not a fan of organized religion, but music makes my heart sing.

9. Resume my building up my collection of Enid Blytons. My goal is to own every known EB book published by her (not by other authors in her name) before she passed away.

10. Squirelling away a lifetime's worth of memories, sights, smells, sensations, tastes, touches, sounds for when I return and miss England with a visceral ache.

RomanistasSo, Romanistas...
What would your dream location be? And would you like to permanently move there, or just for a while?


Diane Gaston said...

I probably would not spend much time in Oxford, but perhaps in a small English village where I might walk everywhere and where the buildings all looked like they would have been old in the Regency.

I'd take a trip to Edinburgh and try to absorb it properly because when I was there I was sooo tired I could only half appreciate it.

Sooo, can I travel with you on this trip? I love to walk, too, as you well know, since we walked all of San Francisco!

Keira Soleore said...

Yes, m'dear. I'd go on a trip with you anywhere, even to Peoria, IL. England with you and Ammanda would be a dream!!! Same here with Edinburgh. I only sort-of remember the castle, which is a real shame as it was the best I'd seen in Britain.

Cara King said...

What would your dream location be?

Bath would definitely be up there, Keira! I'd also love Cambridge, Oxford, Norwich, or London. (London is in another class, of course, with serious pluses and serious minuses...)

As for permanent? Not sure. Todd and I lived in London for two years, and I spent my junior year abroad at the Uni of East Anglia in Norwich.....and Todd has talked about possibilities at various times of us possibly living in Cambridge or Bristol permanently...but it's never seemed the right move. Mostly because we'd be so far away from our families and friends...

Then again, there were SO many amazing things I experienced in those three years...

Oh, now I'm missing England again! ;-)


Keira Soleore said...

Cara, my husband and I have talked about Cambridge, too, since his company has a branch there. So far, he's yet to find a project there (researchy) that appeals. I've traveled through parts of England and Scotland, but have never lived there, so for me it's the stuff of dreams.

Cara King said...

Well, I really like how your dreams are organized, Keira! Especially the buying groceries, etc stuff. (Also: read a local newspaper every day!)

I really wish you lived next door to me so we could have tea and talk about stuff like this all the time! :-)


Keira Soleore said...

Yes on reading the local paper. Then you have talking points for those interesting conversations.

That's how we traveled in Paris, we stayed put in one spot and walked or took the metro everywhere. We met some of the nicest people the world over here and they were Parisian through and through. I spoke such shudder-worthy French, but they would correct the eggregious errors and nod and smile and serve just as courteously. The one we got to know better would give us freebies. If I made a translation error (for my husband), I'd see him give a subtle shake of his head and then nod proudly when i managed to get it right. :) And on and on. So many experiences that I hold so dear to my heart happened in that trip in the summer of 2001.

I would ADORE to live within walking distance with you so we could meet up for tea and to write and to chat about our various travel experiences.

Cassondra said...

Oh, Keira, you HAVE to go back to Edinburgh to that castle. It's my favorite castle of all of them in Britain, except I REALLY loved Powis Castle in Wales. But I was there for the gardens, and as castles go, Edinburgh Castle is amazing--sits like a big, hulking gargoyle on that hill above the city. Reminding everyone that the place is not just old. It's olde.

If you get a chance, stay for the Military tattoo. It's one of the most amazing things I've ever seen, to this day. And when the lone piper plays and those pipes ring out from the highest part of the castle wall, it absolutely gives you chills.

Cassondra said...

Keira said:

Yes on reading the local paper

Ha! No chance of that for me in France. I had one French class in college, taught by a woman who was born in Russia and spoke about six languages fluently. She was a great teacher for conversational French, but a LOUSY teacher for beginners.

I learned nada. Zip. Nothing. It aggravated me.

I've learned a bit of Spanish from friends who own Mexican restaurants and from the workers on the local farms--just from being around them. Not a lot, but I could find a bathroom, and I wouldn't starve.

I thought I'd do well taking French, as it's such a beautiful language, and I'm so in love with wine and someday would like to visit for a wine tour. But that class was SO disappointing. I admire you for being able to speak well enough to translate ANYTHING. I think maybe the teacher's fluency and comfort with the language was her downfall. It made it hard for her to teach brand new students. In fact, I think English was her FIFTH language, and she speaks English with a strong accent.

Someday maybe I'll get to take the class again with another teacher--a native English speaker maybe, until I get proficient enough to learn from someone who's that good.

I have to say that this is one very nice thing about visiting the British Isles. Less stress for those who don't speak other languages fluently.

I love the people there too. Warm, friendly, funny, and giving. I found the Scots to be especially kind.

Anonymous said...


I would be so thrilled if you moved to Cambridge! It's only 25 minutes from me. I am going to add some of your dream trips to my list of things to do here. I do so hope you have that opportunity to come. If I hit the British Lottery, I'll fly you over and set you loose on England! :) My dream has always been to come to England. My dream now that I am here is to see as many historical houses, palaces, and castles as I can. Hubby will be taking me next year to Scotland on our 20th. That was my ultimate dream. I don't know how we got so lucky, but I'm taking advantage of it. Diana

Kelly Krysten said...

I want to see all of England. And I do mean ALL of it.
Though I wouldn't want to live there for more than a year or two. I'd miss home too much.
Great post!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Keira, what a wonderful post! As you know (and like Cara), I lived in London for two years in my 20s and I still get homesick for it, really! This time round, though, and if money was no problem, I'd get a place in a nice town within an hour's train ride of London. Somewhere lovely in Kent, perhaps. Then I'd have the summer in a cottage in the Hebrides. Of course, it's completely impractical, but it's a lovely dream. And hey, can I tag along with you and Diane on some of this sightseeing? I think we'd have a blast!

Anonymous said...


You've some lovely ideas about how to spend your time in England!

England is my home, and always had been. I live in a small market town in the Staffordshire Moorlands, which is on the edge of the Peak District National Park. I count myself lucky to live in such a beautiful (but little known) part of the country.

All of the usual sights, like Bath and Edinburgh are beautiful, I agree. But I reckon you need a native to show you all of the much, much more interesting places well off the beaten track.

By that I mean me, of course!

Once again, lovely post, lovely ideas. I'm sure you'll get here some day soon.

Emily Cotler said...

Honestly, right now, I just want to be somewhere warm, and quiet, and pretty. Did I mention alone? I love my family, but "perfect" for me right now is quiet... and alone.