Monday, 25 July 2011
To be honest, the UK's had a bit of a hard time recently, hasn't it? Phone hacking scandals, the ongoing rather depressing economy and sporting failures (oh dear again, Murray) - not to mention the weather being distinctly more autumn/winter than spring/summer. We all seem to be giving Britain a pretty hard time, don't we?
Here's a little injection of patriotic affection in the form of a blog post, then. These images show some of the things I love the most about where I live - red telephone boxes (and their link to long-standing traditions and history); gorgeous nature and forests that have stood for hundreds of years; cosy old cottages in the countryside with windowseats, open fires and dark wood beams; and large open fields with rolling hills. So pretty, non?
It's so easy to forget all this, though, and I think we do, all too often. I think we tend to dwell on what's wrong with where we live, all the horrific news in the media, rather than focusing on the little things that make us smile, the things we take for granted, the ability these things have to pick us up when we need it; and, to me, all the little things mentioned above are very much to be enjoyed and celebrated. I think we tend to focus on the cities in Britain, the problems, dirt, crime, overcrowding and so on; and overlook - or dismiss - the countryside. But really, I've always found escaping to the countryside for a few days to be an instant pick-me-up; something to remind myself that I do really quite like Britain after all. The fact that I always think of going to the countryside as retreating - stealing myself away to a comforting, cosy kind of place - I think says it all.
I was feeling a little melancholy on Saturday morning; I'd received some not-so-great news and was feeling tired of London and the hustle and bustle of my life. I knew I had to shake myself out of the mood I was in. And so my solution? I drove through the Buckinghamshire countryside, amidst rolling hills, to my grandparents' house. I walked the dog in the woods that have been standing hundreds of years and enjoyed being surrounded by nature; I had a big, comforting Sunday lunch in an old, dark and cosy village pub. I visited a second-hand bookshop next to a village green and a duk pond where I could surround myself with books for hours, quietly browsing, and I drunk a ridiculous amount of tea along with a few too many jam cream biscuits. Little things, I know. Quintessentially British things, I suppose. But I felt - instantly - so much better.
Celebrating Britain a little bit more, I've written a blog post over at the lovely Cellardoor Magazine's blog this week on some of the best British-inspired exhibitions in London this year - do head over for a read if you fancy it!
These photos are from Flickr user Jakem's Polaroid set; do visit his photostream for more gorgoeus photos which will make you want to venture out to the British countryside too!