Spring with British Memories

Lookin’ good this morning. Temperature rising, sun is shining, I slept a full eight hours, nothing hurts when I move, looking forward to tomorrow even though I have hardly begun this day.

My besties bought a farm with a field of daffodils. Tomorrow promises to be a good picking day. It’s been tough for daffs this season. I saw a patch outside my supermarket, all of them dragging their heads on the ground. Daffodils are resilient. Like warrior soldiers they get back up again after a slug by the frost….yeah, frost in mid-April…and salute the sun. And warm my heart with their promise.

In merry old England daffodils bloom in late February. They are seen everywhere, in roadside ditches, carpeting the woods, the cowfields, edging the driveways of nearly every property. Daffs sing the praises of spring. They are heralded by snowdrops very early and if you blink you could miss those. Here, our daffs need warmth and flooding sunshine. And they sure have had lots of watering this patchy spring.

England’s idea of winter is rarely robust because the seasons are quite mild, compared to ours. Because of proximity, skiing happens in Europe. Through the tubes and up to the Alps, there you go. And Bob’s your uncle. British weather, especially north in Yorkshire, can be iffy. I can see why, when conditions are bad, sometimes people get caught out on the moors walking home from the pub, and in a heavy storm, die in it. I didn’t understand that until I saw how disorienting a snowfall can be and how quick. Into the pub, out of the nippy weather with full sunshine, several pints later you leave and walk right into a low cloud ceiling dumping seven inches of snow on your car and the windy road has disappeared. So. Back into the pub and the fireplace, stoked and roaring. (Not you, dingy. The fire.)

British terrain was a surprise to me. Tan Hill is really high altitude. Wrynose and Hardnott passes are tricky and can be treacherous. The views are incredible and change your mind about pastoral England. I much prefer  moors to dales. Dour and forbidding when weather comes in, think Wuthering Heights and you’ve got it.

Because work assignments took us there often enough to really know the hidden England, we discovered places most tourists never see. And fell in love with all of it. I’d be surprised if anything would ever take us back there, so I am thrilled to retain vivid experiences that still warm my heart, make me laugh and  determine to find bars here where a pulled pint is not a mystery. Old Peculier in a can is never the same as Black Sheep, or even itself, but will have to do. If I fix myself a Plowman’s lunch, close my eyes and drink my beer bordering on warm, I can conger up an afternoon in a small village pub, friending the natives who, contrary to what you might have heard, enjoy the company of Yanks.


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