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Sunday, 26 February 2012

A letter to England

Dearest England,

Forgive me. It's been too long since I've been in touch. But while sorting through my shoe box of snap shots the other day, I came across splashes of colour, images frozen in time, which reminded me of you and of Christmas last. I thought you'd like to see some.

I can't believe it's been nearly five weeks since we left Nelson's country. The bracing cold air of Norfolk in winter is losing its bite. The memory of it, burning my cheeks and causing my ears to throb, fading like a dream upon waking. I cling to it just as fervently but it's hard to retain such a memory when the humidity here makes you sweat even as you sit unmoving.


Frost on the field of Norfolk, early morning.
 We expected more snow. You gave us the second mildest UK Christmas on record. We expected rain. You cleared away the cumulus revealing crystalline blue skies day after day. It's been raining nearly every week since we got back. Heavy, relentless sub tropical rain worthy of any wet season but striking fear into hearts and souls still damp from last year's ravaging floods. Torrential rains, flash flooding, stunning afternoon thunderstorms bashing their way along the SE Queensland coast. They fill me with excitement, anxiety and sometimes anger when drivers react stupidly on the roads.

Elsewhere, Australia swelters as summer wanes to autumn. Tree branches, bereft of moisture, pop and burst in the severe heat. They crash to earth and sometimes land on things they should not have, like cars. Our summer heat makes it less enjoyable to walk, unless you go very early in the morning of course. I miss walking against the chilling winds everyday. Trudging across farrow fields, over moss covered stiles, through paddocks of inquisitive sheep, making interesting discoveries.

"You smell what you hear" Cabbages, churned earth, manure, geese, pigs - the scent of the country
Miss 6 states the obvious



          Milk keeps better outside. Lone apple. Gale force winds. A lesson in tenacity.

Our means of navigation was straightforward enough. Step outside, spy a church tower and walk steadily towards it, heedless of the twisting, narrow country lanes. All that walking meant I endured a self enforced hiatus from writing, commitments, duties, obligations. It was invigorating in every sense.

Not yet available at Super Butcher.
And although I can't remember seeing a prawn larger than 1 pence, you certainly didn't disappoint on the culinary front. Venison, every joint of roasted meat, pheasant (complete with shot), puddings galore. It will take many more months of sweating to reverse all that revelry.

I hear it's snowed since we departed. I wonder how the early blooming crocuses and daffies have fared? Christmas had vanished from our neighbourhood when we arrived back home. Not a fairy light was to be seen. There were no spicy scented Christmas candles burning, no Nativity scenes, no garlands of tinsel hanging in shopping centres, no more carols on the radio.

Snow in Queens Square, Attleborough, Norfolk
But we were lucky. We had you for a month. We had punting on the Cam.We had the wild Suffolk coast line. We had lessons in history every day, with every view we experienced. We had fireworks in the back yard at New Years. And we had that snug, indoors, warm kind of European Christmas so often replicated here but lacking that one essential ingredient...cold. Cold seem to make everything magical. It made my nose run a great deal too. I hope I didn't forget to thank you for everything. I did so have a wonderful stay.

It's gotten busy here. I may not have time to write for a while.  Must away, the chooks need feeding.

Fondest thoughts,

Dimity

2 comments:

Rhana said...

You've succeeded in making me wish all the more for the opportunity to visit the UK. Love your photos Dim - with the air conditioning running, it made me feel like I was there. One day....

DimbutNice said...

LOL Rhana, don't forget three jackets, woolen socks, boots, tightly wrapped scarf, beanie and gloves. God don't forget your gloves. There, now you are all set to go.Oh, warm potatoes in your jacket pockets helps too. ;-)