29 Jul 2011 14 Comments
I used to live in England when I was 12 and 13 years old. I lived in a small village called Leicester Forest East, which is in Leicestershire. I loved living there. Full of history and falling down castles, it was an ideal place for a dreamy girl to live. I was always expecting a knight in shining armour to come galloping out of the mist at any moment. There was a little, tumble down castle nearby. I used to climb over the stile, cross the train tracks and go down this little footpath and wander the grounds. I’m sure I was trespassing and breaking about 12 different laws but it was lovely.
Also on the footpath was a huge tree that had fallen into a field. One day, I wandered down there and climbed out onto the tree, with a book, possibly an apple, and sat down to read. There were horses in the field and I’d raise my eyes from the book from time to time to watch them. Several had foals with them, gamboling about in the grass. It was magical. The foals would let me pet them, although once in a while, one would kick me. Even though they’re small, those little hooves hurt. A lot.
It rained there, often. It didn’t pour, the way it does here, but it was a constant drizzle. Misty. Drippy. Wet. I loved it. I still love rainy days, even now. It sends me right back there.
One time, I went with my dad to a meeting he had. Most people have meetings in offices or maybe at a restaurant, but this meeting was at a castle. Ashby de la Zouch.
While my father was at his meeting, I wandered the grounds of the castle. It was misty but the sun was trying to peek thru and I fully expected that King Arthur was going to come striding across the grounds at any moment. It was fantastic.
We lived in a semi-detached house. It was tiny but cozy. We had a little back garden and a postage stamp front garden but the roses that grew there were incredible. My mother did nothing to them but they bloomed these big, blowsy drifts of flowers and smelled heavenly. Our milk was delivered by a horse-drawn cart and around the corner was a sweet shop and a bakery where we’d buy bread every other day. My mother had a couple of string shopping bags and would go to the market a few times a week because we had the tiniest fridge in the world. I’m sure it wasn’t fun for her but I loved going with her. It was such an adventure and so different from the antiseptic American supermarkets.
We were close to Bosworth Field, where Richard III was killed and close to Bradgate Hall, which was the home of Lady Jane Grey. Both of these places, along with the book The Daughter of Time, which I read over there, started my long love affair with English history.
From the BBC website.
I saw so much there and loved it so, so much. This is where, for me, the green grass grows. Possibly because it was the last time I can remember my parents being happy together but mostly because I was just so happy there myself. My school was awesome, I had friends for the first time in ages, I could sing in a chorus and the fact that I was odd and loved reading and geeking out over history was not considered unusual at all. It was admired. I developed an English accent almost over night that persists to this day, at least in my head.
I miss it.
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