Where I Live Linky

Sightseeing where you live

26 Comments 30 April 2013

cow parsley

The path along the clear, winding river; cow parsley under 300 year old oaks.

What local sight would you show me if I were to visit where you live?

Would you show me a cathedral for the history? A pretty bridge for the quiet contemplation? Your back garden for the special place where you like to spend time? The grocery store for all the interesting foods? A bend in the road on a hilltop for the magnificent vistas?

If you were to visit me I would take you on my walk. Don’t worry I have wellies in almost every size in our welly basket (that’s what having a large family does to a welly collection!). I usually walk fast but I won’t if you’re with me. I’ll be talking most of the way anyway, and walking fast and talking don’t mix.

I want to show you my walk because that’s where I spend a lot of time. When I’m angry I walk. When I’m stressed I walk. When I’m frustrated with a piece of work or a person or a situation I walk. When I want fresh air I walk. By about half way around the loop I’ve walked off the scowl and shoulder tensing irritations that sent me out there, and I can stride on more relaxed.

This is where I do a lot of my writing. I have many conversations with people who aren’t with me—and people who don’t exist. I have found some Home Truths in that hay meadow. I have left behind tattered bits of emotional cloth along these hedgerows. I have released spontaneous laughter to fly up through the leaves of the forest.

I also want to show it to you because it’s a walk through my England.

cow parsley

The quiet lane by my house where we’ll start our walk!

We’ll start at a former pub, turned into a family home—that’s my house! Then we’ll walk down the quiet lane along the Anglo Saxon village green—bordered by a church, a school, a blacksmiths (now a home as well) and the village well now in the grounds of the oldest house in the village, a tiny thatched cottage used as a model for ye olde greeting card designs and chocolate boxes. You might see squashed toads on this lane; we often do.

On past the red brick Victorian vicarage (which I love, but it’s a shame about the flooding in their front yard every year), and through the pretty farm. We’ll wave at the farmer and his wife *hello* because they’re good neighbours and I’m grateful for their footpaths. Unlike many I do not take footpaths for granted.

The two thoroughbreds will raise their heads from the green pasture and look at us as we turn to the footpath, an old drovers lane, once used to drive livestock to market, worn down so much the banks rise high on either side. Erosion held at bay by the thick trunks of hawthorn, twisted and woven over the years, and the great, sturdy-as-a-temple pillar oaks, planted by someone 300 years ago who wanted to show where a boundary lay.

Pheasants will dart past, squawking before thundering up in the air and you may startle. A few more will do this until you marvel at how many of the birds there are; I will tell you that the farmer raises them. The dappled sunlight on the path in front of us will quiver as a squirrel jumps through the branches above. We’ll see a cluster of feathers scattered in a wide arc, the soft cottony ones, and the longer, sharper, more difficult-to-digest ones. There’s so many it deserves commenting on. Pigeon, I’ll say.

The woods are dark and dappled, sweet scented and cool. When we finally reach the bottom of the hill we’ll cross two little bridges over two little streams. Moss clumps picturesquely over a rotting log (one of the old, old oaks, fallen over long before I first walked this path) and you’ll feel inspired—it’s an Instagram moment.

We’ll emerge to the light and the willows near the clear running water, otter tracks on mud.  A surprised kingfisher will streak shiny, bright blue up river and away from us. We’ll see a pillbox and you may not have seen one before so I’ll tell you about these mini cement fortresses lining the rivers and roads decreed most vulnerable to Hitler.

You will nod and we’ll turn to walk on. Here we’ll crest a hill to see another bend of the river, more willows along the bank, and on the other side a hill with cows grazing, a dog sleeping on the grass of a pretty farmhouse (‘I’d like to live there,’ I’ll tell you), and we’ll both pause to see how the shot will look through our phone cameras.

We’ll not take the route through the small woods filled with wild garlic (sniff the air, it’s lovely!) instead we’ll climb the hay meadow and this is why: when we reach the top I’ll turn and so do you and we’ll look down across the river, to see the willows and an old mill built in the 1700s. It’s a perfect view, right out of one of the books I studied in English Literature all those years ago.

The sun will be warm on our backs. We’ll turn to the sound of rustling in the garlic woods and see a small herd of indignant deer, jostling for position just inside the shade, staring at us. We’ll try to count them so we can tell people later.

We’ll turn back to the path and walk on, completing the loop by the old village green and then stop at the former pub for a cup of tea.

 

. . .

The American Resident

I’d love to hear where you would show me, readers. Tell me about it in the comments, or if you have a blog write about it and link back!

Welcome to the first prompt in the Where I Live Linky! (Click there to learn more…)

Write a post with this prompt: If I visited you for a day, where would you take me? One place. And why.

Link back here. Grab a badge if you like, to place in your sidebar or in your post. Check out what other people have written then give up some comment love!

Oh, and don’t forget—every person who enters the Linky by creating a post for this prompt and linking below is entered in a prize draw. The first four weeks of this Linky will have a different prize draw each week. This week the prize is:

writers toolbox

A fantastic prize for you or a fantastic gift for a writer you may know!

You can learn more about the Writer’s Tool box on Amazon.

Apologies to my readers without blogs, this prize draw is only for people entering the Linky. However, in June I shall have a prize draw for ALL my readers!

 

Where I Live Linky Prize draw rules:
1. A new prize will be announced each week (30th April 2013, 7 May 2013, 14 May 2013, 21 May 2013); the draw will close at midnight the following Monday.
2. The winner will be announced on the Tuesday (the next day after the draw closes) and contacted by email.
3. Only people who have added a Where I Live post to the weekly Linky will be entered in that week’s draw.
4. You can enter the prize draw as many times as you like, but each entry must be unique (for example, the same post cannot be used more than once).
5. The prizes are paid for by me and will be posted airmail anywhere in the world.

The winner of the prize draw for this competition is Dorky Mum! I used Random.org for the draw.

DorkyMum is the winner!

DorkyMum is the winner!

Oh, and are you following The American Resident on Bloglovin’? If you click here you can keep up to date on the weekly linky! The American Resident on Bloglovin’

 

 

 

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26 Comments so far

  1. Emma says:

    I love this post Michelle. Reminds me so much of home! It sounds like you live in such a beautiful area too (plus I am glad I am not the only one with imaginary friends!!)… Should you visit here, I would have to take you to all the famous places such as the Englisher Gartens, and the great big famous bier halls, but then we would have to go to the mountains too as they are not far off, and they are quite special and instead of tea we would have to have gluhwein. It’s the law! :)

  2. iyas says:

    I was all Thomas Hardy, Mayor of Casterbridge or Far From the Madding Crowd, reading this. Beautiful. Except I don’t think he’d have mentioned the Instagram :)

    You paint a beautiful picture of England that the English should be more fluent with. It’s often not only in the writing, but also in the noticing. And you do.

    Great post.

    • Ha! Can you imagine Tess with an iPhone?!

      Thank you, nice to know I conveyed some of what I was thinking!

      • iyas says:

        actually, i can see a whole line of 21st century thomas hardies here. so many of his plots hinge on people being lost (google maps would solve that), not knowing where each other are (foursquare), auctioning off animals and spouses (eBay), losing touch with old friends, lovers and wives (facebook), etc. none of his plot lines would be insoluble by technology and social media, and most of his books would be reduced to pamphlets. i think he’s overdue a refresh! but i digress both from your blog post and linky. ignore :)

        • Hehe, no I won’t ignore, it’s fun digressing. Dn’t forget all the sadness, misunderstanding and angst in his books, which of course we’d have therapists to sort out–or Twitter ;)

          • iyas says:

            therapists or twitter perhaps. or they’d sign up for a self-help course delivered in weekly installments by email, and a monthly webcon. and google translate would make those misunderstandings disappear. and if they don’t, we’d see baathsheba appearing with Troy / Baldock / Gabriel Oak on consecutive episodes of the jeremy kyle show.

  3. Tammy says:

    What a wonderful post! Like you, walking is my stress reliever … and my time to work things out in my head by arguing with people who aren’t with me! The second half of the walk does feel so much lighter.

    I don’t think I’d take you with me on my walk: that is a “me” activity. Instead, I would show you our mission church, which is hidden away in a residential neighborhood, and to the coast. Watching the waves, walking under the piers, and peering into tide pools are all so much fun.

  4. Mari says:

    Ha ha, I may just take this prompt one step further today and actually show you somewhere close to me :) Love this Linky and what a fab way to start. See you later x

  5. Mary says:

    Oh thanks for sharing your lovely walk. You totally transported me to a very English country lane. It’s funny, because I was just thinking yesterday, as I did my usual dog walk from home, that I wanted to blog about this very everyday but very significant part of my life here. Love the new linky and definitely hope to join in!

    • Hurrah! I’m so glad the writing worked :)

      From what I’ve already read on your blog I am certain you could make an everyday moment really enchanting. I hope to see you join in!

  6. Iota says:

    So… do you scrape the squashed toads off the road, pour Yorkshire pudding batter over them, and sling them in the oven to make toad-in-the-hole?

    Sorry. I’ve just totally lowered the tone. This is a lovely post, and walking in the English countryside is one of my great joys too. I missed it like mad in America. Actually, I miss it in Scotland. Lots of lovely lovely scenery here, but no windy country lanes and cow parsley.

  7. This is beautiful Michelle – ‘A quite lovely’ linky, as we would say. I live on the coast just outside Brighton, where the beaches are pebbly but there is a long, long promenade to walk by the sea. I would take you there – and to the hut that houses home made cakes and proper tea, to sit in the sunshine and admire the view, appreciating the quiet (with / without instagramming!).

    • That sounds really LOVELY Anya! I’ve only been to Brighton once and my daughter and I have been talking about going sometime… I must remember to ask you for tips!

      I hope you’ll join us in the linky! x

  8. Mary Keynko says:

    What a beautiful post! If I didn’t have a million things to do, I’d be hunting for my car keys to drive down to you for a walk in the sunshine!

  9. Helen Sims says:

    What a lovely post and photos im sitting in my armchair fat and pregnant but im imagining im breathing the fresh and enjoying a walk with you. Thank you for opeinging this as a linky party what a wonderful idea and i would love to hop on board and join your adventures.

  10. Ruth says:

    Absolutely love this post, it’s so evocative, and so evident how much you enjoy where you live! How cool to live in a former pub as well… x

    • Thank you Ruth! Yes it’s cool but weird when you get delivery drivers telling you how they had their first pint there or where the snooker table used to be…!

  11. I love the combination of history and landscape in this piece. And the squashed toads – very striking detail! I’m writing something for the linky right now – will be back very soon!

  12. Hello, Michelle, I really enjoy your blog and am so glad I found it!
    I love your post on your favorite walk. My English family (parents, grandparents, etc.,) loves to go on walks, but my American family (my 3 kids) don’t. I wrote about this aggravating situation in a post I called “Walkies” (I’m sure you know whereof I speak). Cheers, Virginia
    http://theyearoflivingenglishly.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/us-vs-uk-walkies/


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Mgarrett

An American writer in the UK for over 20 years. Lives in Essex. A pretend extrovert.

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