On the 4th of July, I’m flying via Amsterdam to Yorkshire – Tees-Durham Valley airport to be exact – to visit a friend of mine who lives about 40 minutes away in a village called Thornton le Moor in North Yorkshire. I’ve never been to England yet the names already conjure up so many visions – the deserted moors, the Yorkshire Dales, even Hadrian’s Wall – though she laughingly tells me that it is only but a foot or so high now.
My knowledge of England is complex and unusual. As a child, studying in a British school, I knew more about Stephen and Matilda, the Magna Carta, the geography of The Wash and what Guy Fawkes day meant to politics than about my own passport country. The cognitive dissonance of reading Enid Blyton‘s books on boarding schools, adventures, village bobbies while living in tropical Malaysia allowed my imagination to conjure up it’s own images of this country. Later introductions in school to John Wyndham followed by The Hobbit studied in English Literature at 11 have left me with a lifelong desire to experience the world I have only read about for most of my life. Not to forget the England of Adam Dalgliesh, Miss Marple, Bertie Wooster and Brother Cadfael. What will reality be like, I wonder 🙂
This is the reason why when she asked me yesterday which tourist spots I would most like to visit, in order to plan my program, I said, oh no, I want to see the villages, the dales where Herriot worked, the moors where murders most foul ocurred and absorb the daily life in your village. I’ll return once more some day to do the tourist thing.