We were ‘down south’ for a lovely wedding this weekend and wandering round the more beautiful parts of Abingdon made me think about all the things I miss about living in England (I guess this is the flip side of my ‘Caledonia‘ post.) Specifically, the more southern places I lived – I don’t think Durham really counts. That’s almost-Scotland.
I lived for 2 years in Malvern (Worcestershire), 2 years in Ross-on-Wye (Herefordshire) and 2 years in Tewkesbury (Gloucestershire). So it’s appropriate that the first thing on my list would be
1) Beautiful market towns. While there are a few that are a bit twee and over-manicured (Cotswolds, I’m looking at you) there are so many towns that are really pleasing to the eye, with warm brick or wonky black-and-white houses. No grey render in sight!
2) The Malvern Hills. These I really miss. I know there are plenty of nice places to walk here but I walked on the Malverns every week for ages and they have so many nice things in a very achievable package. The wells. The iron-age earthworks. My favourite pink granite bit. The obelisk.
3) London. I never realised how lucky I was, being a couple of hours from London. The journey time is not terrible from here – under 5 hours – but you have to book the minute the tickets come out for it not to be prohibitively expensive.
4) Country pubs. We just don’t do them the same up here somehow. There’s a much higher density of great country pubs with great food down south.
5) Better weather. The waitress was commenting on the cold weather at dinner on Sunday night and I just said “I’m from Scotland”. It took the last 3 years of me living back in Scotland to remember that really, summer in Scotland doesn’t get any higher than 18 degrees. It’s not just that “this is a bad year”. More that my childhood memory is completely deluded.
6) Faraway friends. Coming up here to Scotland brought us nearer to lots of friends and family, but with the disadvantage that it’s no longer an easy trip to Malvern, Gloucester, Oxford, Birmingham, Watford or Southampton. We miss you guys!