England … Definitely my Proust’s madeleine … is a country I both know best and least as it is somehow impossible to grasp, yet so familiar!
Needless to say the title of this page is inspired by the 2016 referendums on Scotland’s independence and on the unfortunately successful Brexit!
My very first childhood recollections are in England, 36 Acacia Road, Leamington Spa in the Warwickshire. The Midlands in the 60s where I used to practice my first English words (an ice-cream, please, a dozen eggs, three bottles milk), and later go to school for fun with my neighbors, thinking it was much more fun than my French school!
Visiting Blenheim Palace and being told about Churchill in the midst of his Marlborough ancestors armours, eating a ploughman’s lunch in a pub’s garden (no children were allowed inside!), a greasy fish and chips wrapped in a newspaper on a bench facing the sea, baked beans and sausages….Bath, Exiter, Stratford-upon-Avon which was for me a nice pond where I could go on a boat, the Lake District and its more often than not bad weather where I learnt to skip stones on the lakes’ surface (and was terrible at it)…Before these memories it seems that I started todling off in Swansea, but if the name is vaguely familiar, it evokes a small fishing harbor which is probably a pure product of my imagination!
And my teenage years were spent in London, breaking quite a few hearts and joyfully attending my penfriend Joanna’s neighbors parties which used to be much more fun than her own. She was a sweet girl whose temper went opposite directions from mine and I’m still in touch with Henry, her neighbor, today!
All this to say that the UK, which doesn’t seem so U but is still very K, is totally part of my mental picture of life and fun!
Since I was married with an Egyptian Jew for 30 years, I have a gap of almost total absence from this country which wasn’t considered sunny enough for my ex!
So I started going back more and more frequently there again after my separation and renew my intimate immersion in a country which manages to combine tradition and modernity, openness and exclusivity, honesty and hypocrisy in the most charming manner!
My Mum’s friend and my own, Alexandra, before passing away, gave me the Glyndbourne virus and as I had promised I would go there with her four years ago, which I couldn’t fulfill as she unfortunately passed away too soon, I attend this festival each year, for pleasure
and memory! More about this on my Opera Page
My blog has quite a few posts about the UK:
- From Liverpool to Glyndebourne
- 5ème ferry: à la recherche du Temps…retrouvé
- From Tebay to Belfast
- From Plymouth to Tebay
- Roule, Britannia
- Henley …
And here are my pictures of immortal England landscapes…