Tuesday, September 6, 2016

England, compressed

I really want, on these trips back to the UK, for P to soak up some Englishness. I want her to develop an easy familiarity with English manners and customs, food, and just the general vibe. A big part of it is understanding the way things used to be. So she can read - as I did - a Milly Molly Mandy book, or a Secret Seven, and fully understand what a blacksmith is or why someone might be beating their carpets.

What better way to achieve this than a quick tour around a model village? So we headed to Bekonscot. All of English life is there, and much of it still as it was when the village was built in 1929. A blacksmith, a town square, a race course, a little harbor, lots of trains (pre-Beeching, of course) and just lots of English scenes. It was the perfect opportunity for me to explain the ways of our people.

'Look, there are some people playing cricket', I said. 'Where is the cricket?' she said, looking, I think, for a chirruping insect.
'I don't see any cricket'

Brownies around a maypole
A town cryer.
 'He's telling everybody the news,' I explained. 'But why?' came the inevitable answer. Is now a good time to explain that there was a time without TV and internets? No, onward to the 1930s zoo, complete with a chimps tea party.
Anyone who loves Curious George is perfectly comfortable with the idea of dressing up chimps to put on a show. So P had no questions about this bit.
The only thing I couldn't explain was the ring of people dressed in yellow and brown, bending over. P said they were doing their exercises. I'm not sure but didn't have a better answer. Suggestions welcome...

All in all it was a very efficient way to cover a lot of ground in a short space of time. Now her education is complete we can relax and enjoy the rest of the trip rather more aimlessly.

No comments:

Post a Comment