Writing has saved me from myself on more than one occasion. It`s offered a means of escape when emotions and thoughts got too heavy to hold
I was born in the spring of 1963 in a beautiful leafy southern ride. I played there, loved, laughed, and cried there. Moving out at the age of 17, I watched from various towns and cities, my country unfold over the following decades.. Some insights are harsher than others, because I try to balance the good alongside bad aspects of our country. Everyone who was born here, has witnessed so many changes in their lifetimes. Technology has evolved, and so the first and most significant worldwide change, has allowed us this window, in order to paint our memories for others to share. Some are fantastic, others tainted. I hope you all enjoy my take on England.
Our capital, has seen some changes over the years. Some can now be viewed from The London Eye, something that Churchill might have raised a glass to. Full of diverse cultures, historic buildings, cosmopolitan and costly.
London hosted the first underground railway system in the world. Born in the same year as I was, and snaking round the city with over 200 tube stations. I vividly recall my journeys packed in with hundreds of passengers daily making their way to and from work. I was another one of the bustling beings. I first used the tube in the 70`s to get to my job at a publishing firm in Westminster. I was 17 years old. I remember reading the quirky poetry posts inside and out of the tube, and marveling at the amount of faces I saw within that daily 15 minute trip. I was fortunate enough around this time to be living in what is known as Sloane Square just behind Harrods off the Brompton Road. I was in a lovely old victorian house that the Irish landlady had rented out to 4 girls, me included so the rent was just about affordable. She lived there also. She was nearly 80, death in one ear, partially sighted and still driving. Would be frowned upon today but tolerated back then.. She was quite a force to be reckoned with and the other girls were a bit afraid of her. I actually liked the old woman cause she had spirit and a great character. I got my first taste of how it felt to be young in one of the most vibrant cities in the world. I had a great experience there, visiting so many places and going on to get countless temping jobs all over London.
Our capital sits in the south- east peninsula of Great Britain. It accommodates approximately 8.9 million people. The general census is never going to be a full proof accurate means of obtaining the true numbers here but you catch the gist. Massive amount of people in accordance with the amount that are spread over the rest of our country. A dense population.
The variety of entertainment offered in this diverse city is prolific and caters for all number of different cultures. I last took a trip there to visit Madame Tussauds joining a very long queue. It was worth every minute I had to wait there The Rock Circus was amazing too. My dad lived a stones throw away in Camden Town so a great day spent all round. You never have to wait too long for public transport in this city which compared to where I was born and raised was a novelty.
Camden Town was a big feature in my life growing up. My dad lived there for 18 years and so it was like a second home for me. I used to sit on the flat roof of his maisonette in the high street watching the busy crowd of people heading down to the market there, where I often went with him, collecting all sorts of unusual items and watching the fascinating street acts by the Camden Lock. I had a taste very early on in life of how magical London was, and compared to my leafy lane home in Berkshire it was intoxicating. I came back to live there independently, 3 times in my life and each was full of some of the most exciting memories I have. My dad was born in "The Smoke" which it was affectionately known as, still is by some. I grew to love this place as much as he did.
If you should ever take a trip to London be prepared to walk for miles because there are miles to cover when being lead from one adventure to another. You may need some strong shoes and a few headache tablets when you`re done but you`ll never forget the place. The air quality has altered since C02 emissions have declined since the 70`s up to the present day.
Take a wander around the majestic parks, enjoy viewing parliament from Westminster Bridge, take a picnic on the heath and trip the light fantastic in Piccadilly. Listen to Big Ben chiming and Trooping the Colour is worth a watch. There are copious amounts of must sees and places to marvel over in this enigmatic place..
Freedom of What?
A very green and pleasant land has slowly, over time, emerged into a concrete jungle. New homes, office blocks and a busy network of major roads has intruded upon our space. Our beautiful coastline is eroding, and as for our pastimes, well where can a girl go picking wild flowers these days? Signage has taken our eyes away from the prize, as if an invisible "sign man" has been working overtime to distract us from the natural beauty of our country. We are cramped into overcrowded estates and streets, suffering road rage in traffic queues, yearning to find an un spoilt spot to recharge ourselves, only to find a stampede of like minded Brits all clamoring for the same space. Having to escape the inner cities, just to be able to see the stars again, without the light pollution. Listening to the sounds of revving engines as oppose to the birds. Dear old Blighty we miss you..
Some things never change, assuming there are no terrorist attacks!
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England
— William Shakespeare
Am I proud to be British?
My brief trip down Memory lane....
I was born and raised in the 60`s, a time of untold freedom! I became a teenager in the 70`s and WOW was I ever so lucky to be privy to that remarkable decade! Flares (the bigger the better), platform shoes (the bigger the better, Jack Wild, and a feather cut like Dora on "Follyfoot". What more credence would a girl need to get along? I was frequently running to the corner shop, trying to bag the latest copy of "Jackie" before my best friend Midge could, mainly for the pictures of our latest heart throbs. Marc Bolan was tops for me then, along with David Essex and Bowie. Chestnut picking with my friends, carol singing, trick or treating, scrumping apples and visiting a hand full of colourful characters who lived close by. I was singing along with Bowie, dancing with Pans People. I was picking blackberries, making perfume from dog roses, baking mud pies and wearing cheese cloth blouses, with love beads and daisy chains round my neck. I had an imagination and wrote poetry, tried to teach my mum French, believed I was at one point, chased rainbows and hung around bonfires like a groupie.
We had so many friends of all ages down our ride. I was lucky to have some great people around me. We often hung around in a cluster, myself, Midge, Garry and Craig. Garry was an absolute angel and still is. He was the brother I never had, and a wonderful friend who I still treasure. We all had some adventures together, some were mischievous.. It was an open door policy during that time. Mrs Portsmouth was wonderful to visit when you wanted to take a trip down her memory lane. She was in her 80`s and made doorstep jam sandwiches with tea in a chintzy china pot. My friends and I also would visit a 28 year old Italian man called Alberto Chiles who was a keen pianist. I was awe of him, and to this day remembered what he said to me once when he was cycling by our bungalow. I said "long time no see" and he responded with "That`s what the dead fish said".. I pondered over that for hours until finally I got it. I was 13 at the time. There were less barriers to which age groups enjoyed eachothers company then. No worries about offending people as much as our now pc mad world dictates.
My dad went out one day, and came back with our adorable first dog Tufty. She was a small trembling black and white collie cross puppy when she first came. She hid under a blue wooden cabinet we had in the kitchen. We coaxed her out with treats. That decision to include a new fluffy friend into our family followed after my sisters and I were trying to catch butterflies in jam jars.
I was hunting for fairies in local woodland at the age of 11. I was doing headstands on our newly tarmacked ride. I was picking bluebells and daffodils and collecting bags of tomatoes from our neighbours greenhouse. Never have I smelt or tasted a tomato like those ones since. Free to roam, in the surrounding streets and countryside, that were my playground. I could elaborate way into next year, but I think the overall feeling was one of sheer bliss when I think of myself as a child. It seemed that the world was a magical place laying in wait for me always just around another corner. I "filled my boots" and took that mad merry go round called childhood, with all the positivity that only the young can truly harness. Well, how cruelly was I ever dumped off that heady ride when the 80`s came full pelt round the corner crashing into my reverie with hobnail boots....
To be proud of being British, is only a state of mind, not necessarily of being. It`s the person who you are, that dictates how proud you can be, irrespective of where you were born. I felt lucky to be born here, I still do. I didn`t enjoy all the changes witnessed as the decades unfolded. I`m now an adult, and it seemed to be that England lost it`s magic when my childhood was over, and not just for that reason.
Some 70`s iconic children`s programmes
"Follyfoot" was just one of my childhood haunts. The theme tune "The Lightening Tree" by The Settlers, bonus.. I was there with Dora, feeling a simple kind of pleasure at waking up to living on a farm, with a funny guy, a father figure and a love interest, all under the same roof. Dora had a haircut to die for, this honest, sweet girl was all I ever hoped to be, someone I aspired to. She had 3 lovely guys all loving her in different ways and treated each with love and kindness. Her horses did however seem to be her priority, and sometimes I did secretly feel that she may fare better if she`d take some time out with Steve in the hay barn.. I fell for Jack Wild in "H. R pufnstuf". I danced with "Here Come The Double Deckers" a great British tv series watched on Saturday mornings. "Catweazle" had me spellbound, a great programme, based on an eccentric 11th century wizard who`d travelled through time. I envied the boy who he`d befriended, and used to wish he lived in my shed. It was a fun time with programmes being newly broadcast in colour. Hard to believe now, that I once watched tv in black and white. I remember test cards, and the flat irritating monotone telling you it was time to stop being entertained and go to bed. Very dull. I used to feel sorry for that little girl trapped there on my screen, playing noughts and crosses with her clown doll. I used to wonder if she ever left that scene. I had a lot of questions in my mind as to who she was and how come she got more airtime than Jack Wild.
My childhood must sees - Some fond favorites
The 80`s drags me kicking and screaming..
After a wonderful carefree childhood, the 80`s came and the nicest thing to come from it was my son. We tripped the light fantastic.
The decade saw 1980 as the year that a childhood inspiration to me, got assassinated in New York, that was of course John Lennon. It was a senseless act of violence against a man who had campaigned for peace, and the irony of it left me cold. He was the man who partly inspired me to write poetry and my young heart was touched by his passing. Again, in 84 another wonderful singer, Marvin Gaye got shot by his own father. It seems another sharp contrast considering the sensitivity with which he wrote his most iconic song "Mercy Mercy Me" one of my favorite Marvin Gaye songs. Another meaningful artist taken from us all. International wars were still raging in the background, and I truly felt that John Lennon and Marvin Gaye could both have made a difference if they had stayed in this world..
On the music front punk came into play during this era, it was a revolutionary time for the music scene. Bowie was now experimenting with synthesized sounds, glam metal became popular too, with" Guns N Roses" heading the field, and so now the general feel of things was a little edgy. I was a young adult witnessing changes from cultural to economic.
Politically, the "Iron lady" Margaret Thatcher was our Prime Minister during this time and made changes that were for a lot of people, very unpopular; the privatisation of state-owned companies, taking power from trade unions, and the dreaded poll tax being a few. The softness of the flower power era had been taken over by shoulder pads and empowered women. High unemployment, and the recession loomed over Britain like a stark preview of things to come. My son was born in this decade and so I revisited my childhood, with countless visits to lots of my old haunts and new ones, I`d never seen. We took holidays in the West country, and went everywhere together. For that reason, the latter part of this decade was mainly spent, bringing up my son, who filled my heart with love and happiness. In the background to this reverie was the rest, still reminding me that there were no more bubbles in the fountains, now broken glass and empty beer cans were thrown there in their place. Sad, but true..
I am very passionate about those changes as nostalgia for those happier days takes a huge place in my heart. Other things worldwide have changed too, albeit some for the better, some are threatening to suck the living breathe out of what once was truly a "green and pleasant land". I will give my take on that in more lenses to come....
"The lady`s not for turning".
Blowing the cobwebs away is a must for any English Rose
West Bay is a horseshoe shaped harbour that sits beside the English channel in Dorset, nearest town Bridport. It`s not the most eventful place on this earth but that`s kind of why I like it so much. There have been film crews there in the past recording scenes for "Harbour Lights" a British drama series and more recently "Broadchurch" a gripping drama which I watched every episode of for a few reasons, one because it was so compelling and the more obvious one being because this place is one of my favorite escapes. Lastly David Tennant is a nice peice of eye candy.
The sea never fails to put me back into perspective. It`s a dancing entity that soothes the troubled mind. I revel in standing beside it. It`s bigger than us all and so humbling. The local pubs are friendly in the bay, and my last visit there with my partner will always be the most special to me. He`s an Irish man full of fun, big smiles and has many bright stories to tell. One of our best memories was taking a walk along the Jurassic coast watching countless children smashing rocks to find fossils. We had a breathtaking walk there, mainly because we didn`t know the tide times..
I had a previous long weekend there once several years before my Irish man came, and that was also very memorable but for reasons that are personal to me and would raise far too many eyebrows if I shared that memory.. All told, it`s an alluring place where your imagination can run wild. There are so many beautiful places in England and I`ve been lucky enough to explore many of them.
My favourite place, "West Bay".
An exceptional Island.
Good and bad things about England
What I feel, in general about this hub firstly is a BAD thing. When I write the word England, I feel like this is a word slowly going out of "fashion". In forms, and discussions on forums, social networking sites e.t.c. it no longer seems cool to say I come from England. Now we all live in the UK. I think this is a wonderful expression is essence, but somehow I feel that it takes away the individuality of our country. So, times have changed but not necessarily all for the best..
A great thing about our country is the coastline and worth another mention. There is nothing more in life I love better than watching that giant, the Atlantic crashing and rolling against the rocks. It wipes away the cobwebs like nothing else I know other than the wind. It looks absolutely spectacular. If you have ever driven around the coastal roads in England you will know that feeling. At every corner I have wanted to stop and take it all in, especially on the west coast. We have some amazing countryside, with hills aplenty, valleys, babbling brooks, summits and fields that boast beautiful poppies in summer. Sadly our bluebells are disappearing as developers take the land over for yet more concrete eyesores.
Our culture will always remain a little quirky, which is the nicest thing of all really. From cream teas to the Changing of the Guards, we are dripping with age old traditions. Our historic buildings and ancient ruins are still very much loved and visited by millions of overseas tourists and Brits alike.
When I mention ruins, my memory takes me back to Tintagel Castle in North Cornwall. It was an amazing site to see and the link to King Arthur makes it a mystical haunting place. Every corner of Cornwall is surrounded by myth and legend and Daphne Du Maurier, one of my favorite writers made my love for Jamaica Inn in Bodmin moor take on a whole new meaning. Cornwall is always worth a mention when I think of England, because it`s timeless and full of many places and many stories entwined in their fabric. It`s where anyone who loves a mystery would want to visit.
Our reputation abroad, is not always favourable, in part owing to the thug mentality of certain people who just want to drink themselves into oblivion on foreign streets. The same individuals are doing it here as we speak. The riot vans and drug- fueled brawls, sometimes make our cities a scary place to be. Our pubs are also part of our tradition and heritage, and for the majority, have offered some great times, meeting with friends and loved ones. Some of our pubs are amongst the most stunning buildings that England has to offer in my opinion, steeped with history and hauntings. There are many, some say too many. I say that what happens within those four walls should be left there. If you can`t handle your drink, don`t pub crawl in England.
Football firms don`t help our reputation either. These hapless gangs who by contrast carry out organised crime , just seem to want to spill blood and give genuine supporters of this much loved game, a bad name.
Our legal system is still highly thought of by many other countries, who`s ideas on crime and punishment can appear archaic by comparison. However, we certainly could do with a shake up to ours.
Our NHS system, still rates highly worldwide. As debated in another hub, I still believe it`s a system that has far too many layers. Admin and protocol, are placing red tape over people in need of "urgent" care, both physical and mental health care are not always easy to obtain, without a very long and distressing wait..
The British monarchy are a prime part of why some Brits are proud. It`s debated as to what their role includes, and some don`t see that they actually have one anymore. They are the head of our nation but don`t necessarily undertake any political influences. Are they worth the money? For all that pomp and ceremony, that screams British, I would say so. They are loved, by countless, worldwide and equally respected. They bring a sense of nobility to our country. I think it`s nice, even if a little fanciful, to have someone to look up to. On the flip side, that can belittle our own stance as individuals and make us feel that we are on the outside looking into an abyss. There are no open doors that don`t get slammed into our faces when there is controversy within the palace walls. Closing ranks once a chunk of gossip hits those walls can present a stark reminder to us all that the Royals also have a castle for a reason.
Lady Diana, in my opinion was the only member of the family, who showed us that fairy tales don`t always have happy endings. She let us see the true meaning of good versus evil in some respects and left me questioning my own take on who the queen and her people really are! Much the same as John Lennon leaving this world, I cried for the loss of all that love, care, and peace she took with her, a truly beautiful woman inside and out. Another light went out when Lady Diana Spencer died. and what a life to take so cruelly and so suddenly...
Churchill says. . .
We have always found the Irish to be a bid odd. They refuse to be English.
— Winston Churchill
We`re all children at heart!
I remember sherbet pips, spacehoppers, the milkman selling mars bars, Pans People, the teenage mag Jackie, our first stereo, black and white tv, gonks, bar sixes, my dog Tufty, outdoor cigarette machines, the baker who home delivered, the original 70`s clackers (no wonder I`m nuts), singing with my sister, recording top ot the pops on my push play record tape player, having a crush on Jack wild, the bluebell woods, Unifix, manual type writers, pop socks, daisy chains, Catweazle, dancing at the Ratepayer`s hall, drinking Cresta, and a host of other things from my childhood. My family being the key to everything. I was truly privileged to have had such a wonderful upbringing with the most warm hearted, kind and caring parents. We lived in an open door world, full of people with layers, I was looking for fairies in the woods, believing that I would disappear under a willow tree if I stood there after midnight. Nobody questioned trivia, no such word as "inappropriate". The boundaries were fewer and further between.
Growing into the edgy 80`s and living through the decades following it seems a far cry from the wildness of yesteryear! Two world wars fought, for our so called freedom, are to say the least questionable from where I stand. We now have to balance what we say against the risk of offending the faceless bureaucrats. Not smoke indoors, save the risk of being banned from buildings and publicly humiliated, we have to wear seat belts, save the risk of being fined, not be so quick to "capture a moment" on camera of our children being children, less we should offend the ones that see it as something more. We have to bend to the point of breaking to accommodate immigrants,, even those who are not working, and using our resources with no papers. We can`t be seen to be "ageist" "racist" and most every "ist" someone working overtime to pressure us can think up. Where are we in all of this, as individuals? Either baaa baaa ing or being outcast as "different" for having, let alone voicing, our own opinions. The law has become an ass, the NHS, system on red alert and the education system handing out loans to knowledge thirsty students like they are going out of fashion. Future stress heads, worrying, and drinking, and using drugs to escape the harsh reality of what a corrupt trap, our British Government have designed for the next generation. Oops a daisy, can I say sometimes "bollocks" to this beautiful country of ours being robbed by greed and scams, and loaded with hypocrisy?
I have felt that as time passes our freedom to roam has been curtailed. We are one of the most watched countries in Europe if not the world. CCTV is now considered both the curse of and the gaurdian of our land. Helpful for the police where crime evidence is needed but BIg Brother I feel has a hidden agenda, and always makes me feel like I`m on the Truman Show. I wonder how far our government is prepared to go in order to herd its sheep and where will I run to should they capture me..
The sun went down on my childhood when I got woken up to the reality of adulthood.. In my heart, the memories shine eternal and I smile and sometimes even laugh aloud in memory. When you`re wild at heart, you`re a very lucky person to have been born in one of the greatest decades of all time. in such a great country. It shone from the world map like a brave and very special place to be. Let`s not forget our roots, even if a handful of so called leaders are dragging us down a back alley..
Young at heart..
My true queen
- English idioms | Learn English | EF
English idioms, proverbs, and expressions are an important part of everyday English. They come up all the time in both written and spoken English. Because idioms don't always make sense literally, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the meaning
Whispers of the past..
Tea has all the answers..
© 2015 creyativity