Purpose of visit: To fulfill a childhood dream – see an English castle.
After examining my visa application and inch-thick supporting documents, the British immigration officer looked me in the eye, “I’m giving you six months.” Spontaneously he encoded his decision into the computer, while I gawked in momentary disbelief.
On a sunny April afternoon I came out of Heathrow in a Mercedes Benz, and my date with beauty and charm began. As England unfolded through the car window, those illustrated storybooks I slept on when I was little came to life.
I used to imagine Rapunzel and Cinderella waiting for their princes in the keep of Windsor. I did not realize Da Vinci’s drawing of the Vitruvian Man is in there too.
Mrs. Weasley composed an award-winning howler when Ron flew the family car over, and almost dropped Harry Potter in the Yorkshire Moors. Hogwarts must be somewhere in its vastness.
The guide in Beamish spoke Geordie. After listening to him without understanding a word, Anne and I followed him inside a coal mine. I would do that again and again if I could break free from rioting students.
A sign above the door of an antique shop in the Yorkshire Dales got me chuckling: No trespassing. Violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again.
After many hours sitting in English literature classes and wondering about this guy whose writings I am required to analyze, Shakespeare finally became easier to picture when I set foot in his home. Signatures of Dickens, Twain, Tennyson and other literary greats who visited the famous playwright’s home awed me no end. I bumped my head on the low ceiling of Anne Hathaway’s cottage. Back to reality girl but worry not. Quaintness warrants quick healing.
I could not decide which held my attention better: the Grinning Skull of Burton Agnes or the manor house at its rear which is older than my country.
At the end of The Shambles is the starting point of a ghost walk. I wanted to join but stayed put at Guy Fawkes as I couldn’t stand the cold. The window is like a picture frame into which part of Northern Europe’s largest cathedral fits.
York Minster’s vesper chimes beckoned me in. I have never experienced such beautiful worship. As choir voices rose to the spires so swarmed goose flesh from my gloved hands to my shivering scalp.
So has my congealed Southeast Asian blood thawed yet? Now if my Muse would poke me.
MUSE @ Sunday Scribbling