Put the kettle on

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a scribbler in possession of a Jane Austen addiction must be in want of an austenish Muse – Hazel in the Glen

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

This entry was posted in Jane Austen, travel / tour and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Put the kettle on

  1. Jae Rose says:

    It was fun to read this..being here all the time you forget how magical castles have remained in writing..you’ll be lucky to find one with a roof in the real world but a little rain never hurts the imagination! Jae

  2. tigerbrite says:

    I am English but have lived most of my life abroad. This piece I really identified with as something that I have experienced before. It reminds me of childhood stories and magic.

  3. I love it when a visitor sees our country in this view. We get so bogged down with the day-to-day that we forget what an amazing place it is. I’ve just spent a week in Scotland, the landscapes are awesome.

  4. Old Egg says:

    Well your muse poked you well. It is great as an ex-patriot to view Britain from another viewpoint. I love going back. It is as if your were able to touch history with your fingertips and your descriptions were delightful. Inside you I can imagine there is so much more to relate. Well done indeed.

  5. Mike Patrick says:

    I was able to enjoy your trip, but now I want to take it. It’s a lovely way you have with words.

  6. Pingback: Mini bus hire in Burton Agnes : Coach Hire in Burton Agnes

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