Rural England

England is a compact country of cities, towns, villages, and rural areas that often come up right against each other – little “middle ground” between them. While driving, one minute you may find you’re in a town, and suddenly you are through it and in countryside. The change between urban and rural (and vice-versa) is sometimes startlingly abrupt.

“Endless” suburban subdivisions as one sees in parts of the U.S. are virtually non-existent here. Very few homes have American-sized backyards. People live much closer together, which is probably why they prize their boundary hedges, fences, and generally try to respect each other’s privacy.

One also tends to forget England can be hilly, and with that height sometimes you get a broad view you don’t expect. It sometimes could almost be a painting. For example, here’s our Hertfordshire village from a mile or so away, spread out below:

Our Hertfordshire village, seen from a distance back in August. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Our Hertfordshire village, seen from a distance back in August. [Photo by me, 2016.]

Most communities have a church somewhere in the town or village center, or just around a corner from it. Many are centuries old and are almost always of the state’s official Protestant Church of England denomination. If the buildings are old enough – and many of them are – to pre-date the Reformation and King Henry VIII’s break with Rome in the mid-1500s, that means they had once been Roman Catholic churches:

The parish church, visible amidst the trees back in August. [Photo by me, 2016.]
The parish church, visible amidst the trees back in August. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Until the mid-1800s England saw occasional eruptions of mob violence over religion and poor governance. The reasons were many and complicated and you can read about them elsewhere if you wish. Suffice it to say that, wandering around in 2016, it’s easy to forget it.

All of this around has also caused me to alter Conventions in progress a bit. I realized I wanted more “rural England” in it. As you also may recall, I had a technology disaster the other day – it was a writer’s nightmare, losing several pages of work. I have since largely recovered from it and wrote this afterward: some lighthearted “rural England, mid-1789”:

Sneak Peek from "Conventions." Click to expand.
Sneak Peek from “Conventions.” Click to expand.

Also “old” is some of England’s nature. We passed this huge oak tree on a summer walk near Knebworth House. What age do we think it is?:

A magnificent oak tree. [Photo by me, 2016.]
A magnificent oak tree. [Photo by me, 2016.]

Maybe it was a sappling in 1789?

Have a good day, wherever you are. πŸ™‚

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