Oh England, my Lionheart* or, falling in love again

There have been complaints…

That I am not blogging…

Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed writing the blog but, it was called, “Gandalf on Tour” and the clue is clearly in the name. Gandalf is no longer on tour. He is currently parked up on our drive having a well-earned rest and I kinda stopped blogging. Problem is, I miss it too. Not just the adventure but the writing too.

I would like to continue but I need to think how I will get round the blog title conundrum. Please comment if you have any suggestions. Before you do though please remember, I can’t change the name of the blog. I just have to think how my ramblings can still relate to the name without actually being on tour.

Anyway. I shall now bore you with activities since our return from North Wales to date(ish)…

First off, it’s Christmas and I LOVE Christmas. The instant we got back we bought a tree. It was up and decorated by the 2nd December. We [Read: “I”] have 161 Christmas songs loaded and ready to go. Mrs P has to suffer this 8 hours and 46 minutes of festive tunage pretty much on permanent loop until about the 6th of January.

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We love our Christmas tree

Christmas does however bring me to my first rant of the Christmas season.

RANT ALERT!

Mrs P and I went to buy a couple of Christmas cards for those special people in our lives, parents etc. We went to multiple card shops. What I’d like to know is whatever happened to Christmas cards that say, I don’t know, let me think of an example… oh yes. How’s this?

‘Merry Christmas’

Since when did all cards have to have an addendum to that of, ‘Sister’, ‘Brother’, ‘Mom & Dad’, ‘Second cousin twice removed.’? I’m not joking when I say that there was one that was for, ‘A great son and his fiancé ‘. What’s next, ‘To some nice people who I met on a cruise round the Mediterranean in 1997’?

Personally I just want to write inside the card something like, ‘To Rosie & Jim’. I like to think that they are intelligent enough to work out where they fit in my social circle or family tree.  I mean, are people’s so stupid as to think, on opening a card…

Rosie: “Look Jim, we got a card”

Jim: “Wow! Very exciting. Who could it possibly be from?”

Rosie: “I’m not sure, there’s certainly no clue on the front”

Jim: “Are there any clues on the envelope?”

Rosie: “Not a one.”

Jim: “Post mark?”

Rosie: “No, it was delivered by hand.”

Jim: What, just pushed through the door?”

Rosie: “No, it was handed to me by Kevin from next door. You know, he’s married to Sam.”

Jim: “Well, I’m blowed if I can work out who it’s from. Any clues inside the card.”

Rosie (Opens card and peers inside): “Just two names, Kevin & Sam.”

Jim: “Oh, I think it’s from our neighbours. If only they had bought a card saying on the front, in big gold letters, ‘To our neighbours.’ Then we wouldn’t have had to spend so much of our valuable time opening the card to read the inside. I shall put our house up for sale in the New Year. We can’t possibly spend another Christmas living next to such insufferable people.”

Perhaps the one about Son and fiancé is valid though. Particularly if said son is a bit of a playboy.

Needless to say, the cards with no relationship addendum were bloomin’ awful. I’m drawing cards myself next year.

RANT ENDS

I always draw a card for Mrs P by the way…

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Mr & Mrs P undercover at Christmas (Image protected by copyright)

Anyway, it’s not all been about Christmas (Yes it has), I applied for a few jobs and was even approached by a company who found me via LinkedIn. Unfortunately, they were offering a full time role and I don’t want to play that game anymore. I’m beginning to think that 25 days holiday a year is cruel and unnecessary). Contracts or part time from now on (says the man who has to pay the bills with hopefully not misplaced confidence).

Aside from this Mrs P and I have both been a bit lost, dazed, shell-shocked, bewildered and other adjectives that describe the sense of otherworldliness (I think I may have just made that word up or at least spelt it wrong) that one feels after such a trip. Please don’t feel sorry for me, I still don’t have to get up to go to work, I don’t get the Sunday evening blues and there is no mid-week hump to negotiate. We do have bills to pay though so…

Anyway, time for a change of subject I think before the blues descend again.

Mrs P and I are sulking a bit (quite a lot actually) about the greyness of England after being in Europe all summer and Spain was of course beautiful in the Autumn. Autumn is usually my favourite time of year in the UK but this year it was feeling distinctly grey, cold and wet. I needed to fall back in love with this sceptered isle, this precious stone set in the silver sea. Unfortunately I have been far from thinking it the envy of less happier lands†. 

Time for a long bike ride to remind myself what is such a big deal about This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England†.

With this in mind I set off for a 50 mile spin through, Berkshire, Oxfordshire taking in the Chiltern Hills. A cool, dry and windless, if somewhat grey, day saw me pedalling up through the town that boasts (Boasts!) Theresa May and George Cloony as residents and out towards Watlington in Oxfordshire. Lovely to have the roads to myself. Everyone at work.

Climbing out of Watlington towards the beautifully named Christmas Common I finally started to feel the love for England in December. The browns of the fallen leaves, the russet of the ferns that have died back meeting the almost fluorescent green of the moss along the bank at the roadside. There are myriad other shades of green across the fields and into the distance. From the lichen encrusted tree trunks to the dew covered grass. Oh, hark at me, I’ve gone all Thomas Hardy (I wish!). Anyway, it is beautiful. even if the myriad shades of green are juxtaposed by the odd flash of discarded crisp packet, Red Bull can and banana skin (stop throwing them in hedges they take YEARS and even decades to degrade!).

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There’s even a Christmas shop!

Enough from me for now. I’ll be back with more soon though.

Incidentally, show of hands, who would be interested in the travel stats? Mileage etc?

* Kate Bush (1978) 

William Shakespeare, Richard II

One thought on “Oh England, my Lionheart* or, falling in love again

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