As much as I love all things pale, muted, blurred and hushed,
there’s a side of me that goes weak at the knees
at the sight of musty pubs, tweeds, union jacks,
umbrellas and all things so very British.
It shows in that goosebump feeling
when encountering the Alice in Wonderland world
who turns everything upside down
- from painting an elephant blue
and filling a room with bunny rabbits
to hanging dresses from a tree,
illuminated against a dark sky.
This penchant goes deeper than
collecting inspiring Britannica images on Pinterest
or revelling in those moments
cooped up under a blanket
watching Midsomer Murders or Downton Abbey,
a steamy cuppa in hand.
It’s a side that needs cherishing,
with roots entangled in childhood summers
spent raiding my grandma Ellen’s
cupboard of ball gowns,
pantry of freshly baked fairy cakes and custard pie
and jewellery boxes filled with pearl necklaces.
Her corgi Penny in slumber under the sideboard.
Going to the market together,
a polo mint to slowly suck on the way
and the right change
for the bus fare and merry-go-round
always ready in her handbag.
(She is now 97 and as vivacious as ever.)
And my dear Papa, Robert,
who would always tell the same jokes,
wiping away the tears of laughter that would collect
in the corners of his eyes.
I will never stop missing him.
It does make me glad
that this side is still very much present in my life,
with two children, who will also grow up
with a mixed bag of cultural heritage -
one foot in a land of silent lakes, coffee and tranquility,
the other in a land of afternoon tea,
quirkiness and rolling hills.
In my experience there's a certain restlessness
involved in a life of two cultures,
but it's also a privilege -
a bit like getting to pick out the best bits of each place.
A bit of a nostalgia trip today it seems :)
Much love, x