Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Tuesday, 6 September 2016
Blue remembered hills
Yesterday's post about N v S hit a note with some people which I hadn't expected, but maybe this is because our version of N v S is different than most other countries, and rooted deeply into the class system which most other countries do not have to the same extent.
The closest thing to our class structure must be India, which, as far as I can tell, takes it to an extreme degree whereby it becomes a matter of life and death, but I think that their system may have been grossly magnified by the British during the Empire days.
One thing we all seem to have in common is a deep affection and attachment to the place where we were brought up, assuming we did not suffer a troubled childhood, but usually even if we did. I think that you may have to move away from the place of your birth in order to fully appreciate it, or at least stay there until you are quite old to achieve the same result.
One of the saddest things about the refugees from places like Syria is the way they hang onto fond memories of their childhood environment as it was before it was torn apart through brutal war, and their longing to return, both to their childhood - lived through their own children who will never experience anything like it again - and their homeland.
My memories of 1950s and 60s Surrey are, I believe, quite accurate, and not just seen through rose-tinted spectacles.
I was fully aware of the worst aspects of the rural stockbroker-belt when I was a kid, and had many first-hand experiences of just how nasty some of its residents could be, but it was the land itself which I loved then and still do.
Surrey, like other parts of the Home Counties (why are the counties which border London called 'the Home Counties'?) has a strange and fascinating topography which lays each period of history side by side in plain sight, and the landscape has not been made unrecognisable through relentless agricultural development - mainly because housing has been used as an investment by the rich since the days of Gerard Winstanley. Winstanley lost the battle to save St George's Hill in Weybridge, but there are still hundreds of square miles of proper commonland left, only thirty miles from the capital.
Now you may have an inkling as to why 'A Canterbury Tale' is my all-time favourite film.