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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Plucked #1 [20080907|21:01]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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Plucked #1

I seem to have entered a new phase of expatriation, if there can be such a thing. Instead of simply falling starry-eyed for the bright lights of London, I have slowly but surely been developing a deep attachment to England. We went for a long ramble down one of the Roman roads in Cambridgeshire on Saturday. We picked sloes (sour plums the colour of blueberries and only slightly larger), blackberries, rosehips and elderberries. On our way home, we bought one bottle of gin and one of sparkling water. The bloke cooked dinner - new potatoes, fine beans, lamb cutlets cooked in some kind of magical rosemary & garlic gravy - while I sorted fruits and stripped the elderberries off their stems. Custard tarts were consumed. (First time for me. Mmm, nutmeg.) A laborious two hours of sloe-pricking ensued, aided by the consumption of the bottle of sparkling water – and one of red wine. For our efforts, we gained two bottles of gin infused with sloes, which will gradually turn into the kind of deceptively fruity, sweet and quite alcoholic drink that makes everyone loopy right around Christmas.

This probably doesn’t sound like a thrilling day. Struggling against the cold crisp wind, sliding along muddy paths and occasionally falling into a puddle don’t seem onerous when you look across the muted yellow and green fields, when you stand on tiptoe to pick a huge bunch of luscious fruit, or when a sudden gust sets the poplars rustling distinctively. When you arrive home and shed your soggy coat and wet boots and sit down with a cup of tea. When you know that tomorrow morning you’re going to make a magnificent fruit salad to go with the goose eggs you got from the local market. This blustery grey country inspires a kind of quiet enjoyment and appreciation that I haven’t experienced before. I’ve been noisy and busy for a long time, and often I still must be, but I feel England has calmed and gentled me.

Oddly, I don’t seem to mind at all.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: foreverdirt
2008-09-07 20:03 (UTC)
I am filled with (only slightly longing) delight by this post. Thank you for sharing your day.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-09-08 19:39 (UTC)
You're welcome. I won't apologize for inspiring nostalgia, but if there's any homesickness mixed in there, I'm sorry.
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[User Picture]From: dizzykj
2008-09-07 22:08 (UTC)
I haven't had one of those days for ages - thank you for reminding me how lovely they are, and that there are other options for winterey days than staying in!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-09-08 19:41 (UTC)
Ooh, but staying in is so nice too, with the duvets and the films and the hot chocolate. It also has the benefit of being warm.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-09-08 19:42 (UTC)
Ah, but don't forget the benefits of living in the States. Like not having to have 5000 conversations about the weather every day. And Mexican food. And sushi.

Also, toilets that flush reliably.
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[User Picture]From: ironed_orchid
2008-09-08 01:16 (UTC)
It sounds like a lovely day.

Maybe it's not just England, but also the bloke and the settling into the newish relationship. Which are also good things.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-09-08 19:43 (UTC)
I'd be willing to concede that those things help as well.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-09-08 19:45 (UTC)
There's always something new to surprise and delight you. And annoy and puzzle you. Occasionally, all four at once, which is most confusing (but also engrossing).
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[User Picture]From: nimoloth
2008-09-08 11:52 (UTC)
Sometimes, nothing is more satisfying to the soul than the simple things in life. It sounds like a perfect day.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-09-08 19:46 (UTC)
It was. I'm relying on it to keep me happy through a Sunday during which I had to work and a week that promises to be grueling.
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[User Picture]From: nimoloth
2008-09-09 06:48 (UTC)
Just think of the fields and trees waiting for you when you're done. They have the patience of ages.
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[User Picture]From: swerve
2008-09-08 19:38 (UTC)
England sounds so romantic. You make me want to move.

And you sound deeply content, which makes me so happy for you.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-09-08 21:43 (UTC)
I must confess, I didn't really get Jane Austen until I moved here. Now I can imagine Lizzie Bennett wandering past just about every country lane I walk on.
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[User Picture]From: nimoloth
2008-09-10 09:05 (UTC)
Gorgeous picture - is that an elderberry? It looks like a red-currant. I love honesty too when it dried out like that. I think I might go out to Pollok Country Park this afternoon and wander around the woods and go to the house and pretend I'm Elizabeth Bennet.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-09-10 12:49 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that's a red-currant. I got it from the Cambridge Botanical Gardens (it had fallen to the ground, I hasten to add).
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[User Picture]From: taische
2008-09-10 15:00 (UTC)
Living somewhere that seems to test one's ability to fabricate calm or find the odd settings where it might hide organically (while offering other benefits), your post is illustrative of the hope that drives my desire to eventually scatter a few sanctuaries here and there across the world. I miss seasons and the sense of ringing down into gentler states.

Thank you for sharing this!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-09-17 18:35 (UTC)
Random association: The phrase "ringing down" makes me think of cavity ring-down spectroscopy. I used to do an experiment involving that technique myself, and it still amazes me that it works.
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