Wednesday, May 10, 2017

England Forever

  In high school I read an essay by an American living in England. He wrote of the Brit's cockeyed view of America. He was smug about his own knowledge of British geography so he challenged a friend to draw a map of the U.S. The result was ludicrous. Texas was up in Canada. Chicago was a state of its own.
  Now that I'm going to England myself, I realize I don't know Jack about where things are over there. I've read many English novels and never have known exactly where Oxford was, or Cambridge. I recently started reading a history of Great Britain. First the Celts pushed out a people we don't know much about. The Angles, Saxons, and Jutes pushed the Celts over to Wales and Ireland and up to Scotland. They still don't get along. The Vikings came down and plundered for a few centuries then went back. The French came next, or Normans, call them what you will. England's a bloody mess, no doubt about it. Oh, I forgot the Romans. They came for a few centuries too, then went away and left ruins.
  The Romans called the whole place Britannia. In later years the country was divided into places like Northumbria, East Anglia, York, Wessex, the Land of the Five Boroughs, etc., etc.  I haven't gotten to the part about how the present day counties or shires got their names. No matter. When I'm sitting in an English pub this fall and one of the locals says to me "So you voted for that fat bleeder did you." I'll say, "No, I did not." "Prove it," he'll say. "Give me a blank map of the English counties or shires or whatever you call them." He'll call to the publican and in a few minutes I'll have my blank outline map. I'll fill in the blanks, slowly, as his jaw drops.  I'll make a couple of mistakes, put Oxford where Cambridge goes, just so he can feel slightly superior.
  And that's how Anglo-American relations will muddle through.

Counties with attitude

 

1 comment:

Joe said...

Being a colloquial bloke, you must learn the colloquial language. Start here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htjzCIjqKcY