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munky travel




There is magic in England. Yesterday we drove to Manchester from Nottingham. It was not a long drive, about 2 hours, give or take 15 minutes. Part of the time we were on highways, but at times these would cut through fields of lush green, occasionally spotted with black-and-white cows - the kind you see in New Zealand dairy advertisements - or sheep.

It is very easy to see why England is the home of fairies, elves, and the like. The landscape here is far and away the most magical, even the plants seem to have funny little secrets hidden away. As we drove past a field of grazing sheep I saw one shaking its head - presumably to disengage an annoying insect lodged in its ear - and I imagined them dancing across the field at nightfall.

The English countryside is brimming with varieties of flora, most of them green and indistinguishable from each other at first, but on closer inspection one sees the small fronds on this one, the delicate-shaped leaves of that one. You can imagine how exciting it must be to wander through the fields in search of the elusive - and fictional? - four-leafed clover. I wonder if the anticipation is not made greater by the discovery of previously unknown species.

And it isn't just the greenery. Even the flowers themselves seem to be more vibrant. They are spread gloriously across the countryside, sometimes covering entire fields, sometimes growing in small clumps near a fence or in the shade of a tree. A few of these rebel, solitary flowers surrounded only by grass, but you know within a few weeks these would have found themselves companions, and they would overrun the plainer grasses.

I watched the fields whizz by, the greens changed from dark to light to pale to gold. I imagined the warm sun beaming down on the land, the smell of fresh grass and morning dew; I couldn't help it, I nearly cried. The English landscape is beautiful, it is magic. All the paintings I have seen do it little justice, it is exactly how imagined it, reading Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen and (when I was much younger) Enid Blyton.

Every time I thought of how beautiful it was and my heart ached terribly, because I knew it would not last; it was simply a matter of time we made it disappear as well.

- finland
- germany
- scotland
- france
- italy

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