Monday, August 03, 2009

The beauty of England...

..the countryside, the sea washing up against a pebbly beach, a village church with flowers and ribbons around the gate for a wedding, rain descending in a white mist over Exmoor...it all ought to feel timeless and secure, yet somehow it has a fragility about it, a vulnerable feeling. It's not just the terrible bashing that rural life has had in the past five to ten years - the destruction of family farms, the closure of village schools, the drunken louts gathering in towns to shriek and vomit and fight on weekend evenings. It's an underlying sense of a loss of confidence in this way of life: an are-we-allowed-to-celebrate-this? feeling over old customs and traditions, a loneliness in the recognition that things which ought to be natural and accepted now need to be defended (and against who? Usually not an external enemy).

At the practical level, our weekend was fun - camping in a damp field, cooking bacon-and-eggs on an open stove, an overcrowded church with damp families at Mass and spilling out into the porch, a glorious concert in a packed hall at a successful Music Festival. We had happy family gatherings, went blackberry-picking on a suddenly glorious afternoon, tea in a cottage garden, talk of riding-lessons and recipes for fruit-cake and golly-haven't-you-grown with a newly tall young relative...

But there's a sadness in Britain at the moment, and it's not because of economic matters, or even the war in Afghanistan, or a sense of futility about the hopelessness of the present Government. There's something deeper, a loss of confidence in the joy of the essence of things...

5 comments:

Patricius said...

I know exactly what you mean. England is an old country, so fair, so peculiar even; and yet this is spoilt by the idiocy of modern government...I think the only thing to do is to escape into good English literature, into prayer and the Mass most fundamentally. Offer it up to God and forget for a brief while the dreadful doom of modern life!

Anonymous said...

It is what seems to be a sad goodbey-does this mean we all have resigned ourselves to it?

Edward P. Walton said...

It all sounds like Tory nostalgia.

Anonymous said...

Hi Joanna, am just curious to know whereabouts you stay in Exmoor. It is my favourite place in the world (well, everywhere I've visited anyway!).

St. Joan said...

Stop moaning and do something
even if it requires militant action
Otherwise consider everything you
cherish lost.