A beautiful sunset is taking place. I am sitting with the tent door open, trying to figure out how to get energy enough to write anything readable. The girls are both sleeping and it is just after 9 p.m. But we have had quite a demanding day. We have entered the Cotswolds, so it is gently rolling hills and a road which snakes through the picturesque landscape all dominated by private land. Swedes, you don´t know how lucky you are, Allemansrätten is true freedom and this just doesn´t exist in England. We need to keep it as it is, Swedes! I find this concept of private land belonging to the 15th Century. This is one huge difference between Scandinavia and England, otherwise there´s very few I think. One thing I have noticed is the love and romancing of nature is as big in both countries. (Yes, I see all the Scandinavian countries as quite similair.)
Once again, we have been unfortunate not to have a deceant shoulder to walk on, so we are kind of pushed into the fast traffic, which makes us all a bit worried. On and off, there´s something resembling a shoulder, but it makes going very hard. The English roads just ain´t made for strollers! Or prams as they´re called here. Some drivers don´t like us there on the road, but most say nothing. Something I would consider very English now. People generally nod, smile, talk weather and than get on with life. I think they just want to be left alone, doing their daily routines as they have done for quite some time, most of them. But not all.
Joe Hawkins the landscape artist and maximum human being at Hagley Hall was an exception. He resembeld quite a lot of what I expected to come across on this journey as regards to the English. Slightly eccentric (in a very good way), with strong opinions, a giant will power to live a life they have chosen and beeming with the wisdom given by life. I miss his company a lot. He felt like a brother to me. Never a boring second with him. Just like most time in immigrant neighboorhoods in Birmingham, Leicester or Moss Side in Manchester. I had an email from my wife who said Moss Side was dead right now during Ramadan. All shops closed. I miss my Somaliland friends a lot! Yes, I have seen quite a lot, so passing through Shakespear´s Stratford Upon Avon, didn´t move me a lot. Picturesque, a traditional tourist town, impersonal and quite lifeless. It was good moving on, but Dana rocked the street, see clip below!
Punctures have otherwise dominated our trip from Hagley Hall. But this is of course part of it all and we are on top of the problem. However, as in the case with Dana´s total lack of embarresment or lack of fear, I love to see how quickly she is picking up everything that deals with this Expedition life. She gets really, really frustrated if she can´t be part of it all. I mean all. Putting up tent, assembling the stove, fixing the puncture, checking the rim and tube, and valve for faults….my love for her is endless. Most of all I love her attitude when things are a bit hard, she smiles, jokes and laughs. What a privilige and joy it is for me. This is the best time of my life!
Travelling with Georgia is also a big joy. She is very hard working, thoughtful, intelligent, strong, funny and has become a very dear and good friend of mine. She defends the English traits I sometimes think are not necessary and always makes a point. Perfect partner!
We are pushing hard now. For three reasons. Meeting three good old friends who really can give perspective on the English and people with these skills are just very much in demand. Plus, that even though this part of England really is picturesque, it defenitely isn´t the most interesting, warm and faschinating area. But we have met quite a few very nice and deceant English folks. Actually most of them! There´s no doubt, the English are an easy going lot. But just as the Swedes, trying to be perfect. In my book that is both dangerous and boring. I am not very much for everything being perfect on the front….I am beginning to believe that I do my best work in places where people still realize that nobody is perfect.
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© Copyright 2014 Explorer Mikael Strandberg | Photos and texts Copyright Explorer Mikael Strandberg