There’ll always be an England (perhaps)

My 'positive' posting this week: I have been in Shropshire for a few days, and it was so nice, particularly at this time of year, to be somewhere that really felt like England, and Britain, as I once knew it. I was in Shrewsbury yesterday afternoon, strolling around, and it struck me again what a pleasant town it is – nice old churches, an Abbey, a castle, ancient timbered houses, genuine, old-fashioned tea-shops (instead of endless ubiquitous Starbucks and Cafe Nero's, etc.), a nice Victorian railway station where you can get trains to all sorts of places, a good local market, good old-fashioned schools, the river Severn with lovely meadows and gardens by it; and mostly fairly decent, well-behaved, good-natured, recognisably British people, talking English and behaving in culturally comprehensible ways, everywhere. I actually felt at home again, for once, and found myself wishing I could live there. Ok – nowhere is perfect, and I daresay Shropshire has its share of social and other problems (in fact I know it does), but it's nice to reminded that England, as I understand it, still exists, out there, if you only know where to look. Unfortunately of course it only makes the contrast of Oxford, let alone London, all the more glaring.

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