“Half memoir, half travel, A Yank Back to England...is an absolutely wonderful book, not only about going home again but also about love and family and tradition and the passage of the years.”
—Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic (Washington
Post)
To see the entire quote, click here.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

It's not the Med, is it, Denis?

Somerset Maugham renamed Whitstable “Blackstable” in one of his first novels. He had grown up here and hated the place. I understood. Visiting the seaside in the summer is nothing like living there year-round. I remembered the sea around the British coastline as mostly mackerel gray, offset by startling blue skies in the summer. But when it rained, or threatened to rain, the grayness was omnipresent, inescapable. Although it was not raining now, the air was damp and chilly.
“June the first,” I said. “All looks a bit bleak.”
“Well, it’s not the Med, is it? This is England. Denis, you are so funny.”
As we approached the harbor area, however, the bleakness softened a bit, with hints of sunlight again piercing the dulled silver sky.

6 comments:

THE PARIS HOUSE said...

we are having such a rainy bleak summer here in the Northeast. Rain and gray skies for 6 days and then possibly sun for a day or so. I am determined to perservere through it and pretend I am an English gardener living in the glorious Cotswalds. My garden is loving this rain

The Prodigal Tourist said...

Must admit, our garden has enjoyed all the rain we've had too. Hopefully that's it now though!

Michelloui said...

When I first arrived in Britain it rained for two weeks. But I was enchanted by everything so that misty, chilled to the bone wet summer with green everywhere is a good memory. I dont like the rain so much now (prefer it over the wind) but my strategy is to try to remind myself 'how enchanting everything is in this weather!'

However, I agree that enchantment at the seaside is an especially difficult challenge in the rain.

The Prodigal Tourist said...

Actually, I must admit, we usually have lovely weather when we're in England. As you can see in the photo, the sun did come out. It was cold though--look at that sweater--but just a few days later we were in shorts!

willow said...

I would take that kind of glorious bleak any day of the week!

Maggie said...

Now, you truly make rain and bleak sound glorious and magical.