An English heritage

As much as I love all things pale, muted, blurred and hushed,
there’s a side of me that goes weak at the knees
at the sight of musty pubs, tweeds, union jacks, 
umbrellas and all things so very British.

It shows in that goosebump feeling 
when encountering the Alice in Wonderland world
who turns everything upside down 
from painting an elephant blue 
and filling a room with bunny rabbits
to hanging dresses from a tree,
illuminated against a dark sky. 

This penchant goes deeper than
collecting inspiring Britannica images on Pinterest
( here & here )
or revelling in those moments 
cooped up under a blanket
watching Midsomer Murders or Downton Abbey,
a steamy cuppa in hand.

It’s a side that needs cherishing,
with roots entangled in childhood summers
spent raiding my grandma Ellen’s
cupboard of ball gowns,
pantry of freshly baked fairy cakes and custard pie
and jewellery boxes filled with pearl necklaces. 
Her corgi Penny in slumber under the sideboard.
Going  to the market together,
a polo mint to slowly suck on the way 
and the right change 
for the bus fare and merry-go-round 
always ready in her handbag.
(She is now 97 and as vivacious as ever.)
And my dear Papa, Robert,
who would always tell the same jokes,
wiping away the tears of laughter that would collect
in the corners of his eyes.
I will never stop missing him.  

It does make me glad
that this side is still very much present in my life,
with two children, who will also grow up
with a mixed bag of cultural heritage -
one foot in a land of silent lakes, coffee and tranquility,
the other in a land of afternoon tea,
quirkiness and rolling hills. 

In my experience there's a certain restlessness
involved in a life of two cultures,
but it's also a privilege -
a bit like getting to pick out the best bits of each place. 

A bit of a nostalgia trip today it seems :)

Much love, x
Joanna Ulfsdotter said...

I looooved reading this, Rebecca! What a wonderful heritage you have, and are able to pass on; you portray it so vividly that scents and pictures flood into my mind. As you know I'm a complete anglophile myself and only wish I could lay a stronger 'claim' to old Blighty, but at least I've studied English lit and learned to know, and love, so much about these Isles. (It's a good thing I booked a trip to London yesterday, otherwise reading your lovely post would have caused me *pain*! ;)) xx

Merja said...

I can relate, very well, since we are a family of two different heritages as well. My children are enjoying the same benefits as yours :)

Incidentally, I am going to London next Sunday... and very excited about it!!

Chrissy...The Apothecary Shop said...

The best ,most beautiful post I have read in a long time...touched something in me! Thank you,Chrissy

Goa said...

Beautiful post! I was there with you. Thank you ❤

Bruna Miranda said...

I am Brazilian and I just love your blog, every details that fill the eyes and by alma.Obrigada brighten my day, pure source of inspiration.

Anci said...

I like the nostalgia trip ! It's so nice written. And the photos ! And I think that's a good thing to have two cultures inside you.


Rebecca Skye Watson said...

Oooh, Joanna, thank you...
Writing whilst reminiscing conjured up a whole range of aromas in my mind,
but figured this would end up being a novel, if I didn't draw the line somewhere :)
You're going to have a fantastic London escapade
- too long since my last trip,
I think that's exactly why it's been on my mind a lot recently.
As much as I love London there's now also a deep yearning
to see more of the 'real England' next time,
some of the countryside, too.
And most of all spend time with my dear old Gran. x

Rebecca Skye Watson said...

I can't really think of many disadvantages
... well, that certain restlessness that at least
in me has triggered a need to keep nurturing both sides
& spend enough time in both places.
But it's a good type of restlessness.
I'm getting a little jealous here with everyone booked on flights to London :) .

Rebecca Skye Watson said...

And now your words touched something in me... thank you ♡,
I have to say I got a little emotional writing this,
perhaps some of this seeped in between the lines.

Rebecca Skye Watson said...

It makes me happy that you took the time to read through it
... thank you, x.

Rebecca Skye Watson said...

So nice to get a message all the way from Brazil!
Thank you for your lovely, encouraging words.

Rebecca Skye Watson said...

The two cultures is something I don't think about too often,
as it feels so self-evident in a way
and doesn't really show on the outside
apart from in my name.
A sign of perhaps growing older,
but recently it has felt somehow important
to think about one's roots a little more
and reconnect with far-flung family.
Thank you for your kind words Anci! x

michele said...

a mix of cultures is such a beautiful thing! layers. layers of meaning and sensibilities. love how you have expressed the layers today.


Anci said...

I think that the reason why I like your words is that I'm seachering for my own roots. I can have something to do with my age too :)
Thank you !!


Veronica Roth said...

That's very true Rebecca. I was born in Prague, grew up all over Europe and am based between Canada and the UK. My Canadian children are also very European children and speak several languages and live back and forth like I do, But you know, it hasn't hurt them any. :)

Bien chiné said...

There's nothing like the memories and images of childhood. Your personal style comes from this mix.
Beautiful photos and great discovery the book!


Rebecca Skye Watson said...

Layers do seem to work, in everything...
Thank you for your gentle words over here, x

Rebecca Skye Watson said...

What a rich heritage you and your kids have!
So much to reap from now and later on..

Rebecca Skye Watson said...

Thank you so much Nines!
The book was an offer on Amazon that I couldn't quite refuse...
Tim Walker is a star! ♡


When I saw the envelope with stamps, my heart fluttered. Memories of my Nanna came flooding back.
I too and British, married and Italian and my children born in Canada.
I truly miss my homeland.