I was in love with the country from the moment I stepped outside into the cold and almost constant drizzle. I loved the way the moody pen-and-ink skies would suddenly burst open just long enough to reveal muted golden hues from a distant sun then close again. While Joan flapped her arms like a penguin to keep warm, I reveled in weather so different from what I’d been used to my entire life: sunshine, sunshine, sunshine. From the middle of Africa to Southern California. The cold felt good, energizing, renewing. The picture below is of me on my first day in the pouring rain trying to get to close to two little lambs. I didn’t mind getting soaked at all.
The other thing about England was that I felt like I’d come home; the same feeling I had when I first landed in America. How could that be? But it makes sense. My schooling and the customs I grew up with were almost entirely British, and that’s where most of my ancestors are from—my mother’s father was from London, and my other grandfather was from Scotland. When I told Joan how I felt about England, she hopped on it. “You’re moving here. You can stay with me. First thing is you need to do is re-establish your British citizenry.”
Well, that’s going to be difficult, if not impossible, as I had to give up my British citizenship to become an American citizen. Joan wouldn’t hear of it. She urged me to write to my Uncle Percy in Umlhanga Rocks, South Africa to see if he has any evidence of my parents’ British ancestry. This way I could re-establish my British status and live part of the year in England with Joan. Don’t you just love it?
However, you need to wonder just how long I would last. You see, I’m a bit of an iconoclast. I like to mix it up. While I loved the historic buildings, ancient traditions, quaint shops—some with mannequins from the sixties—and radio programmes that broadcast listeners’ personal birthday and anniversary greetings, to the solid genuineness of the people, I was afraid I might end up finding it stifling. But hey, it would only be for part of the year, right? Well, that’s if Uncle Percy has those documents.