Saturday, November 21, 2009

Far from the shores of England

We shipped on board the Maryanne to find a better life
And we walked across the water when she broke up on the ice
We came ashore in Carbonear with nothing but our rights
And I wondered if I e'er again would see my London lights
We were far from the shores of England, far from our children and wives
To play our hand in the Newfoundland where the wind cuts like a knife
We were far from the shores of England

--from "England," Great Big Sea

I went to the Great Big Sea concert tonight. Wasn't expecting to; I snagged another windfall ticket. (I seem to be exceptionally fortunate at picking those up just recently. Thanks again, Tara.) As always, the boys put on a good show... and I don't know this for a fact, but it's possible that they're even more entertaining than usual when they have a pint or two in them before the show starts.

The lyrics above are taken from one of my favorite GBS tunes, "England," written by Séan McCann as a tribute to his English ancestors. It is notable both for its beauty and for the sense of yearning homesickness it inspires, even in those -- like me -- who have never been to England and who have never had a chance to see, let alone miss, the "London lights."

I've wanted to visit England since I was a child. I'm not sure if I can completely explain why; maybe it has something to do with reading too much British kidlit in my formative years. But I've longed to go to London, to see Big Ben and Westminster Palace, to walk across Tower Bridge and watch the water traffic on the Thames, to spend a day in the British Museum and the Tate, to visit the Tower of London and see the crown jewels, to watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, and to walk through Kensington Gardens until I find the statue of Peter Pan. I've yearned for it so much it makes my teeth ache.

On several occasions, it's almost happened. I had saved up enough money to buy a ticket just before Captain Midnight popped the question. There have been times when we've planned to go, only to have some emergency crop up at the last minute. And there's always been something that's come along to siphon off our savings. I'd all but resigned myself to the idea that the most exotic travel destination I was likely to experience in person was Vancouver. (Not that there's anything wrong with Vancouver; I love it. But it's rather like visiting the United States: Alternate History Version, where we never had the Revolutionary War.)

Why do I bring all this up, anyway? Well, a few days ago I mentioned a certain big thing I'd committed to doing.

That big thing was purchasing two round-trip tickets from Seattle to Heathrow.

End of March, beginning of April.

To say I'm excited about this doesn't even begin to cover it.

All we've done so far is buy the airfare. Anyone have suggestions for our week-long stay?

6 comments:

PG said...

I am jumping up and down like a teenager, shouting omigod, omigod, omigod!!!! We must meet up somehow! I am so pleased for you (if you have forgiven me for that video link)
How exciting! Are you going to hire a car? Are you planning to visit outside of London? (We are about a two hour drive away...)

MarieC said...

Congrats! It's been years since Rob and I were there on a BYU Ballroom Dance Company tour. Loved it, didn't get to see enough of it. If you get out of London itself, go to Stonehenge. Truly awesome!

Have a WONDERFUL time!!

Scarehaircare said...

WOOO-HOOO!!! I would be so envious if I didn't lurve you so much.

Soozcat said...

I'd gladly take you with me if I had the means!

tlawwife said...

Very excited for you. We love England and would go every year if we could. I regret not getting to ride the London Eye. My kids did and said it was wonderful.

Soozcat said...

That's another thing I think I'd like to do. Yes, it's touristy. I'm going to be a tourist, so that works out just fine.