In preparation for our trip I’ve been excited to review the stereotypes I carry around in my head about England – so that I can thoroughly enjoy busting them with reality.
What do I know about England through the lens of literature, pop culture, movies and TV?
I grew up on The Chronicles of Narnia and have Turkish Delight firmly lodged in my mind as a problematic food item to be avoided on all menus handed to me by white witches.
I know that classism is a big problem; Richard Sharpe, Poldark, Bronte, Dickens, Austen, Elliot and every BBC show ever made has me on edge that I may run into a terrible legacy of social exclusion, especially if I’m seen wearing jeans.
I know that copper mine ownership in Cornwall is financially problematic and really hard on your relationships. We are not going to Cornwall or to any mines.
Magic is everywhere and can be found in the most unexpected places.
Everyone in England finds love and attempts to marry that love, but folds to social pressures in the end – taking a spouse based on political arrangements. If anyone attempts to buck the social order and marry for love, they will certainly die of a disease or be crushed in a cart accident. Through this well documented media narrative I know that no one in England is in love – they are just long-suffering.
Everyone in England is painfully polite. Long time friend and dual citizen Laura Good says otherwise. I guess I’ll find out…especially after I ask people about their loveless arranged marriages.
I know that if you are going to be murdered in the English countryside it will only be along a coastal cliff or on a moor. In London everyone dies from hideous injuries inflicted by supernatural creatures…in an alley. We will be avoiding all three of those places to ensure our safety.
I have a hundred little details rattling in my head regarding safaris, being on campaign, imperialism, pimps, tea, pith helmets, robbing the ancient treasures of others, royal families and the whistling tune from bridge over the river Kwai.
…and the Danes. Lots and lots of Danes. I’m not sure what to do with that information.
Damn it, now I have that whistling tune stuck in my head.