Our first night in England, I suggested a walk to see the area after we had our tea. We traversed narrow public walkways through an area of rowhouses and even a thatched cottage; we saw sheep, goats, cows, horses, and even a sign that read Bull in Field.
My aunt said it was probably a ruse to keep trespassers out since no bulls ever appeared.
“Watch the brambles,” my aunt said. “They hurt.”
As we continued our walk through wildflowers and distinct little houses, I excitedly pummeled my aunt with stupid questions.
“Is this a village? A town? The country? Or a — what izzzz this place?”
“A town,” she replied, leaving out the duh.
I lived in a town and never saw farm animals in back yards so I was impressed.
Falling in step with my mom later, she said, “Don’t touch the brambles.”
The next morning, I opened the door and smelled a distinct odor. Animals.
“It’s the country for you,” my aunt said.
So we were in the country. How exciting! On my last two trips to England, I stayed in London. I hadn’t been in the English countryside for over a decade.
On another walk, I read signs for the village of Wembdon. A village–even better!
Signs read Cottage this and Cottage that. How much more English could you get than cottages in villages in the countryside? I read signs for Cottage Lane, Cottage Inn, and Cottage Guns. What? Hold on. Cottage guns? Somehow that didn’t fit my vision of English cottages. Do they just slap the cottage title on anything or is there actual meaning behind it?
On a walk later that day, may other aunt said, “Mind the brambles. They will hurt you.”
Now I’m wondering what the bloody hell are brambles?