Someone teasingly called me an Anglophile the other day, and I was completely startled. “Really?” I said, “Do you think so?”
I suppose I don’t like the word because it sounds like I love England more than I love America, which is not true.
So I had to look around my life, and yes, it’s true that I have an English husband, and he’s the reason for a lot of our quirkily English habits, like the (imported) PG Tips for breakfast, not coffee, and the HP sauce and Branston pickle in our cupboard, the salad cream (not mayo) that he must have to put on his salads in the summer time. Those are for him. Mostly. It’s true I love tea, British tea made with sugar and milk, and drink great gobs of it, but I grew up on tea.
Well, and there is the matter of English history, which I know much better than American history, if I’m honest. American history bored me to cross-eyedness, whereas English history was full of queens and princes and monarchs and swords and moats. I loved historical novels as a girl—of course I would love English history! And then I started writing them, so I had to study those eras even more, the Georgians and the medievals, and then I discovered plague, which is so desperately interesting and not exactly English, but a great force in English history.
It is also true that I love the fact that the English garden, as if it is a national sport. Sometimes, in England, you can visit a garden that is also on the grounds of an old manor house or even a castle. With a moat or a bowling green or some closet that once held a body. I love gardens and flowersand castles. Why wouldn’t I like them all together like that?
And okay, there is the matter of the beauty of those landscapes. I am constantly amazed at the number of people who can be hidden away among the rolling hills, how it can all appear to be completely deserted, only a horse and a couple of sheep occupying the landscape far into the hazy, hilly distance, and then you spy, hiding, a subdivision that must house thousands. st waiting for me?
It’s also a walking land, full of paths steeped in history. I am a walker, thus I love places where I can walk.
Oh, the history, did I mention history? History in every village, across every road. History reaching far, far, far back in the most
interesting ways. To the kings fighting for dominance, to the French invading, the Celts, the whoever else, the barbarians far back. History in layers like the rings on a tree, here and here and here. Standing in a village square, I could, if I had a time machine travel to 100 BC or 1066 or 1348 or 1942. Where else can I touch history like that? The scars of the Blitz, still lingering on buildings? Walk on the battlefield that changed history entirely? Drink in a pub where Shakespeare might have sat?
Pubs. Yes. There are pubs with solid beer in pints, and we all know that I do love ale, and pints of it are absolutely agreeable, even if bartenders always try to talk me into a half-pint, seeing as I am so ladylike and all. I love pubs and pies and fires and dogs. Yes, those things, too.
I ask you, what’s not to like? I’m hardly an Anglophile for loving perfectly fascinating things, am I?
CR says I am an Anglophile because I can’t see the forest for the trees. That forest, according to him, is that England Is A Cold Wet Miserable Country. He’s a Coloradophile.
Are you an Anglophile, like me? Or another sort of -phile?