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Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

We've (wife 'n kids) just come back from 10 days in England, spent mostly in the south-west.
Our rented house was just west of Salisbury, where the villages are packed with thatched cottages - very picturesque.
Day trips to Bath, New Forest, Shaftesbury, the Jurassic coast, Lacock, Winchester, Moors Valley, Stonehenge and Avebury. There was loads we missed out.
I can highly recommend it - my daughter came back "feeling more English than Polish" (a first for her!).
We loaded up on books and still cider, and bought some clothes too. (Children's shoes (young teens) are a problem in Poland.)
I enjoyed eating Cornish pasties and muffins - welcome blasts from the half-forgotten past.

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

How old is your daughter?

How long has she lived in Poland?

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

She's 12 and has been here since 1999.
Identity is a recurring theme - I tell them they aren't truly English or Polish but the best of both!

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

Was not that impressed with my recent dorset trip. It rained all saturday and we ended up having an indian in dorchester. On Sunday we saw thomas hardys cottage and it was a bit nicer weatherwise, but I'd say that lytton cheyney was less refined than I expected....lots of ruddy faced leering men in the only pub in the village.

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

I like this part of England the most. A mix of refined people with money and traditional country people. Tranquil and beautiful. Lots of ruddy faces as you say. Cider?

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

ruddy faced country yokels I think. Definitely belong to the Pure Drop inn in Marlott in Hardy's Tess.

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

The problem I had was a lack of time to do all the things on offer!
It's one of the most rewarding places to visit in England - you simply have to do your internet research before you go.
Also, being based in Salisbury, I could take day trips to a wide variety of places inside and out.
Last year I did the same thing with Cambridge - equally brilliant.
The year before was York.
Don't know about next year - time for a change, as that hackneyed old Obama Bin Biden says.

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

I don't think anything can beat the lake district Varsovian. Dorset is great in the lulworth cove, Swanage, new forest area.

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

Ah, rugged beauty, without the altitude problem. I must admit that area attracts me a lot - it's just I know it very well, coming from West Yorkshire it wasn't a million miles away.

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

Do you have the accent Varsovian? Ey up and all that!

Well the other great option is the peak district. Another favourite of mine. Or failing that the west coast of wales has no end of charms.

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

No, I don't have a proper West Yorkshire accent!
You have to be working class for that ... and I'm as middle class as they come (which made me part of a persecuted minority)

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

I think having the hint of a northern accent is charming and not at all working class. Maybe 100 years ago...

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

In my home town I am always being asked where I come from.
To have the real local accent in most places in England you have to be either working class or a farmer (if there are any of them left now).
I have a nondescript Yorkshire accent, but I can tell Dewsbury from Wakefield, no problem. Different valley.

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

Well I didn't mean a thick local dialect nobody can understand, just the hint of an accent combined with a smattering of oft used local phrases not used elsewhere.

Many northerners insist they have no accent when in fact they do.

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

Doesn't a northern English accent have a negative image in England?

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

Not to my knowledge. Cockney accents probably have more negative stereotypes in the media.

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

Yes, Hans, you're right. Even my nondescript Yorkshire accent attracts comments.

Most Brits are town dwellers and most Northern towns are very working-class. So, with Northerners, you have this unhappy mix of class and regional antipathy.

Being a middle-class Northerner confuses everybody! It also leaves you with mixed feelings. You try to have some regional loyalty despite being openly rejected by the the majority in your "home" region.

To rub salt in the wounds, I spent 4 years living in an ex-social housing development (ex-"council estate") in Tonbridge, Kent. It was very working class, but I felt at home for the first time in my life - the Northern working class profoundly hate the middle class and let them know it. Southerners can be much more civilised. When I refer to my "home town", it is like Metternich said "only a geograghical expression".

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

Oh - I have occasionally used 'funny' words:
laking = playing (you lake footie)
ginnel = a sort of path
bairn = child
thee and thou - in normal use in some places in Yorkshire. I didn't have to explain the concept of "tu" and "vous" in my teaching practice school.

We have regional pronunciations ("hoss" instead of "horse") but dialect is mostly dead.

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

In that case I guess I've known too many middle class northerners. In my experience they usually have old fashioned values and a work ethic.

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

That's what I thought.

Our English neighbor/friend recently lent us a 1980s TV series called Boys From The Black Stuff on DVD. Grim places and people.

I haven't seen much of Northern England, except for one week in the Lake District about 20 years ago and a week in the Pennines more recently. No first hand knowledge of large northern cities.

I like the south west, parts of Wales, and Scotland.

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

I recently had some fun reading a book called Lorna Doone. Great examples of Somerset dialect :)

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

"Our English neighbor/friend recently lent us a 1980s TV series called Boys From The Black Stuff on DVD. Grim places and people."

I would not base any opinions on 1980s tv shows. This is exactly what americans do. Many northern towns were redeveloped in the 90s and have quite nice city centres now. There are pockets of middle class affluence in most northern towns that far surpass London in their luxury and decadence.

On the other hand you have areas of deprivation that equally surpass London and the south east. There is a very distinct gap between rich and poor.

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

A think tank recently came up with a plan to close down northern cities like Liverpool, because they were hopeless as going concerns!! A good tourist day out though - enough things of interest to see.

Elephant and Castle (south London) is definitely more depressing!

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

Something about people from the north of England

Britain's north/south divide: Hand washing?

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - People in the north of Britain are three times as likely to have hands contaminated with fecal bacteria than their compatriots in the south, scientists studying toilet hygiene said on Wednesday.

Researchers swabbed the hands of 409 commuters waiting at bus stops outside railway stations in five cities in Britain and found traces of fecal bugs on more than a quarter of them (28 percent).

Just 13 percent of commuters at London's Euston Station had contaminated hands, compared to 44 percent of those surveyed at Newcastle Central Station, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine study found.

Val Curtis, director of the school's Hygiene Center, said she was surprised by the findings.

"The figures were far higher than we had anticipated, and suggest that there is a real problem with people washing their hands in the UK.

"If any of these people had been suffering from a diarrhea disease, the potential for it to be passed around would be greatly increased by their failure to wash their hands after going to the toilet."

Infectious intestinal diseases are among the biggest killers of children worldwide, while lack of adequate handwashing may be partly responsible for current high levels of hospital-acquired infections, the researchers said.

The study found little geographic variation in the cleanliness of women's hands, with 27 percent overall found dirty

But among the men surveyed there was a clear rise in hand contamination from the south to the north.

Just 6 percent of the men swabbed at Euston were found with fecal bacteria on their hands compared to 53 percent of those at Newcastle Central Station, a nine-fold difference.

In Cardiff the figure was 15 percent, in Birmingham 21 percent and in Liverpool 36 percent.

The researchers said they could see no obvious reason for the regional trend and said further study was needed.

"We therefore propose further investigation of the hypothesis that hands are washed more often or more thoroughly in the south of the UK relative to the north, and that male and female handwashing rates differ geographically."


Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

Yes but was this survey based on swabbing people before or after they had been on public transport? If it was after then it's not so much to do with personal hygiene as with the state of hygiene on the trains and train operator maintenance of cleanliness.

I am very careful to wash my hands after being on the train if I've had to hold the handrail. One of the first things I do when I get into work is wash my hands and same when I get home. I don't know where the hands that have touched the rail have been! One of the easiest ways to avoid spread of disease is to simply wash your hands if you touch anything someone else has touched. I also wash my hands if I've been handling money, a newspaper or in particular petting an animal (particularly dangerous not to wash your hands after that as some animals carry all sorts of nasty diseases in their coats).

I recently went out for the evening in a pub where the gents toilet was closed for refurbishment so ladies and gents had to share the ladies (eek). There was a man in the next cubicle and I was waiting for him to leave the ladies before leaving my cubicle (as I felt he might be a bit embarassed) so was waiting for the hand washing noises but he just finished his business and walked straight out. Glad I wasn't having to shake his hand after that! You don't see women leaving the ladies toilet without washing their hands. So maybe these women with the dirty hands had been holding their boyfriend's or husbands mucky paw.

Re: Wiltshire/Dorset/dose of Englishness

Have you ever been to Newcastle?

Thought not.

It's a bit rough ... they put a university there to see how many students could get beaten up by the locals.