We were dropped off at Kenton, a tiny little town northwest of Cockwood, in the afternoon. We started our tour by visiting the church of Kenton. It was a small church, according to the English standard, but it would probably be classified of regular size in Canada. Later I learned that the square tower was a popular feature of many English churches.
We took the little path behind the church, which led us back to the streets. I noticed that some houses had strange lintels and some houses had ripples on their window glass. These were also things I later discovered to be rather common in England. We walked around the town and enjoyed nice flowers in front of houses.
We found a walking path along a little stream, where I tested the settings of my camera. Along the path, we walked into the woods and up the hills, and came across the smallest railway track I had ever seen. And it seemed still in use!
Just when I was about to feel bored, we found ourselves right by a deer park. The trees in the park reminded me of African forests in movies. This was another thing that left me a strong impression—trees.
I remembered watching the making of “The Lord of Rings” a few months earlier. When the director talked about how they managed to find an old-looking tree, I wasn’t very impressed because I couldn’t understand how the appearance of a tree was able to tell its age. Today, in the countryside of England, I understood. The trees here looked like old men who had experienced the hardships of life. You could feel their age just by the sight of them, wrinkles on the bark and lumps on the branches. Incidentally, we found a dead tree that looked very similar to the white tree of Minas Tirith.
It was a gray day and all my photos came out melancholic. From the top of the hill, the landscape looked more English under the gray sky. English country houses have an interesting style, especially the roof, different from any houses I’d seen before.
Here I saw sheep for the first time in real life. They were quite big and round, I mean, fat! On the way back, we also saw horses grazing on the road side.
Our plan was to walk back home, but I was already starving. For the rest of our journey, I kept dreaming, “I wish I could turn into a sheep and eat the grass. When I had enough, I could turn back into a human. How convenient that would be!” “I can see you are pretty desperate.” S looked at me with sympathy.
Finally, we arrived at Starcross, another tiny little town close to Cockwood, and found a Fish ‘n’ Chips. Fish ‘n’ Chips was a type of English fast food, consisting of fried fish and what North Americans called French fries. We ordered some fish without chips, sprinkled with vinegar. It was delicious, like the fried fish I used to have in Shanghai, and it wasn’t expensive. As a fish lover, I definitely liked English fast food better than North Americans’.
Refilled with energy by fried fish, we made it back to Cockwood and found the Cockwood harbor filled with water for the first time since we were here. Hey, high tide!
[Photography © August 6th 2005 Les Nuages]