Posted by: anglopole | July 30, 2008

‘CONSTANT BE’

I started my first adventure in the UK by setting my foot in Dover in 1991. I totally fell in love with the cliffs and the amazingly green lawns all around. Then, I spent most of my first 6-weeks holidays in England, in Stoke-on-Trent, which is in Staffordshire. I liked Staffordshire, but even more so Yorkshire where I hitchhiked to. There, the gorgeous hills, moors and numerous historical places captivated my mind.

In later years, when I was coming to the UK for holidays I visited more counties and was more and more enchanted with the beauty of the country. I suppose the place that has impressed me most in the UK is the Lake District which has truly spectacular views, especially in the autumn. The long hikes in the region are pure pleasure and a perfect way to chill out and meditate about life:-)

Ever since my first visit to England, I wanted to live here. Never did I imagine, however, I would indeed end up here and in a county that is not too known abroad at all. ‘Constant be’, the title of this entry, is a motto of Bedfordshire (taken from a hymn by John Bunyan  To Be A Pilgrim ), where I’ve lived for a few years now. The county is situated in the East of England region and is one of the smaller counties in the UK.

The traditional nickname for people from Bedfordshire is “Bedfordshire Bulldogs” or “Clangers”, this last deriving from a local dish comprising a suet crust dumpling filled with meat or jam or both (I’ve never tasted it and will probably stick to my more exotic tastes!). The irony is that in the county there are no features that I loved so much in my favourite spots in the UK – no hills (proper ones, I mean), no cliffs, no lakes….. Still, I have made myself at home here and I find the county to be a good family place and a perfect spot for commuting to work if the need be.

It is a convenient place to live in some aspects. King’s Cross, London, is just 46 miles south from our village. Stansted International Airport is 35 miles away and Luton Airport is even closer, 15 miles down the road, so to say. The county town is Bedford, where we can go should we feel too nostalgic for city life;-) It is a pleasant river-side town, situated relatively near Oxford and Cambridge. It has at least a few places to see and no end of facilities for cultural and leisure pursuits, like many towns do, really. Here’s where you can have a peek the the photos of the town.

Another relatively big town in the county is Luton, which is not exactly the safest place to live in. Yet, it has many ethnic minorities which makes the place interesting, for shopping (exotic foods, clothes, cosmetics) if nothing else. Also it’s known for the largest one-day carnival in Europe. Some will associate it with the football club, university and the mentioned above airport. I wouldn’t say, however, it’s attractive for tourists in terms of architecture and sightseeing. I personally can do my shopping there or an odd job for some souls needing an interpreter or teacher.

Family wise, the biggest attraction of Beds is Woburn Safari Park or Kids World in Bedford. There are quite a few leisure centres in the area so there is no excuse really not to keep fit! 🙂

Those who like extreme night life usually prefer going to London every now and then to indulge in hardcore clubbing. That in itself tells you that Bedfordshire is more of a rural county, after all. Whether it will stay this way or not….. time will show. I can see the signs of urban life creeping in from every angle, though.

So, have I managed to tickle your curiosity about this hardly known region in East Anglia?


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