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Notes on the Geography of The United Kingdom: The Power of the Past

Why do the Brits refuse the Euro? You don't have to conduct a poll or commission a battery of social scientists. Just take a look around their country.

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Winter morning at Towersey, east of Thame, southeast of Oxford. The old buildings (the dark one was once a barn) are now living quarters, meticulously modernized inside but carefully preserved on the outside.

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The Towersey village church, locked up tight during the week.

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Christmas Eve hymns.

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In the churchyard, a relic of empire.

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Some miles south of Towersey and closer to the M25, the grim manse of Benjamin Disraeli, Lord Beaconsfield.  As prime minister, he arranged to give Victoria the title Empress of India.

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A tiny church in the village called Gatwick, which was mostly cleared to make an air field.  Like Heathrow, Gatwick was originally for military use.

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A plaque commemorates that event.

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The old canals, ruined long ago by the construction of railways, are now amenities.

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Wives lose a few pounds by opening and closing massive lock gates.  Husbands do the serious business of steering--and ruminating on Britain's former greatness.

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Enough of this! Time for the real England, the England ripping out hedgerows, bringing in combines, and doing its best to escape the stranglehold of tradition.

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Hard to believe: round bales in Ye Merrie Olde England.

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But even here, in a country where you can buy big rolls of moisture barrier, people still top it up with ephemeral, traditional thatch. The Euro? Not this week.


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