"They called him "a country boy" at school despite his white face and slight, nervous appearance. The Fulham kids named him so because his speech gave him away. Swede and turnip speech. But, the newcomer found it impossible to explain, he came from a hilly, green and lovely certainly, yet coal-mining part of England, on the border of Wales. The Forest, the land on its own. Not just the country." - Dennis Potter.
There’s no clean way to uproot a young boy from the countryside, and transplant him in an urban environment. Oh he’ll survive, but only because nature has a way of forcing adaptation. And the chemical changes, the cooler climate, unexpected levels of acidity, all play their part in temporarily stunting his growth. It may be several seasons before he shows any significant signs of blooming.
Contending with his new growing ground is one thing, but having the colour of his expression repeatedly trampled on is quite another.
In the nurturing confines of his classroom, this country boy was tended by a tired individual. Her once green fingers now glowed pink from all the poking and prodding of sub-standard specimens. She was enduring her own private drought. Stale, and wrapped in tweed, she sought to stimulate the country boy with liberal doses of ridicule. Her potted prize-winners spread out from where his feet were forced to the seat of a chair. The uniformity and cultivation of those about him, sealed his fate.
Like Potter, I found it impossible to explain, I came from a green, wooded, wonderful part of England. A place that was the land on its own. Not just the country.