It's easy to get lost in London. When I'm here I almost forget that this isn't really representative of England as a whole. So it comes as a small shock every time I venture out into the countryside to see just how... English England really is.
Before I came here I watched more than my fair share of BBC dramas, but I always assumed the quaintness of the English country was overstated. It wasn't. All the pubs and cottages and well-dressed elderly people are right there, in villages barely two miles apart with names like Sweetshire and Comfortsford.
In the evening of my first day in the forest, the dog and I went for what was meant to be a casual stroll across the commons, an hour tops and home in time for supper. But the trees lured me in and before I knew it I'd done a Little Red Riding Hood on myself and gotten totally lost, forgetting that just because there are no creatures armed to kill in England doesn't mean wandering off the path into unfamiliar territory is a terribly clever idea. Two and a half hours later I found my way home, and the next day I decided the whole experience was charming (as opposed to just plain tiring) and repeated it in a different stretch of wood.
On the plus side, the lack of people meant I could play all I liked with my self timer. And I saw a lot of deer. A walk in an English forest is so captivatingly different to walking through the Australian bush. It was almost enough to make me want to move out to the countryside one day. Almost.