We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other.
J. B. Priestley
Western man is schizophrenic.
J. B. Priestley
The Beauty of Britain.
The beauty of our country or at least all of it south of the Highlands is as hard to define as it is easy to enjoy. Remembering other and larger countries, we see at once that one of its charms 1 is that it is immensely varied within a small compass. We have here no vast mountain ranges, no illimitable plains, no leagues of forest, and are deprived of the grandeur that may accompany these things. But we have superb variety. A great deal of everything is packed into little space. I suspect that we are always faintly conscious t fiat this is a smallish island, with the sea always round the corner. We know that everything must be neatly packed into a small space. Nature, we feel, has carefully adjusted things mountains, plains, rivers, lakes, to the scale of the island itself. A mountain 12,000 feet high would be a horrible monster here, as wrong as a plain 400 miles long, a river as broad as the Mississippi. In America the whole scale is too big, except for aviators. There is always too much of everything. There you find yourself in a region that is all mountains, then in another that is merely part of one colossal plain. You can spend a long, hard day in the Rockies 10 simply travelling up and down one valley. You can wander across prairie country that has the desolating immensity of the ocean. Everything is too big; there is too much of it.
The Yorkshire Dales
My favourite country, perhaps because I knew it as a boy, is that of the Yorkshire Dales. For variety of landscape, these Dales cannot be matched in this island or anywhere . A day’s walk among them will give you almost everything fit to be seen on this earth. Within a few hours, you have enjoyed the green valleys, with their rivers, fine old bridges, pleasant villages, hangings woods, smooth fields; and the moorland slopes, with their rushing streams, stone walls, salty winds, crying curlews and white farm-houses; and then the lonely heights, which seem to be miles above the ordinary world, with their dark tarns, heather and ling and harebells, and moorland tracks as remote, it seems, as tracks in Mongolia. Yet less than an hour in a fast motor will bring you to the middle of the manufacturing town, which can be left and forgotten just as easily as it can be reached from these heights.
J. B. PRIESTLEY (1894-1984) Introduction to The Beauty of Britain, 1935 Batsford, London