Just Call Me Gulliver

At 6’1″ in my stocking feet, I am, without question, tall. Even in the USA, most men don’t top six feet, and it’s rare (my beautiful step-daughter notwithstanding) that I encounter a woman my height.

So it’s little wonder that while traveling, I often feel like Gulliver among the Lilliputians. The British, like the French, are a short lot. I have to venture into Germany or one of the Scandinavian countries before I begin to see fellow Gullivers.

It’s no surprise, then, that staying in a house built over 400 years ago presents some challenges for someone who isn’t vertically challenged!

Mainly, it’s the doors.


If I forget to duck, I take the top of the doorframe square in the forehead. Not a problem during the day, but would you always remember to duck on your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night? Neither do I.

Then there’s the aga. Old homes in Britain feature these gas-heated stoves called “agas.” They are positioned where kitchen hearths once resided.


The agas are on all the time, so the heating surfaces and oven stay VERY hot. It’s a really great appliance for a damp climate. But tall people, beware! You have to bend over and reach under to raise the lids to expose the heating surface. It’s an awkward — potentially searing — angle for us Gullivers.

Small people have small clothes and small machines to wash and dry them. How many large pairs of jeans with 36″ inseams can fit? About two. Yea…it takes a long time to do laundry here.


Dryers in Europe are interesting. Essentially, they remove the water from the clothing and collect it in a removable plastic tank which you have to empty after each use. Never thought too much about the inner workings of clothes dryers until I began doing laundry in Europe!

Showers and tubs can be on the small side, too. Luckily, the one we’re using here is nice and roomy by European standards.


Now when it comes to pear trees (minus the partridge in this case), Gullivers like me have a distinct advantage.


I didn’t even need a step, much less a ladder, to pluck some fruit from this tree. Okay, so John had to get a step to reach the top ones…but you get my drift.

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