Our story begins in Great Britain, an island twenty-one miles west of continental Europe. Its location and geographical features have made it prone to invasion.
Or -- if you're Winston Churchill -- you might try this:
Our story centres in an island, not widely sundered from the Continent, and so tilted that its mountains lie all to the west and the north, while south and east is a gently undulating landscape of wooded valley, open downs, and slow rivers. It is a very accessible to the invader,whether he comes in peace or war, as pirate or merchant, conqueror or missionary.And now I'm off to transfer the laundry, gently undulating in the washer, into the dryer.