I know how the green woods laugh

Sunday, April 8th, 2007 | countryside | No Comments

It was the perfect start to Easter Sunday, a walk out along the farm track at the bottom of the paddock. The track leads along by fields of bright yellow oil seed rape, blue sky above and the warm sunshine beating down on the cracked earth.

We walked along to the end of the track and then up and around the fields, before picking our way through the yellow to a patch of woodland. Under foot the branches cracked, primroses, celandines and bluebells a carpet under still leafless trees. There was no noise at all but the bird song and hum of bees. And there we stood soaking it up and dreaming, my boy and I.

spring cycling

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007 | countryside, spring | No Comments

On Saturday, whilst the weather was still warm and the sun was shining brightly, I took a wander into town with my boy for a spot of breakfast. We sat down in one of the window seats in The Dorset and people watched whilst I munched on eggs benedict. We talked bikes. I had decided, a day or so before, that a new bike was the way forward. I used to cycle around the countryside as a kid, and teenager, but after I passed my driving test all thoughts of such exercise were banished – the car reigned free!

I still love my car, it’s beautiful and is especially so in the summer months when I take down the top and speed off along country lanes, dual carriageways and the like. But there is something rather lovely about cycling along on a spring afternoon. At least, there is in my head.

So after breakfast we took a short walk to Baker Street Bikes, where I was introduced to my new hybrid; open framed and a shiny dark red. It wasn’t love at first sight, but there was a definite appreciation there. I added mudguards and a helmet to the list, a bike chain and lights and left it there to be fitted up.

This left us with an afternoon of sunshine, and a short trip out to Streat. The sun was indeed shining but the weather was also still cold, and it was with quiet determination that I drove back along the A27, fingers frozen to the steering wheel, wind blowing through my hair, bullishly refusing to put the top back up. An afternoon of sunshine, and the English go ever so slightly mad.


Thursday, February 15th, 2007 | countryside, sophie | No Comments

At just after seven we loaded the car and headed out, headlights popped up, along the A27. Over the Kingston roundabout and on, past Beddingham, Selmeston and down the winding lanes to Alfriston, shrouded in darkness bar the occasional lit window.

Our hotel lay behind a long and smooth lawn, lit up to guide us in. We parked the car, dropped off our bags and walked the short distance along the pavement to The George. It is a beautiful pub, oak beams bringing the ceiling down low, a roaring open fire and leather sofas making up the quiet snug. We supped on delicious local ham, roasted garlic, warmed balsamic vinegar and home made bread. Then fillet steak on half a toasted muffin with home made béarnaise sauce, thick cut chips with a sprinkling of salt. Finally there was chocolate ice cream for my boy and an enormous board of cheese for me, crackers sloping off the sides and thick creamery butter. We drank red wine and talked low in the candlelight.

The phone never rang, there was no car in sight and walking back through the night we marvelled at the brightness of the stars. And how delicious to wake up to bird song and out of the window the river, winding back and forth across the fields, trees bare of leaves and not a sound of traffic or people to be heard. Perfect.

red and gold

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006 | countryside | No Comments

I opened the car door this morning to the lovely early smell of autumn leaves, which coated the car park in their beautiful gold, yellow and red hues. It was glorious to gaze out over the roofs at the distant trees in Stanmer Park, russet red against the sky. This is one of the things I love most about autumn, those beautiful colours and the way the air suddenly starts to bite but is at the same time fresher and cleaner.

I want to pull on my wellies and kick up mountains of leaves, to splash through puddles with a scarf billowing out behind me, gloves pulled on tight and my nose and cheeks burning red against the chill. I want to set out on adventures mid way through Sunday afternoon, and come home in the dark to a glass of red wine and a bowl of home made soup.

It’s on days like today that I really miss living in the countryside.

sunny sunday

Sunday, October 15th, 2006 | countryside | No Comments

We set off just after one o’clock, taking the top down on the car and heading along the A27 to Kingston. The Juggs was busy, but we settled in on a table in the garden, dappled sunlight shining through the hedge. I ate roast beef and Yorkshire pudding with redcurrants hiding in the centre. Tom had a cheese and ham ploughman’s, the warmth of the day making it entirely suitable despite being mid October.

We took a wander up The Street, greeting the occasional dog. We looked at gardens, through windows, searched for an old well and walked through woodland and uphill before gazing out over the fields. We watched leaves caught in the wind, said hello to a group of sheep and saw a dragonfly dancing through the air.

A glorious way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I feel rested, relaxed and determined to move back to the countryside. I miss the birdsong, the fact that all the noise is in the distance, and that glorious sense of peace that vast swathes of green gives me. Oh for walks though autumn sunshine, being snowed in and curling up in front of an open fire, watching for those first signs of spring as the flowers push up through the grasses, and those long balmy summer evenings, sat in the garden with a glass of wine and no reason to go to bed.


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