The hedgerows are bursting with pink, cream and yellow flowers, with cow parsley craning out into the road and bluebells hiding at its feet. The lanes are suddenly only half as wide and every bank is a display surpassing the best Chelsea show garden; for originality, spontaneity and vivacity. These ensembles cost nothing to create and will last for weeks.
Not forever though – at some point the farmers will tidy up the lanes and cut them back with tractor-mounted mowers.
The relatively modest hedgerow above is in Raddington, to whose tiny, wonky windowed church we walked down a long hill. We met yet another friendly landowner. Part of the footpath between two gates was being used to contain sheep having their feet done; the farmer apologised profusely and led us instead through her chicken enclosure, a polytunnel, and finally the goat paddock to rejoin the path.
We stopped halfway down the hill to rest and drink from the stream. White seeds floated gently by on the breeze. Nothing says summer like seeds drifting past in the air. Why are they so evocative and soothing? Perhaps both seeds and snowflakes remind us that we move and breathe in air as they fall softly through it, demonstrating its resistance, its support. They show up something that is often invisible about nature: it’s kindness. In the heat or warmth of the year the air freely, surreptitiously, sustains our life.
Or maybe it just reminds me of sitting in a sunny beer garden with a pint.