The notion that we have four seasons in England is a risible fallacy. In fact we have six: Spring, First Summer, Rainy Season, Second Summer, Autumn and Winter (or if you follow the Blodget method: Tally, Spate, The Time Of Mighty Remonstrations, Tack, Hub And Bolismus).
First and Second Summer can last anything from an hour to a fortnight each. Yesterday was the first day of First Summer (or Spate), a glorious bonewarming eye-screwing sun. I went for my lunchtime walk in my black Winter (or Bolismus) coat, but soon had to remove it and hang it artlessly over my shoulder with a hooked finger, much like a male catalogue model. Once or twice I also gazed across the valleys with one hand shielding my eyes so I imagine I cut quite a dash.
At the crest of the hill, beyond the piglets, I inevitably encountered the Local Character, on horse and with dog as usual. We had our best ever chat, covering the weather, the countryside and the MPs expenses scandal. The Local Character is not keen on electioneering. “Politicians and vicars are just the same, they only come to see you when they warnt something,” he grumbled enigmatically. I agreed.
As we talked, hoofthumps sounded in the field beside us and three horsey women came cantering along in the soil track parallel to the lane. The leading one called out an “Afternoon, M____” to the Local Character and then whipped her eyes guiltily down the hill. “Oh dear, I think we’re going to be told off”. A battered Landrover was roaring up the far edge of the field at terrible speed. The three horsewomen dashed onto the lane and tried to trot innocently.
“They’ll never get away from him at that speed,” said the Local Character. He was right; the Landrover caught them just at the bend in the lane, so we had a good view of the farmer leaning out of his window to give the trespassers an almighty bollocking.
“I always sticks to the lanes. There’s no need to roide on his land, though he’s alroight with me if I asks him cos my horse is old now. But I seen 'em roide roight in the middle of the field and go in circles. Not roight really."
As I walked back down the hill the Landrover passed me again. By the time I got to the field of the piglets the farmer was already there, lugging a vast plastic vat of whatever his pigs eat, working the land, sweating away in his place of business, over which the horsey women had trampled for their brief amusement. His name is Dave, I spend a bit of money in his farmshop. He’s a good man, if a touch lunatic about the eyes.