Friday, April 09, 2010

The lanes in Spate

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.


Sean said...

First Swallow last evening, 6pm sharp, straight in the shed to his nest, the robin that was there had already left, probably for Russia or Sweden. One month to go before the return of The King

I think its more, spring, rainy, second spring, summer, rainy, late summer, Autumn,winter

Which does seem to have a lot of evidence for the sequence

I keep a good look out for the Horses, I have a spade and bucket in the back of the pick up just in case, saves loads on the garden centre, and the mushrooms you can grow out of it are fantastic.

Brit said...

This busines of running around collecting up horse dung is the subject of many a nostalgic reminiscence on my mother's side of the family. Can't see the appeal myself.

(PS. Well done for cracking the old links, Sean, knew you'd get there in the end.)

worm said...

ahh, rainy season - also known as 'Wimbledon'

thanks for taking us on your rural ride! I like them. I've just bought a pair of walking boots and aim to get a half hour lunch break as part of my new payrise (!how generous of them!?!) so Im looking forward to rambling about a bit myself. I shan't attempt to emulate your silky reportage skills though.

The Old Batsman said...

You can always tell it's first summer when you hear the sound of leather on Brian Close.

Susan said...

Wha' an exoitin' life you lead. Watch out for them there horsewomen and local lunatics though.. Great post - and curiously lovely weather!

Willard said...

I hate the summer. I hate the bit before summer almost as much as I hate the bit just after the summer. I don't mind the winter but I like those bit just before and after winter when things are just right.

Do you know what I mean?

Matt said...

Out here in the Rest of the World (c) we had three days of 95 degree heat, followed by a couple of hours of thunderstorms, 60 mile an hour winds. Blew over a few trees, but no deaths this time.

Brit said...

Sounds exotic, Matt.

W - yes I know exactly what you mean. When Tally turns to Spate, and when Tack gives way to Hub, these are the finest times of the year.

Gadjo Dilo said...

I'm a traditionist and love the original four seasons, during the early 60s period when they were signed to Vee-Jay records - kerr-ching.

No Good Boyo said...

A country ways. I love near Gallowstree Common but have never visited the pub in case I get too chummy and ask "Tell me, why's it called Gallowstree Common?" Then come significant glances, the door is locked, and on the hillside I see the silhouette of two man slinging a rope over the yew.

David said...

Personally, I'm always struck by the way, for three weeks in September and October, everyone walks around saying "you know, I really love Fall" as if they were confessing some private perversion rather than the universal opinion of mankind.

Hey Skipper said...

Today: An inch and a half of snow, wind.