Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Country life


I’ve woken up in an English village. Just a small one, and one that feels like it’s about to get swallowed by the ever-growing periphery of money-ed St Albans, but a village just the same. It has quaint farm buildings, a local shop selling pastries, a post man, boys on bikes, dog walkers, a kitchen garden, a crumbling pub.  Just through the church yard, two doors down, there’s a path that leads to ever-changing fields and hedgerows.  I took a walk through these yesterday.  I always get a faint sense of unease when walking alone - too many British crime dramas - but after I push my imagination away I settle in to listening and noticing what’s around me.   Squirrels chasing each other overhead and through the underbrush, a falcon circling high overhead, the remains of a bird on the leaf littered floor. A fox, I think. I see badger trails lope under the hedge line following the woods.  There’s a bustle of activity in the air, just sitting atop the stillness.


 When I break free of the woods, I hit a broad, sweeping tilled field up to my right.  This was covered with a yellow expanse of rapeseed during high summer, but now is a gentle brown, balayaged by the early autumn sunshine.  Farmer’s homes and a few odd trees dot the horizon, and a neighbour’s plane circles overhead.  I only see one or two dog walkers, and I always give them a hearty, neighbourly hello - just so if the police need to retrace my path, I’ll have witnesses. 

Dinner last night was in the local pub... badly over fried cod and some chips. Proper English fare. You don't see this in the gastro-pubs of London anymore. The place was heaving. Quiz night brought out every pensioner in the village, and boy was the quiz hard.  I left after the first round - bed was calling, and the house would still be warm from the fire I had lit earlier. 


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