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Fresh air and fun

I love the mud (so long as you have the right shoes on) and the rickety fences that you have to clamber over, passing from one field to the next. I even love getting a little lost - an excuse to be outside for longer.

I love discovering a river or stream - I'm drawn to water - listening to it trickle, meander or gush along. I want to follow it, stick my feet in and splash in it. To throw in sticks and leaves and watch them float along... To imagine floating in there myself, wondering if I could get away with pretending to fall in?

To be surrounded by views of patchworks of fields, loosely fenced off by hedgerows and knitted together by the branches of the towering trees. Birds sing, squawk and hauntingly cry before hustling along with the breeze to the next branch of call.

Little towns that dedicate themselves to tea. Warm, fresh scones, bursting and erupting from their baking trays, just waiting to be lathered in fresh butter, home-made jam and lashings of cream. Tea, refreshing and warm, any time of the year.

Attending to tractors and trailers, being up early enough to say 'good moo-ning' to the braying beasts, and knowing that at the end of the day you're wonderfully, thoroughly mucky. In the evening, or when it gets dark, getting settled with your companion(s) of choice and, in winter, a crackling, spitting and roaring fire that just by the shear nature of it's strength would have you walking away, but - as with all fires - lures you back into it's hypnotic gaze.

Your back garden: where nature nurtures and extra thick socks are needed.

I've come out to the countryside and that's the view from my window. I'd love to be outside today, but instead I've put on all my clothes, turned the heater up and climbed under the blankets on my bed. I'll get up - just now - for a cup of tea and a piece of chocolate cake while I weigh up the pros and cons of whether or not to climb into the Aga.



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