Suffolk is supposedly one of the driest, if not the driest, counties in the UK. You could have fooled me. Since moving here at the beginning of September, when to be fair the weather was warm and sunny, I have experienced substantial amounts of rainfall, and persistent rainfall at that. With the onset of much colder, winter weather, it will not be long before there is snow (already reported on the higher ground of the UK).
Now I am not one to shy away from going for a walk because there is the prospect of rain. In fact, some of the best walks I have been on have been in rainy weather, but probably because in my younger days I enjoyed walks, rambles and camping in the Lake District, arguably the wettest part of the country. No, my gripe is really about my inability to get on with a bit of gardening. I came to Suffolk with the attraction of a house with a fair size garden both front and back in which I could indulge in pottering in my retirement years.
Despite a first week or so of grass cutting, weeding and generally tidying a garden that had been unattended for some time, I have been faced with a boggy lawn and muddy beds since then. Obviously, rainy days cannot last forever (can they?) and I am looking forward to spending joyful Spring and Summer months in horticultural pursuits (could be a name for a new board game).
Some time ago I dreamed of living in the country and wrote a poem about it.
Give me the countryside any old day:
The smell of manure and freshly mown hay.
Compared to the stench of a litter-strewn street,
The odours of farmyards can almost seem sweet.
Autumnal leaves of yellows and browns
Are considered a nuisance on roads in the towns.
A cold snow-filled winter of fields dressed in white
Is, for traffic in towns, deemed a hazardous blight.
My hikes on the hillsides and across open moors
May have caused tired legs and feet full of sores,
But compared to negotiating pavements of gum,
A walk in the country is so much more fun.
The wind may blow hard and the rain make you wet,
Yet a walk through the hills you will never forget.
Breathe the fresh air and measure the silence.
Away from the streets full of litter and violence.
There will always be those who want nature-free zones,
HD TVs and new mobile phones.
For me country pleasures are of much higher class:
The life in the hedgerows and the gleam of the grass.
A life in the country gets my vote every time,
Far from the traffic, the smoke and the grime.
(But perhaps near a station where city trains stop,
So I can get to the theatre or occasional shop.)