Summer in the Isles
At the beginning of the summer, I asked why anyone would want to spend a holiday abroad when there are so many stunning places in these islands. As the season draws on ('That’s the trouble with summer', wrote the wistful Cumbrian poet, Norman Nicholson, 'it’s late so soon') I ask the same question.
In recent days, the Hannans have tramped across the honey-stoned Cotswolds, and swum in both the North Sea and the Channel. We’ve visited Ely, delighting in the way the cathedral silhouette looms up across miles of flatlands. We’ve stopped at Stratford, where the children made faces while their father declaimed at them. We’ve made a pilgrimage to Naseby which, as regular readers know, I regard as one of the world’s hallowed places.
We’ve watched Olympic events and Shakespeare plays and horse-races and, in Brighton, a greyhound race. We’ve built sandcastles and climbed trees and laid out treasure hunts. Now, we’re exploring the narrow lanes and high hedges of Dorset, and there are moments when I get quite choked up by the loveliness. . .
The lovely sea air, the scent of lavender crushed underfoot, outdoor lunches with friends, a game of tennis, a bike ride to a pub, the hooting of owls at night, starlight. . .