With midsummer here at last, I’ve been wondering if we have been touched by a bit of that good old midsummer magic of late. Don’t worry we weren’t last seen dancing naked at dawn around a stone circle or joining a load of druids on a pilgrimage to mark the summer solstice. (Although, Jerry swears he was on the 18:23 from Waterloo with Druid Arthur Uther Pendragon on Friday night). No, nothing all ‘Glasto’ drastic as that. However, trundling along the parish boundaries in an ancient village church tradition to bless the fields and the beauty of our little patch of countryside, I couldn’t help thinking that perhaps Jerry and I had gone native, dear Reader. In a month or two, it will be the anniversary of our first year here and it is difficult to imagine us anywhere else these days.
I no longer miss the hustle and bustle of town and seem to have found a perfect home amongst the buttercups and sheep poo. I’ve even caught myself trampling the bridleways in search of a forager’s favourite, elderflower, in order to make a vat of cordial and elderflower vodka and reading bee keeping books after watching one of the villager’s harvesting honey straight from the comb. Primrose has fallen truly, madly, deeply in love with ponies – Jerry is thrilled as he thinks that this means boys are firmly off the agenda till she’s at least 35. Poppy, on a recent trip to town, was terrified of the traffic and demanded to be taken home instantly to her cottage and Jerry, well Jerry has taken to brewing his own beer.
It all started with a brewery tour. Within days, all the kit started arriving in Amazon packages – hydrometers, valves, barrels, bottles, beer sugar, bottle capper……I could go on! The barrel was living upstairs during the big ‘ferment’. I was slightly concerned when one of our neighbours recounted a story of one of his barrels blowing up in the cellar. Something for me to lie awake worrying about whilst listening to beer bubbling away in the wee small hours of the morning in the room next to us, dear Reader. Still, there it stayed until one night, rushing in from work at 11pm, Jerry (rather excitedly it has to be said) announced that he had to wash a load of bottles and decant his ‘brew’. This was dutifully done before he promptly wished his beer a good night and tucked all the bottles up in their little cellar bed. The next two weeks of waiting before the first pint can be drunk will be agonising for him!
See, dear Reader, things are definitely different. Good different. Better. We’re all doing things we never imagined we’d do and loving it. In a recent little interview for The Guardian on moving from the Big Smoke to the countryside with the lovely Bee from Life After London, I was describing all the capers that have come our way and the interviewer piped up “Sounds like you’re more Tom and Barbara these days than Margot and Jerry!” Definitely not! I’m pretty sure that Tom and Barbara didn’t have to purchase a coffee machine because daily lattés are a necessity and I am positive that Barbara would be appalled at my inability to grow a single vegetable as yet. Although, she might well give me a pat on the back for my elderflower and lemon verbena cordial!
Who knows what other adventures we have in store before the year is out? I was last heard talking about making cheese after a recent visit to the wonderful home of Tunworth cheese. I really ought to know better than to make plans after a few gins. Perhaps it is that midsummer magic or maybe I’ve finally realised (and at the risk of sounding horribly twee)…..it’s the simple things in life that really are the best, isn’t it, dear Reader?