Coun­try Mouse

Sound of the sea­son

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

THE driver in the car in front of me be­gan beat­ing his steer­ing wheel, then, mo­ments later, leant on his horn. His frus­tra­tion was that he was stuck be­hind a con­voy of trac­tors and a com­bine har­vester climb­ing up a steep hill.

I won­dered whether he would re­flect later on who makes the food he puts on his din­ner plate. The dis­con­nect be­tween town and coun­try seems to grow as fewer and fewer peo­ple work on the land and we have be­come a na­tion that takes food for granted. It wasn’t al­ways so.

The dis­tinc­tive drone of a com­bine har­vester at work is one of those de­light­ful sea­sonal sounds of the coun­try­side, like spring’s dawn cho­rus or the cry of a pack of hounds in win­ter. Cities sound the same all year round.

The pop­ping of shot­guns will be heard across the moors of Bri­tain this week herald­ing the start of the shoot­ing sea­son. How­ever, grouse num­bers have been se­verely cur­tailed by the wet sum­mer and the ar­eas that have suf­fered most have pru­dently can­celled this year’s shoot­ing. The weather not only af­fects shoot­ing, but also has a crit­i­cal ef­fect on the qual­ity and yield of the farmer’s crops. I won­der if that an­gry driver knows that it will change the cost of his lunch.

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