Sound of the season
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.