Here comes summer

Country Life Every Week - - Contents -

What are you do­ing this June? Up and down the coun­try, the daz­zling ar­ray of ac­tiv­i­ties that con­sti­tutes the Bri­tish summer is get­ting into full swing. Or­gan­i­sa­tions large and small will be mount­ing fêtes and scare­crow fes­ti­vals, steam ral­lies and row­ing re­gat­tas. a lit­tle thing like a Gen­eral Elec­tion is as noth­ing to the real busi­ness of life—some­thing ac­com­plished with the help of straw­ber­ries, a cool­ing drink, per­haps a fish­ing rod, very likely a deckchair or ham­mock.

the en­vi­ous of other lands may ob­serve that, like our food, the weather is un­pre­dictable; it may not al­ways be of the best. al­though this mag­a­zine is staunch in its de­fence of Bri­tish cui­sine, now im­proved to the point of be­ing oc­ca­sion­ally sub­lime, we can’t deny the vari­abil­ity of the cli­mate —but that’s the point. Why else did Con­sta­ble paint clouds? Be­cause he knew he had to make the most of his time out of doors, be­fore it rained.

So it is with the self­less com­mit­tees that run summer events. No other coun­try packs these months with so much choice. Fes­ti­vals abound. the strains of mu­sic never stop. Glas­ton­bury and Read­ing have been joined by nu­mer­ous other fix­tures in the grounds of coun­try houses, such as East­nor Cas­tle’s Big Chill, first staged in 2002 and get­ting big­ger ev­ery year.

Coun­try-house opera is one of the phe­nom­ena of the age. the big three of Glyn­de­bourne, Gars­ing­ton and Grange Park have been joined by en­ter­pris­ing smaller houses, such as Long­bor­ough Fes­ti­val in the Cotswolds, whose am­bi­tious pro­duc­tions (much Wag­ner) re­ceive rave re­views.

Lit­er­ary fes­ti­vals are too nu­mer­ous to list: con­nois­seurs par­tic­u­larly en­joy Wig­town, in re­mote and beau­ti­ful Dum­fries and Gal­loway. Led­bury in here­ford­shire has a fes­ti­val ded­i­cated to po­etry. Cul­ture? the coun­try­side is awash with it.

as for sport, we hardly know where to be­gin. What­ever hap­pens in the up­per ech­e­lons of cricket, the game is still played as it should be on vil­lage grounds. Wim­ble­don fort­night is cel­e­brated, by many peo­ple, in front of the tele­vi­sion, but scores of lo­cal tour­na­ments will get am­a­teur play­ers off their so­fas. So it is with sail­ing, row­ing, polo—and that’s be­fore we’ve even men­tioned the most pop­u­lar exercise of all: walk­ing.

So much ex­ists to tempt the walker: coast-to-coast trails, the prospect of a de­cent pint (beer be­ing so much more de­pend­able than it used to be) in a coun­try pub. Green hill­sides, glorious gar­dens—those are other benefits of rain; many coun­try peo­ple wouldn’t mind see­ing a lit­tle more of it this year. If there’s a down­pour, take shel­ter in a coun­try house.

Does any­where else on the planet do summer so well as Bri­tain? Don’t ask us— we’re bi­ased. But, hon­estly, we think not.

‘No other coun­try packs the summer months with so much choice

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.