Adam Ed­wards

How a bot­tle of pink wine and a pair of blue suede shoes made my sum­mer

Cotswold Life - - INSIDE - con­tact adampotlick­ @cotswold­hack

Ihave been re­view­ing my blaz­ing sum­mer of 2018. It has, for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons, been a sea­son of joy. Firstly I, like the rest of the Cotswolds, have been hos­ing my­self down with pink. Last year la toute Cotswolds was drink­ing Aix Rosé, which at 13% left most of them see­ing pink. This sum­mer the thirst quencher was Do­maine La Colom­bette Gre­nache Rosé, which was not only much more de­li­cious than Aix but also at 11½% not much more in­tox­i­cat­ing than a rasp­berry rip­ple ice-lolly.

Sec­ondly there is the pair of skimpy blue suede driv­ing shoes with white stitch­ing on the up­pers that I bought in a tele­pathic mo­ment on a cold April day in Chel­tenham. The pur­chase led to much abuse from those who sport boat­ing shoes with trac­tor-tyre soles who said the con­ti­nen­tal loafers were as be­fit­ting to the damp Cotswolds weather as a Rasta­far­ian string vest. Who’s laugh­ing now, eh?

Mean­while a short-sleeved pineap­ple and palm tree Hawai­ian shirt that I last wore in the sum­mer of 76, and al­ways thought would come in use­ful one day, made a brief re-ap­pear­ance on July 23 (tem­per­a­ture 33.3C.) and, in mem­ory of my late fa­ther, I sported a white knot­ted hand­ker­chief on my head on a blis­ter­ingly hot Au­gust day on a beach in Corn­wall.

And then there was my sum­mer dis­cov­ery that the re­ceipt from the Cirences­ter drive-in Mac­don­ald’s will, af­ter fill­ing in a ques­tion­naire on the in­ter­net and jot­ting down a given code, when re-pre­sented cut the price of a Big Mac meal by £2.11p. I have so far saved £14.77p, which by Christ­mas will, if I con­tinue to pa­tro­n­ise the Golden Arches, have mul­ti­plied to a sum large enough to take my part­ner and I for an hors d’oeu­vre at Chel­tenham’s Miche­lin­starred Le Champignon Sau­vage.

These things have given me much plea­sure over the last few months but per­haps what has given most de­light has been the un­nat­u­ral si­lence. The heat, bless it, has stopped the grass grow­ing and so for the first year in liv­ing mem­ory the mow­ers and strim­mers have been hushed (if you work from home you no­tice these things). Per­son­ally I have never seen the point of a well-mown lawn or verge. The neat patches of green are a van­ity, a waste of money, time and ef­fort, un­less one has small chil­dren. From early April un­til late Septem­ber – at least in an or­di­nary Bri­tish sum­mer - the drone and whine of grass-cut­ting ma­chines in­vades the quiet of the coun­try­side to trim a square of earth into a damp green car­pet whose only rea­son to ex­ist is, as far as I can tell, to be mown. Then this year, the first in years that a lawn just pos­si­bly might come in use­ful for, for ex­am­ple, al fresco din­ing, the grass turned to brown scrub.

Any­way I had been en­joy­ing the sum­mer si­lence un­til this week when, be­lieve it or not, a leaf blower was fired up. How could this hap­pen? There were no leaves to blow yet. At first I as­sumed a zeal­ous Percy Thrower was huff­ing and puff­ing at a for­got­ten leaf from last year, or maybe he was frus­trated at not be­ing able to use his strim­mer this sum­mer and so was keep­ing his arm in with an early swing of the blower. In fact it was my neigh­bour who was us­ing his out­door Hoover to mar­shal ap­ples. The fruit had fallen from a tree, which had been roughly pruned be­cause it was in dan­ger of col­laps­ing un­der the weight of its own fruit, and was now turn­ing the road into an Ikea plas­tic ball pit. The Pip­pins are now in a pile, in a rot­ting bon­fire op­po­site my house.

Just as the first cuckoo an­nounces spring so the first jump start of the leaf blower sig­nals au­tumn. Its high-pitched en­gine will, for the fore­see­able fu­ture, mar the sea­son of mists and mel­low fruit­ful­ness. Why can’t the leaves be al­lowed to stay on the grass? Why must they be cleared? Why not sweep or rake them into piles into which small chil­dren can jump?

I do not know the an­swer. All I’m sure of is that my ap­ple-blow­ing neigh­bour has abruptly ended my sum­mer of 2018. I have had my last glass of Rosé, my soft-soled shoes are back in the wardrobe and the knot­ted hand­ker­chief is un­knot­ted and in my pocket. It will prob­a­bly mark the end of the Mac­don­ald’s Big Mac deal too.

Why can’t the leaves be al­lowed to stay on the grass? Why not rake them into piles into which small chil­dren can jump?

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