Razing the roof.

Fortunately, our beautiful verges have not been cut — yet. Increasingly, they are the last bastions for many of our rarest wildflowers as well as more common varieties such as the campion, foxglove and cow parsley, but most local councils insist on vandalising these precious ribbons of conservation by sending in the mowers before the plants’ lifecycles are complete, depriving the plants of the chance to spread their seed for future generations. There is good reason to cut back the growth at road junctions for safety reasons, but no excuse for cutting swathes of verge just for the sake of it. These wildlife corridors are also vital links for much of our wildlife and the mammals, birds and insects have enough of a challenge from the litter strewn on them without having the roof of their world cut down, too.

The roof nearly came off at the end of the opening night performance of Garsington’s Così fan tutte, such was the quality of the singing and the bravura of the performers. On a perfect summer’s evening, all seemed good in the world: the countryside was dressed in its many shades of green and, during the interval picnics, the songbirds took over from the opera singers to keep us entertained.