The oilseed rape is beginning to stain the countryside yellow. The bright fields give pleasure to many, but not me.

It feels as if Nature has been painted the wrong colour. It clashes with the greens. Far subtler is the yellow of the cowslips, and what a year it’s been for them! I’ve never seen as many-the long, cruel winter has, at least, been good for these delightful plants. The oak has just edged the ash into coming into leaf first-oak before ash, we’re in for a splash-so, according to the old saying, we should be in for a good summer, but I’m just happy to see our ash trees in good fettle despite a death notice hanging over them from new disease.

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My ancient Nissan has finally been traded in for a VW Polo. The dealer gave me £250 for the old motor, which is a fair price, but I’ve enjoyed driving around in a car that was almost worthless as there’s nothing to worry about.

The new car is a result of the boys starting to drive and, although the cost of the insurance for them is eye-watering, I’ve had to come to think of it as part of the mortgage for living in the middle of nowhere.

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