Country mouse – Mark Hedges

For the first time since their departure, I miss our two goats. Not for themselves, of course they were the most destructive animals on earth but because they ate grass. Without them, the amount of grass that needs cutting has doubled. The wettest May for 40 years has made mowing impossible for weeks. You could take a decent silage crop off my lawn.

Finally, on Friday, it stopped raining and the grass dried. That evening, I could attack the grass at last. Then John rang to ask if I wanted to go fishing on the Itchen. I had a rare brainwave, and rang Harry, my son, who was on half term, to see if he would cut the grass, but he told me that he was revising for his exams highly unlikely, but the perfect get out answer. Now I was in a real dilemma.

Two hours later, I had landed a beautiful trout that I had hooked under some alder bushes, watched a sparrowhawk dash up the river snapping at mayflies, and, finally, watched the sun turn the river to liquid gold. Next year, none of us will remember the jungle that is now my lawn, but I will always recall my evening on the river.