Country mouse: nearing perfection

This past week has been like another country. Cloudless, deliciously blue skies. Heat that kept us in our swimming costumes well after dark. The television mood music created by rapturous applause from Wimbledon’s Centre Court drifted out of the windows. Reports came from the stables that the swallow chicks were becoming increasingly demanding of their parents.

We are tilting on the apex of perfection. Seared into my memory is a visit last year by some Spanish friends who wondered at the greenness of our lawn, almost prostrating themselves, Andy Murray-style, to pay homage to the turf. They dismissed the olive groves of their own country as monotonous and the hard, stony ground as oppressive.

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Our rainy 18-month winter has given us this chlorophyll-pumped patchwork of luscious leaves, flourishing fruit trees and colour-packed gardens. This happy combination of horticultural richness and Mediterranean heat can’t last forever, but, coming at the beginning of the school holidays, it feels as if Fortune is smiling.

We went to see The Beach Boys perform in Hyde Park on Sunday. Their albums Sounds of Summer and The Warmth of the Sun have never seemed more appropriate and they sang as if they really meant it. They didn’t need to do any California Dreamin’. It was happening here.

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