Flaming June

I was talking to an old friend in Darkest Gloucestershire last week and she bemoaned the loss of the nice hot summers she had experienced in her youth – way back in the dark ages I’m afraid as she is even older than I am.

I wonder if she was right though. We all tend to wax nostalgic about the past and it is the pleasant times that stick in the memory. The hot sunny summers of childhood linger on in our minds while the wet grimy ones such as we are experiencing at the moment are forgotten. Nice days too are remembered, but not the grey wet ones because the human mind tries not to dwell on dark memories.

I came back to Dartmoor the night before last after three weeks of house-sitting in the Cotswolds. As always, I experienced that familiar feeling of homecoming when I rattled across the cattle grid at the edge of the Moor. Partly it is relief that a long, dire drive is nearing its end but it is also due to the sudden feeling of space around me and the ability to see far into the distance. Those Cotswold Valleys are incredibly pretty, but it is a chocolate box beauty whereas the Moor is vast, bleak and outwardly inhospitable. At first glance it has little to recommend it, but somehow – some folk maintain it is something to do with the granite – it brings instant peace to restless souls such as mine.

The downside though is the weather. Admittedly Princetown is the highest spot on the Moor – one of the highest in England in fact – but boy, the weather here is different! Having mowed a three-week tangle of grass off our two little lawns last evening, I sat down in fitful sunshine to admire my handiwork over a gentle sundowner. Huh! That was definitely a mistake. Without warning, fog drifted in, the sky and surroundings disappeared, the temperature dropped and I was forced into an ignominious run for shelter and the comfort of a track suit.

An hour later, the sun was out again but I decided that sundowners in the open air were no longer a viable option.

Princetown weather is certainly different at any time of year. It can be rough and uncomfortable during the best of times and true locals like my nest-door neighbour, Graham tell me that few people last more than a few years here.

All the same, it is good to be back and I am sure that when I reach the age of my Gloucestershire ladyfriend, I will only remember the nice days.

Human beings are surely peculiar animals!

I know this page is entitled My Daily Rant and reading back over my words, I haven’t ranted at all today, but it is Sunday after all. Reading through the newspapers this morning as is my wont, I notice that the Conservative leadership contest is becoming increasingly nasty and it would seem that the majority of our political representatives are behaving more like spiteful kindergarten tots than responsible adults, but all that is for next week.

One paragraph that did catch my eye was in Frederick Forsyth’s column – I do enjoy his scribbling – wherein he wrote as follows:

‘There ought to be an alternative dictionary to translate the world of politics into plain English. For example, “I have published this in order to set the record straight” equals, “I wanted to get my tissue of lies in before that other so-and-so.”‘

You hit the nail on the head there Mr F – you really did!

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