England the tease
England is such a tease.
When I arrived here, it was the hottest weather since, well, the last hot weather. Which in England isn’t exactly a treat, since the houses are designed more for trapping the air inside than for letting any faint breeze pass through. And as you might imagine, a hot spell of longer than a few days means that every shop is sold out of any fan cheaper than a £300 high-tech Italian-leather air mover.
But despite the sleepless nights, it is glorious.
The fields are as brown as California, but the contrast of the hedgerows makes it look designed that way. The sky presses down, intensely blue, like a Constable painting off the museum wall, or Cider With Rosie freed from the book covers.
As usual, we hired a vacation rental in a small village. This time it’s the Cotswolds, and although the area is so upscale the pub is of the gastro variety and the usual weather-beaten Land Rovers are replaced by top-of-the-line Range Rovers, Audis, BMWs, and an occasional Maserati, there are still fields where hay is cut, with cows grazing in the stubble, and a pair of horses come to study us over the garden fence. The small river has swans in it, and men walk their fields with dogs at the heels of their Wellington boots.
Then the clouds blow in, the sky darkens.
Dramatic, lightning-and-thunder downpours have us scurrying to shut the wide-open windows. We think of soup for dinner, and dig in the suitcases for the coats that we, experienced travelers all, have packed despite the weather forecasts.
But before we can actually pile on the garments, there’s a streak of blue, and the wind comes up, and then the sun beats down from a blue sky again.