Every now and then I get an almighty urge to go out and commune with nature, insofar as going outside and “being in it” goes. I am a horrible city child with a romantic idea of the countryside absorbed from books. I want to be Cassandra Mortmain swimming amongst reeds in the moat, frolic and gambol through “sun-dappled meadows” and shoo bluebirds away from sweet peas etc etc. The best I can get in South London is to make the occasional break for it to Battersea Park or trot alongside a trolley laden canal but the prospect of being in “the country” still thrills me. I like to bumble along down winding bridleways, climb over stiles and fight through patches of ‘sticky willy’ or a wall of ‘old man’s beard’.
I can hear Adam Buxton in my head referring to bark as Bach and saying “…uerrurgh so horrible” about a slug. I can name certain types of wildflowers and small songbirds thanks to early schooling from my grandmother. She was removed from her Maths classes by the nuns as they didn’t think it “worthwhile” to teach her, so studied the hedgerows instead and can name anything you care to thrust under her nose.
The countryside has a cleansing power that makes me feel purified and vital and as though there is more breath in my lungs. I also feel emboldened by the sartorial possibilities. As far as I’m concerned, country dressing has no rules. You can wear anything you please, especially the absolute worst, most embarrassing things you’ve ever bought that have no role in your life anywhere else. Thank GOD I don’t live there though. I’d look insane all the time, and they don’t even have Uber.